Football Season Coverage
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 05th, 2018 @ 12:23pm
Benny Snell rolled his ankle during the first half of the Georgia game, but Mark Stoops said today the injury isn’t as bad as once feared.
“I’ll see him later on today. His ankle is more of a bruise than it is a sprain. We’ll see how tender that is.”
Benny’s production has dropped in recent weeks, which Stoops attributed to the grind of the season. Through nine games, he’s averaging over 22 carries per game. Benny played with his ankle taped up in the second half of the Georgia game, but only had three carries.
“I don’t think he’s worn down,” Stoops said. “Beat up. If you play as many snaps and run the ball as hard as he does, you’re going to get beat up a little bit.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Stoops said linebackers Kash Daniel and Jordan Jones, aka “The Q-Tip Brothers,” will have to play with clubs again vs. Tennessee as they continue to heal from hand injuries.
“They’re definitely going to have to wear them this week. I wish we could cut them down some, but it doesn’t look like it.”
“It definitely affects them,” Stoops said of the clubs. “It affects us. To what extent? I’m sure it’s not comfortable for them. I’ll say this, they both did some very good things with those clubs on. It surprised me at times, some of the good plays they made and there’s times you can tell not having a grip really hurts them.”
Kentucky’s depth chart for the Tennessee game is out and reflects Darius West’s suspension for targeting vs. Georgia. Davonte Robinson will start in West’s spot at free safety while West sits out the first half after being ejected from the second half on Saturday.
More from Stoops in just a few minutes…
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 04th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Kentucky’s dreams of playing in Atlanta for the SEC Championship were crushed on Saturday night, as the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Wildcats 34-17 with the entire college football world watching.
It finished as a 17-point deficit, and despite a late push by the Wildcats, Georgia was in control from start to finish. The Bulldogs dominated at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football by mauling the Wildcat defenders and creating holes on offense, while the defense made Kentucky’s running backs incredibly uncomfortable. UK’s bread is buttered in the trenches, but Georgia flipped that script on them in a hurry.
With a sold-out Kroger Field crowd, CBS putting the game in primetime, and SEC Nation in town, the opportunity was there for the Kentucky football program to break down that barrier as a major contender in college football. They just couldn’t convert.
It was a reality check for Kentucky for both good and bad.
The biggest takeaway is that while the Wildcats may have separated from the middle of the pack in the SEC as a program (a massive achievement in itself), they just aren’t quite there yet from a talent perspective to push Alabama, Georgia, and LSU for a serious shot at the SEC title. The talent and size gap between the Cats and Dawgs was obvious on both sides of the ball.
But that’s not a bad thing.
What Mark Stoops has been able to do in six years is absolutely remarkable. Mitch Barnhart put his faith and trust in the Kentucky head coach by giving him time to build this program, and he has done just that. When he was first hired, fans begged for bowl eligibility on a consistent basis with eight wins sprinkled in every once in a while. They accepted the “basketball school” narrative, but hoped the football team could at least capture their attention in the weeks leading up to opening tip.
Even with the most recent loss, however, Kentucky is now in contention to win out and finish the season 10-2, likely earning a spot in the Fiesta or Peach Bowl and a finish in the top-ten of the College Football Playoff rankings. If they lose on the road against Tennessee, but take care of business against Middle Tennessee State and Louisville, they’ll have to “settle” for the Citrus Bowl. Seriously.
The big picture for Stoops, the football staff, and the players is to eventually win the SEC East, contend for the conference title, and earn a spot in the Playoffs. They even have a CFP bracket taped up in the training facilities, something that has been mocked by opposing fans for two years now. Stoops has put this team in position to be in the conversation in each of those three categories, which is unheard of. The standards and expectations of both those within the organization and those on the outside have risen.
Kentucky’s loss on Saturday was a reality check that they may not be quite ready to make that next leap into elite status, but to say this isn’t a great football team with potential to sustain similar success year each year would just be a lie. They’re knocking on the door of something special not only this year, but in the future, as well.
From a pure game perspective, we also learned a lot about the rest of this season and the team going forward.
One of the biggest and most necessary reality checks may have been with Eddie Gran and how he should run this offense in the immediate and distant future.
Quarterback Terry Wilson had his second-consecutive impressive outing through the air, finishing with 226 yards and a touchdown on 23-29 passing, out-throwing an SEC quarterback by over 100 yards in back-to-back weeks. More specifically, he had a remarkable second half, throwing for 160 yards and a touchdown on 14-18 passing in just four drives.
But the success didn’t happen until the offense opened up a bit in crunch time. The JUCO transfer had less time to work in a faster setting, allowing him to make quick judgments and adjust on the fly rather than overthinking the situation and making mistakes. Following up from Wilson’s production in the two-minute offense against Missouri, it’s clear the Kentucky quarterback thrives in an up-tempo offense with space to work with.
But it’s obvious Eddie Gran is in a tough predicament, which has led to frustration in the fanbase.
When you have a generational talent at running back like Benny Snell, your offense becomes a bit one-dimensional out of necessity. Kentucky has won games by slowing the pace down, milking the clock, and wearing out opponents from a physicality standpoint. You have to play to Snell’s style of play because his talent warrants that. He has been a safety net, where he has been able to make magic out of nothing more often than not. That being said, he’s been unable to be himself over the last two weeks, failing to break the 100-yard rushing mark against Missouri and Georgia. He also hasn’t had the highlight-worthy plays, managing a rush longer than 20 yards in just one out of Kentucky’s last five games.
The offense hasn’t scored more than 20 points in the last four games. With so much talent and (likely) only four more games in Snell’s Kentucky career, do you go away from the slow grind that we’re used to? Or do you start building toward the future with Wilson by spreading the offense out a bit and speeding things up to make the sophomore quarterback more comfortable?
Kentucky’s loss to Georgia may force Gran’s hand to go with the latter. Wilson has developed legitimate chemistry with Lynn Bowden, and there’s a great chance they become one of the best one-two punches in the SEC in the next year or two. AJ Rose has looked fantastic in limited opportunities, especially when catching passes out of the backfield. Josh Ali, Isaiah Epps, Allen Dailey, and Akeem Hayes have all been praised by the coaching staff as major pieces of the offense moving forward. And with the defense accounting more for the passing game, it opens up the opportunity for Snell to find big numbers in the run game on fewer carries.
We have found a recipe that works for Wilson, and it’d certainly make sense to utilize it going forward.
On defense, we learned that while they are still one of the best in the nation, they’re likely not one of the top-three units like we originally thought. Against a team layered with five-star talent and All-American candidates, the defense missed countless open tackles, left receivers open on costly downs, and missed opportunities to come up with stops. Most of all, they were outworked.
Josh Allen wasn’t able to make any highlight-reel tackles for loss or forced fumbles, though he did manage to recover two fumbles. He had a solid game overall, but it wasn’t the dominant presence we’re used to, and it set the tone for the entire defense. The unit finished with just four tackles for loss and zero sacks, unable to make Jake Fromm uncomfortable in the pocket. Chris Westry and Darius West also struggled in coverage and in the tackling department, opening up some holes for Fromm in the passing game.
That being said, other defensive players were able to shine. Derrick Baity proved yet again he’s one of the best corners in the nation and will be a high draft pick next spring. Mike Edwards, despite one costly missed tackle and missed coverage assignment, also had a solid game. Davonte Robinson also continued growing, finishing with nine total tackles, one TFL, and one QB hurry.
The Wildcats certainly deserve praise for such an outstanding year, but the gap between units was there. We saw some shining stars, but inconsistencies elsewhere. Against an elite unit like the Georgia Bulldogs, you have to be consistent across the board, and it showed in the form of Kentucky’s largest allowed point total of the season.
It may not have looked great on the scoreboard, but as a whole, more good came from Kentucky’s loss to Georgia than it may appear both this season and in the future.
It was a beautiful day in the Bluegrass State with the table set for an historic day for the Kentucky football program. Optimism was the high, the Cat Walk was incredible, and CBS was in town for the matchup between two top 1o teams. On paper, it looked like the Wildcats could go blow-for-blow against Kirby Smart’s ballclub. The game wasn’t played on paper.
In their best performance of the season, Georgia was the more physical team at the point of attack and their ability to run the ball down Kentucky’s throat was the difference in the game. The UGA offensive line did whatever they wanted on Saturday afternoon. On the flip side, the UGA front seven totally eliminated the UK ground attack. In the end, Georgia got explosive plays and Kentucky did not.
Kentucky entered the contest as the less talented team on Saturday and that showed with the Bulldogs bringing forth their best effort to clinch consecutive division titles. There’s still a lot to play for but this one could sting for quite awhile.
Kentucky collected 310 yards (84 rushing, 226 passing) on 64 plays. The Cats put up just 4.8 yards per play and for the fifth time in seven SEC games were held below five yards per play. That’s not going to get the job done. For the second week in a row, the ground game was a major disappointment.
If you take out the performance against Vanderbilt, Kentucky has averaged under 2.7 yards per carry in their last three SEC games. In those contests, Benny Snell has only rushed for a combined 2oo yards and the Wildcats are getting nothing from anyone else. The quarterback run game has been totally eliminated and one of the most powerful ground attacks in September has suddenly been locked up by every good defense they’ve seen. Even with another disappointing performance, Kentucky was still able to move the football.
After putting up 8.6 yards per attempt and completing 71% of this throws in the road win over Mizzou, Terry Wilson followed it up with another strong performance. Against one of the best pass defenses in the country, the sophomore put up 7.8 yards per attempt and completed 79% of his throws on Saturday. Those were both season highs allowed by the Bulldogs this season. Kentucky’s quarterback has made huge strides in the last two weeks and it’s possible that the passing game could become this team’s strength in the last three games of the season.
At receiver, Lynn Bowden had another excellent game recording 52 yards on a team-high six receptions. Out of nowhere, Isaiah Epps stepped up and make two huge catches on the outside. A.J. Rose proved to be a very reliable pass catcher when Kentucky got into their two minute offense.
After receiving some playing time in the fourth quarter last week, Ahmad Wagner received some more snaps against Georgia on Saturday. He has yet to record a reception but has already drawn three defensive pass interference calls. He is an obvious mismatch for outside corners and should be a bigger part of the offense moving forward.
Kentucky is still having issues with finishing drives with points. In the first quarter, Kentucky is inside the Georgia 40 and a nice gain on first down ends in a C.J. Conrad fumble.
On the very next possession after UK recovers a fumble, a false start on left guard Luke Fortner turns a third and medium in the red zone into a third and long. Kentucky has to settle for three. Add in personal foul calls on your two starting guards Logan Stenberg and Bunchy Stallings that give UGA excellent field position. There are errors that are costing the team and ruining positive steps forward for the offense.
Kentucky still has a lot to work on but they’ve made some real positives steps on this side of the football since the ugly victory over Vanderbilt. The UK passing game has come alive and they did some really impressive things against one of the best passing defenses in the country. The ground game needs to figure some stuff out but this unit is positioned to finish the season very strong.
After not allowing a first down in the victory over Mizzou, the Kentucky defense pick a bad day to have their worst performance of the season. Georgia rolled up a season high 331 rushing yards on their way to 34 points and 6.3 yards per play. Before yesterday, no one had rushed for more than 164 yards against this defense.
The Wildcats were able come away with two turnovers on fumble recoveries due to bad shotgun snaps but other than that they found it very difficult to get off the field. The Bulldogs were 58% on third down and scored on all five of their red zone possessions. Georgia only punted once all afternoon. Jake Fromm was not asked to do much from the pocket with the running backs and offensive line controlling this football game.
Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift combined to go for 271 yards on 34 carries. Both averaged over six yards per touch and really got whatever they wanted against Kentucky’s defense. Swift was especially dangerous.
He killed Kentucky with draw runs on passing downs and then exploded for a 83-yard touchdown run in the middle of the third quarter to make it a four-possession game. The sophomore had been dealing with injury issues all season and then finally started to look healthy against LSU and Florida. Now with fresh legs, the former five-star back will be a big weapon for a Georgia team looking to win another SEC title.
Missed tackles were an issue for Kentucky and the Wildcats struggled to get off blocks. One of Georgia’s best and most used plays all game happened to be a cutback run where the back outrun the backside corner to the sidelines. The Wildcats struggled to defend it and UGA usually went to it whenever they found themselves in a bind.
Outside of the two fumble recoveries, Josh Allen was very quiet. Darius West was ejected early in the third quarter for targeting. Mike Edwards led the team in tackles but also missed a few. Kentucky’s stars on this side of the football didn’t have their greatest days and at the end of the day just couldn’t stop the run. If you can’t do that it’s going to be a long day when playing this Georgia offense.
Let’s start with the good. Chance Poore drilled his second field goal of the season and was perfect on extra points. Grant McKinniss had a touchback rate of 50% and the kick coverage team limited returns.
Now to the bad.
Georgia’s first score of the day was nearly given to them after a nice drive by the Kentucky offense. Max Duffy’s first punt landed inside the 15 but the punt team out ran the kick and one of the best returners in the country made them pay.
Mecole Hardman is a speed demon who is an absolute nightmare to deal with when he gets to play in space. The junior set the Bulldogs right outside of the red zone on their first possession and immediately put Kentucky into a hole. This cannot happen.
In their two SEC losses, Kentucky’s punt team gave up huge returns that resulted in immediate red zone possessions for the opposing offense. Kentucky is blowing field position opportunities and is putting their defense in very bad spots. This cannot happen moving forward.
There is no way to get around it and everyone who is involved or a supporter of this program should be ticked off. Kentucky was 60 minutes away from winning a division title for the first time in program history and they really didn’t even give themselves a chance to win the game on Saturday.
The Wildcats could not fall behind early. They did. The Wildcats had to establish the run. They didn’t. They Wildcats had to slow down the UGA rushing attack. They didn’t. The Wildcats had to consistently finish drives. They didn’t.
Everything Kentucky needed to do to win that game they fell short in and that turned a top 10 matchup into a a blowout. But it is also time to recognize just the juggernaut they were going up against.
Georgia has beaten every SEC East team by at least 14 points over the last two seasons and in every game but one the Bulldogs have put up 34 or more points. Take out the games against Mizzou and no one has scored more than 17 against them. In just three short years, Kirby Smart has built a powerhouse in Athens who now absolutely obliterates divisional foes. Maybe we should’ve seen a double-digit loss coming.
This one will sting for awhile, but it is important to remember that this team can still do some really special things this season. Kentucky will be a favorite in their final three games and recording double-digit wins would be a remarkable achievement for this program. The Wildcats could get Joshua Paschal back any week now and Terry Wilson has made large strides in the last two games. Kentucky will be facing average at best defenses the rest of the way paired with offenses that don’t scare anyone. The motto for this season has been “Get Up” and now is the perfect for this team to remain together and finish the season strong.
On to Tennessee.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 04th, 2018 @ 10:15pm
Kentucky star linebacker Josh Allen has had a phenomenal senior season, shattering records and raising his NFL Draft stock. In the process, his defense has become one of the best in the SEC, shutting down some of the best teams in the conference.
But the process for Allen to get to this point hasn’t been easy in the slightest.
The star Wildcat was born with a speech impediment that led to him getting bullied throughout his childhood. He was also underprivileged growing up, losing out on hot water during showers and struggling with money throughout.
Instead of using that as an excuse to give up in life, Allen converted those adversities into personal strengths, encouraging others to overcome their difficulties in the process.
CNN’s Coy Wire caught up with Allen about his adversities and released the video below:
He was made fun of growing up.
He went home crying at times.@JoshAllen41_ faced challenges being underprivileged with a speech impediment, but turned his pain into power. One of the best players in the nation stars for @UKFootball facing Georgia today.@UKAthletics @WeekendExp pic.twitter.com/3I2QmvJuQz
— Coy Wire (@CoyWire) November 3, 2018
This kid is a stud on and off the field.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 04th, 2018 @ 8:30pm
Las Vegas has spoken, and they believe the Kentucky Wildcats will head to Knoxville next weekend and beat Tennessee on the road for the first time since 1984…
…but not by much.
The opening line has been released, with the Wildcats being favored by 3 1/2 points over the 4-5 Volunteers.
BetNow, Caesars Palace, and 5Dimes also have the Cats favored by 3 1/2, while Opening only likes the Cats by three. BetOnline has also released their line, with Kentucky listed as four-point favorites.
Perfect opportunity to earn some money and snag that eighth victory.
By Jay Winkler on ©November 04th, 2018 @ 3:00pm
There are plenty of reasons for UK fans to have their heads held high today. We got to spend yesterday cheering on a special team, and while the results weren’t exactly perfect, we still made sure that every CBS viewer at home understood just how much the BBN really cares about football. We lost to an elite team, but the season is far from over, and a top-tier bowl game is still within our grasp.
And hey, at least we aren’t Louisville.
The Cards have proven themselves to be among the most abysmal major conference teams in college football this season. Bobby Petrino, long touted as an offensive guru, has seemingly forgotten that there is, indeed, an entirely different half of the game. The Cardinal defense is giving up 40.8 points per game, which actually includes their early season win over Indiana State, where UofL won 31-7. Remove that game from the sample and the average jumps to 45 points. Finally, if you just look at the ACC slate, the figure is 48.7 points per game allowed. Their defense is somehow getting worse as the year goes on.
Breaking down the scoring from Louisville’s humiliating outing at Clemson yesterday has honestly softened the blow of UK’s loss for me. The Tigers had two different QBs throw for at least 2 touchdowns. Four different Clemson rushers reached pay dirt, three of whom eclipsed 100 yards rushing on the day. Five different Tiger receivers found the end zone. It was just unmitigated slaughter.
One funny stat I saw pointed out: you could spin these stats to say that Louisville’s passing defense is actually OK. They did, after all, only allow 169 yards through the air, which sounds nice. Until you notice that they gave up 492 rushing yards. Why risk the interception when the D-Line can’t stop a toddler?
Misery, as they say, loves company. So if you’re feeling somber today that our beloved Cats won’t be making the trip to Atlanta, just find the nearest Cards fan and remind them that their team is a dumpster fire with an incredibly expensive to fire coach, and we’ll be seeing them in 3 weeks.
Like the Coaches Poll, the AP voters were fairly kind to the Kentucky Wildcats in the latest rankings following their loss to Georgia on Saturday night.
In the week-11 AP Poll, Kentucky fell just one spot to No. 12 in the nation, matching their representation in the Coaches Poll.
Alabama (No. 1), Georgia (No. 5), and LSU (No. 9) are the only SEC schools ranked ahead of Kentucky, with Mississippi State (No. 18) and Florida (No. 19) rounding out the conference representatives in the top-25.
Check out the entire list below:
Kentucky was No. 11 in the AP Poll last week and No. 12 in the Coaches Poll. The College Football Playoff rankings had the Cats at No. 9, the highest of all major polls.
We’ll see what the College Football Playoff committee thinks of the Wildcats when their poll is released on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.
The Coaches Poll was pretty kind to the Kentucky Wildcats in their latest updated rankings for week 11.
Despite falling to the Georgia Bulldogs by two scores on Saturday night, the Cats didn’t lose any ground in the rankings, once again coming in ranked No. 12 overall.
Alabama (No. 1), Georgia (No. 5), and LSU (No. 10) are the only SEC schools ranked ahead of Kentucky, while Mississippi State (No. 15) and Florida (No. 21) round out the rest of the conference.
Here is the entire list:
3. Notre Dame
7. Ohio State
9. Washington State.
14. Boston College
15. Mississippi State
16. Utah State
17. Fresno State
20. Penn State
22. NC State
25. Iowa State
Kentucky found themselves just outside the top-ten in the AP last week, sitting at No. 11 in their rankings. The College Football Playoff rankings had the Cats at No. 9, the highest of all major polls.
The AP Poll will drop around 2:00 p.m., followed by the official line for Kentucky’s matchup with Tennessee next weekend set to come out later this afternoon. The College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. ET.
While you were sleeping, ESPN and the SEC finalized the game times for November 10. Kentucky will take on Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
All of the game times for Saturday so you can plan accordingly:
- Vanderbilt at Missouri, Noon, SEC Network
- South Carolina at Florida, Noon, ESPN
- Ole Miss at Texas A&M, Noon, CBS
- Kentucky at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m., SEC Network
- Mississippi State at Alabama, 3:30 p.m., CBS
- Auburn at Georgia, 7:00 p.m., ESPN
- LSU at Arkansas, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
Georgia clinched the SEC East and a spot in Atlanta with a win over your University of Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday.
Big Blue Nation’s wild dreams of the SEC Championship game and a spot in the College Football Playoff are officially dead, but it was fun while it lasted. It was really, really, really fun.
Before we get to what went wrong in the 34-17 loss to the Bulldogs, I think we should all take a moment to appreciate how we were even in the very unfamiliar position in the first place. Kentucky entered the game with a 7-1 record and a ninth-place spot in the College Football Rankings. Say that out loud to yourself. Do it. Right now. Stop reading this and say out loud, “Kentucky entered the game with a 7-1 record and a ninth-place spot in the College Football Rankings.” That’s where we were this morning, only two years removed from begging to make a bowl game, any bowl game, for the first time since 2010.
The Cats had the attention of the entire nation with the school’s best start in over four decades, but still needed to play good, clean football to upset a very good Georgia team (that almost won the national championship last year) in Lexington. Unfortunately, Georgia was better in all phases of the game, and proved to be the much better team.
WHY KENTUCKY LOST
The offense is still not getting it done.
Kentucky’s offense scored more points than it has in a month, but still couldn’t get to 20 points. As good as the defense has been all season, it’s tough to win a football game when you’re scoring in the teens every week.
The Cats did have two great drives in the third quarter, though; each going for 75 yards and a touchdown. However, every other possession was lacking execution and ball movement as UK scored only three points on its eight other drives.
A quick scan of the fan reaction points the finger toward Eddie Gran. I really hope he doesn’t search his own name on Twitter, because it’s ugly out there. If it were up to the fan base, I think he’d be out a job. The criticism is fair, too, because the offense hasn’t been good since putting up 24 points in the first half of the South Carolina game. Gran’s side of the ball scored only four touchdowns in 16 quarters of football before finding the end zone in a second half comeback effort against the Bulldogs, when it was already too late to matter.
Over the course of several ugly performances, the play-calling only changed in desperate times, and that’s why everyone is so upset with the play-caller. The offense is too one-dimensional and opposing defenses are able to load up the box and shut down Benny Snell.
Gran is not a popular man in Big Blue Nation right now.
The defense wasn’t as good as it has been.
Kentucky’s defense took a step back against Georgia, especially with its tackling. The tackling was pretty terrible throughout the entire game and there are more than a couple of culprits who shoulder the blame.
Poor Mike Edwards got juked out of his Nikes on D’Andre Swift’s 20-yard touchdown run. Swift made a great move, but it was one of many times Kentucky’s defense failed to bring down the ballcarrier when in good position to make a stop.
Mark Stoops said after the game, “You’ve got to give them credit. There’s a lot of one-on-one situations that happened out there and the speed with which they have definitely is difficult to defend. It’s one of the reasons why they have been Top-5 team the past two years.”
He also said, “We missed more tackles than I could remember.”
You can’t commit stupid penalties against great teams.
Darius West’s targeting penalty and Logan Stenberg’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty stick out as two plays that handed Georgia’s offense a chunk of yards. Bunchy Stallings’ ejection for making contact with the ref also rewarded Georgia with great field position, but I’m not so sure about that call. I need an explanation or better video of that “contact.”
Georgia’s the better team.
The two teams’ records may have been the same at kickoff, but it’s clear Georgia is the better football team. There’s a reason Georgia was picked to win the East in the preseason and is going back to the SEC title game for a second straight year: Georgia is an elite college football team. Kentucky may be in the midst of a special season, but it’s not elite. It’ll take more special seasons to jump up to that top tier.
WHAT YOU CAN BE HAPPY ABOUT
10-2 is still very much alive.
If Kentucky can bounce back and win in Knoxville next week, I think it can crawl through its last two games to finish with a 10-2 record — TEN AND TWO RECORD! — in the regular season. A two-loss resume opens up some serious bowl game opportunities and… let’s be real here… 10-2 is an insane year for the program. Hell, Las Vegas had the season win total set at 5.5 games back in August. Now we’re talking about winning 10 and going to a New Year’s Day bowl. If you can’t smile about that, you’re a miserable person.
Kentucky should beat Louisville by at least 50 points. If Bobby Petrino is still the head coach in that game, Stoops will want to murder the Cardinals.
We get to watch Josh Allen for four more games.
Josh Allen is a guy we’ll remember for years to come, and we get to witness his greatness a little longer. The same can be said of Benny Snell, who’s in a little bit of a funk by his standards, but is still one of the best to ever do it here.
Enjoy these next two months, BBN. Today’s loss sucked but 2018 is still a wild and fun ride for Kentucky football.
By Maggie Davis on ©November 03rd, 2018 @ 9:45pm
Well, that was sad. Want to know how the players and coaches are handling the loss? Well look no further. Here’s everything the team had to say after the game (click here for a transcript of Mark Stoops’ press conference):
By Maggie Davis on ©November 03rd, 2018 @ 9:00pm
Kentucky did not play their best football tonight. And as if missed tackles and costly sacks weren’t bad enough, Kentucky continued to draw the yellow flags at some of the most inopportune times. Although the Cats had just four penalties for 45 yards (compared to Georgia’s six penalties for 64 yards), the timing of the flags as well as the nature of the calls themselves (silly things like false starts and unsportsmanlike conduct) were enough to limit Kentucky’s momentum.
A combination of little mistakes stacked up against Kentucky, and it was enough to leave Benny Snell more than a little unsatisfied. Snell, who became the first player in UK history with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons tonight, couldn’t hold back from commenting on the lack of discipline.
“We’re about to go to the red zone and score and then we jump offsides. Or we have stupid penalties and have players being kicked out of the game.We hurt ourselves – we’re so strong and then we hurt ourselves,” Snell said after the loss. “If we just come out with the edge, if we come out punching and our technique is sound all-around, nobody will be able to stop us. That’s what I’ve got to keep preaching to the team; that’s what I’ve got to keep getting across in practice. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
The mistakes did seem to happen at incredibly inconvenient times – just as the momentum started to swing in Kentucky’s direction, when the Cats were close to the end zone or even after UK had already made a costly mistake.
First, Terry Wilson’s pass to CJ Conrad was fumbled and Georgia took over possession. Then, as if to rub salt in the wound, Logan Stenberg was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play, pushing Georgia to their 48-yard line. Luckily, that drive ended in a Bulldog fumble to be recovered by Josh Allen, but the Cats weren’t always so lucky.
At third-and-four from the Georgia 6-yard line, Kentucky’s Luke Fortner was called for a false start, sending the Cats back to the 11-yard line. Those five yards were enough to make a difference – Wilson was sacked on the next play and the Cats were not able to recover. Chance Poore was able to successfully kick a 34-yarder, but the Wildcats had to settle for three points instead of six.
After halftime, Georgia came out with a few long drives. Desperate to stop the Bulldogs, Darius West went after star running back D’Andre Swift, but the Wildcat was called for tackling with the crown of his helmet and was therefore tossed for targeting – plus the Bulldogs got to advance 15 more yards. That call also means West will not be allowed to play in the first half against Tennessee next week.
Kentucky Safety Darius West ejected for Targeting pic.twitter.com/q7DPAtBOuf
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) November 3, 2018
Then, the Cats finally got something going on offense. Benny Snell plowed through Georgia’s defense for a 9-yard touchdown, making the score 28-10. But after the play, Bunchy Stallings was ejected for initiating contact with a referee. It’s a situation that’s all too familiar for Kentucky – you know what I’m referring to here. Was this call just as questionable?
How Stallings got ejected. Made contact with an official. pic.twitter.com/caWlR2AwDr
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) November 3, 2018
“I really don’t think it’s wise for me to comment on that,” Stoops said of Stallings’ ejection. “But you know, I’ll put it this way: I know Bunchy’s heart and I don’t think he was trying to be disrespectful… but if he put his hand and tried to grab [the referee] for whatever reason, you can’t do that.”
Luckily, Stallings will not have to sit out next game.
Tonight’s loss was a frustrating game for a variety of reasons, but Snell says the little mistakes could make for solid learning opportunities.
“We played against a great team; that’s a good Georgia team, of course. But we’ve got to stop hurting ourselves. I feel like the game is always in our hands, but then we hurt ourselves. Then after we’re already hurt, the other team is already scoring and now we’ve got to make up for it. We’re good at making up for our errors… but we’ve just got to come out with that edge.”
Mike Edwards, who led the team with 11 tackles, said the lapses in judgement can only be fixed by the players’ mentalities. But Snell sees it as a more complicated issue.
“There’s a lot we’ve got to learn across the board, but it starts out with the O-line, me and Terry, then the defense,” Snell said. “We can’t have guys getting kicked out of the games; when we’re close to the red zone, we can’t have guys jumping off-sides. It’s hurting us. If we’re able to put all of that against the other team… nobody can stop us.”