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Cats Aren’t Clutch, Comeback Comes Up Short 28-22

(h/t Yahoo)

(h/t Yahoo)

[Inhale. Exhale]

Deep breaths Big Blue Nation, deep breaths. Struggling to find words to describe the emotional loss on Prime Time, here’s how the game went down:

The slow starting Cats took a brief hiatus from the bad habit against Alabama, but picked right back up where they left off tonight. On the Bulldogs’ first possession, Za’Darius Smith let the scrambling QB Dak Prescott get away before Prescott unloaded a 60 yard touchdown to Malcolm Johnson. Ryan Timmons kept it from getting out of hand early.  Following Kevin Mitchell’s nasty block he took a screen pass (one of many thrown this game) 51 yards down the field to tie it up. Despite giving the D a little rest, there were more holes than normal, especially when the athletic Prescott decided to tuck it and run. The following drive the Bulldogs went untouched on a 20 yard option run that put them up 14-7.

After settling in, the game soon turned into a dog (and cat) fight. Neal Brown eased Max Smith in with plenty of quick passes and screens while effectively running the ball with Raymond Sanders. The defense got better as the game went on, but gave up another passing TD midway through the quarter. Needing a response before the Bulldogs received the ball after half, the Cats got a little help from their opponent. SR DB Nickoe Whitley punched UK players on back-to-back plays, giving the Cats 30 yards and earning himself an ejection. A 4th down conversion kept the drive alive long enough for Joe Mansour to knock down a 45 yard field goal, a career high that redeemed a 47 yard miss from earlier.

The Cats came out recharged in the 2nd half. The defense stopped MSU from the get-go, pressuring the QB with the front four while the secondary made sure that their WRs didn’t get any yards after catch. The offense picked up the tempo, snapping the ball as quick as possible after Max made a completion. They made it deep into MSU territory before having to punt. Pinning the Bulldogs back, Bud Dupree’s amazing sack on 3rd down put the ball on the 2-yard line. The punter’s hands couldn’t handle the snap, losing the ball out of the end zone for a safety. The Cats marched down the field with the help of Jalen Whitlow, finding the end zone only 5 plays later with a 19 yard diving score from Jojo Kemp. Gaining momentum,  Mark Stoops pulled the trigger on a perfectly executed onside kick. Down 21-19 with the ball inside MSU territory, the Cats were ready to take over the game. Then, this...

stoops snarl msu

The play of the game was an offsides call by the refs. It wasn’t long before the Bulldogs were deep in Wildcat territory before they pulled off a trick play, a Quarterback throwback to Dak Prescott for a 17 yard touchdown, his 2nd receiving touchdown of the year. Mark Stoops said after the game, “(it) was a well designed play. From the sideline you could see it coming in slow motion.”

After quick drives by both teams, the Cats had 11:03 to overcome the 9 point deficit. The drive wasn’t the prettiest, but they got within Mansour’s range, knocking down the 44 yarder to shrink the lead to 6 points. Needing some plays to get their offense the ball back, the defense came ready to play on every down except third. After three first downs, Bud Dupree made another big sack to give the Cats great field position to finish off the Dogs. After Max Smith drove the Cats inside the 30, Stoops took a timeout on 3rd down. Jalen Whitlow entered the game and got nothing on a 3rd down run. With the clock ticking, Max’s 4th down pass wasn’t close. Just like that, the comeback was over.

Some bad

Max Smith was as average as they come. It’s hard not to criticize Max’s play. Completing only 52% of his passes, Max’s balls looked like quacking ducks the majority of the time. His inability to throw the ball downfield effectively, allowed the defense to creep into the box, making it even more difficult for the run game. His decision-making was slow too, turning easy plays into incompletions. The best drive of the game was his last one, one that was taken away from him on the 3rd down. With better QB play this game was easily won by the Wildcats.

The Cats were just as good on 4th down as 3rd. Third down offense was the usual, terrible (4-18), but the defense surprised us by allowing the Bulldogs to convert 10 of 18 tries. The picture was much different on 4th down, converting 4 tries, but the last one was the one they needed most.

 Some good

– Raymond Sanders was an absolute BEAST. Ray fought hard in between the tackles, earning the majority of his 86 yards in the first half against Miss State. The most reliable offensive weapon in the first half didn’t get as many touches in the second half. While it remains a mystery as to why he didn’t get the ball more, it could have been the result of what ESPN reported as cramps, late in the first half.

– Bud Dupree’s return was glorious. After missing the Alabama game with a strained pec, Bud made his presence known racking in a season-high 13 tackles, something you NEVER see from a defensive end. Za’Darius Smith had a few hiccups early on, but he recovered to finish the game wit two half-sacks, extending his season total to 5.5.

– Joe Mansour has found his swag. Untested as a first year place-kicker, Joe Mansour responded after missing his first attempt of over 40 yards to knock down two 40+ yarders later in the game. Not only did he do well with a holder, Mansour’s onside kick was perfect. After his last few onside attempts were the furthest thing from good, Mansour proved to the BBN and Coach Peveto that he can get the job done when called upon.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

30 responses to “Cats Aren’t Clutch, Comeback Comes Up Short 28-22”

  1. Blue Jesus

    While Smith completed 52% for the game, he was probably 8% on passes longer than 10 yards. And he even missed several screens! It’s amazing how much he has regressed since those first four games last year when he looked like he could really become a good QB. Now we need to 1) Pray Whitlow’s ankle doesn’t nag him the rest of the season (next week shouldn’t matter who’s under center) and 2) pray Drew Barker is as good as advertised, he couldn’t be here soon enough!

  2. Jeff

    Why don’t they play the Philips kid from signal mountain tn, I watched him in high school, strong and accurate arm

  3. carnifex

    Smith should never play another down for UK. He is not average. He is not bad. He is atrocious. I don;t doubt you could pull any number of ex-high school players from the student body who would do better. And pull the GD r shirt off of Towles or Philips, and let them play some real time snaps or next year we are going to have to play a true FR, or Towles and Philips, with only one ever taking a snap at this level, last year.

    Either that, or it’s Whitlow and it’s 2 more years before we play in the Air Raid.

    Regardless, Smith doesn’t need to ever take another snap.

  4. carnifex


    They need to sue the Joke and recover ever dime that was paid him. Malpractice, malfeasance, something, anything. But he sure wasn’t a coach.

  5. Whiners

    State facts without complaining. Your slight makes your argument a bad talking point. The reality is we have to suffer through disrespect from announcers (or maybe just lack of respect), other teams, and referees. Don’t make the process of having a subpar team any more painful than it is. How you feel personally about players or the team in general is garbage.

  6. ColoradoCat

    I wish we would have won. Oh well.

    Go Cats

  7. Cats

    Pitino says Behanan, “back on the team shortly”

  8. missing

    Anyone seen Kevin Ware’s national championship ring??

  9. theTruth

    Cats not Cat’s. But go Cats

  10. In the Know

    Rumor out of the SEC is that any team that goes two straight years without winning a league game will be kicked out of the conference.

  11. Wake up UK players says

    52% completion rate on screens and quick passes, but in his defense, countless dropped passes and even the TV announcers stated that WRs just aren’t getting open for him.

    To any UK player, the UK coaching staff has made their intentions well known for 7 games. Wake up if you aren’t playing!

    Next year Barker comes to UK. The coaching staff is recruiting NO other QBs coming in, NONE, ZERO. This is called putting all of their eggs in one basket. Barker has all of the other recruits intertwinned together on twitter and facebook. Heck, KSR gives him air time each week and even has a picture of him on your site. If UIK recruits another QB, then the huge possibility exists that Barker and possibly all of your 2014 recruits skip town, because Barker is the glue that holds the recruitting class together.. If UK doesn’t recruit another QB, then next year is the same situation as this season. Nervous that UKs chances next season rest on a QB from Conner High school. But you won’t have to worry about having a QB from Highlands on your roster.

    For seven games we’ve had QBs that can’t throw and WRs that can’t catch or get open. Any semi-talented skills player that isn’t seeing the field this season will wake up and go elsewhere. .

  12. bigblue091812

    Some of you act like you were expecting UK to go 8-4 or 9-3 this year. Stoops has shown he’s a great coach, these kids aren’t quitting at home or on the road. He’s doing this with the players that were left, next year you can expect 6-7 wins, the year after lots of teams aren’t going to be happy to play us.Carnifex, what an idiot, Smith is injured and I’m sure his shoulder will never be the same, still no reason to slam him. At least we won’t be hammered by the NCAA like loserville in the next 12-18 months.

  13. BravoBigBlue

    bigblue091812: Please tell me how “Stoops has shown he’s a great coach”. If you can sell that, then next help our socialist muslim President convince everyone how great his healthcare plan is. I’ll hang up and listen.

  14. rockatao

    another key play in the game was the long pass to Blue that the MSU db knocked away in the end zone. beautifully thrown long pass by Smith, exceptional play by the db

  15. barn

    how come we have so many guys with the same number on our roster?

  16. HadEnough

    Louisville has more SEC wins than Kentucky yet Matt keeps on blowing smoke up our butts.

  17. 9-asty

    Either Max Smith is one hell of a practice player or Towles is that bad in practice. I can’t believe they keep going with Smith over Towles when Smith has shown he can’t get it done come game time. If nothing else, give Pat some game time experience and if it doesn’t work out, oh well. It’s not like we need to keep winning to keep our bowl hopes alive. Might as well shake it up a little bit.

  18. haha

    expert analysis lol

  19. Really

    An emotional lose? Did anyone really expect this team to win last night? MSU is terrible!! So what does that say about UK? Just not enough talent on this team. Stoops and gang are working hard to bring in some football players and the program will get better. But the other teams in the league will either get better or stay the same football machine they already are. Cannot see UK being a top 5 team in the SEC.

  20. Jeffrey

    I was confident with a healthy Whitlow, not with Max Smith starting, and everyone knows why. Smith is the worst D1 QB to play the game.

  21. WoogedyBoogie

    I hope I’m not the only one who saw this…. but that first TD pass from Prescott in the 1st Quarter should have never happened! Za’Darius was right on his a$$ ready to have his first sack of the game, until THE MOST BLATANT holding/facemask/canoodling took place by the Offensive Lineman. Prescott easily got away and was able to throw a bomb to a wide open receiver. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE – if you haven’t already deleted it from your DVR, go watch and tell me I’m wrong.

  22. Coach T

    Every game with the exception of the game against winless Miami of Ohio = Failure to convert 3rd downs and failure of the passing game.

    Last night.

    4-18 on third down conversions.

    1st half passing: One 51 yard reception with most of yardage on play was yards after the catch.
    The remainder, 19 passes for a mere 48 total yards with countless over throws and drops.

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

  23. Obummer

    I dont know how bad that shoulder is but some of the passes werent even close enough to give the WR a chance to catch……. some passes looked like he was trying to guide and throw way to hard to control. The D looked quit impressive in the second half, some brain lapses but they looked good. I am not going to go as far to say Stoops is a great coach but i BELIEVE he has the program headed in the right direction!

  24. Drew Barker

    Looks like I will be starting next year. Hell my grandma can throw better than Max can!!!

  25. red headed stepchild

    @21 you did see it the same way I saw it.

  26. Piedma Schwartz

    Our team is only as good as the QB. Stoops can bring in talent until the cows come home, but if our QB play is terrible, (and last night it was as bad as it gets) we will not win games. They threw all those screen passes because Max Smith sucks.

  27. Where Is It?

    Hey, “BravoBigBlue”- You missed one thing in your brilliant post-a demand to see Obama’s birth certificate so we kin prove he’s a Furiner…

  28. RealCatsFan

    It’s just amazing to listen to some of the whiners on here bitching about the game. I swear some of you are probably the type of people who are only happy when complaining about something. Can you honestly tell me you expected more out of this team this year against the schedule we are facing? Look what Joker left for this coaching staff – very little. Tim Couch is not walking through that door, nor is Andre Woodson! We have two average QB’s who are both injured, and a mediocre and inexperienced receiving corps. We also have an extremely young coaching staff who are also learning as they go. I think with the recruiting class we have coming in here, and the invaluable experience the coaching staff has gained, that we will see real progress in the next two year, but until then, it’s going to be painful to watch. Patience is a virtue, and our fan base is far from virtuous these days.

    That being said, I am in agreement with others that Stoops probably needs to give Phillips or Towles a shot at QB, especially it Whitlow is slow to recover.

  29. Drew Barker

    Andre Woodson? He wasnt that good a QB neither was Hartline! They had some great receivers! Andre could throw it long but the 15 yard pass across the middle or a down and out than he was terrible!

  30. Coach B

    I am not one to comment on play calling or coaching, sense I am a coach myself. I know as well as anyone that as a fan you do not know whats going on in the minds of the coaches or players. However the play call on 3rd and 7 with 50 seconds to go in the game was one of the worst calls I have ever seen for many different reasons. The most obvious reason which I don’t have to go into depth about is the time aspect and no timeouts to stop the clock. With 50 seconds left and outside the twenty yard line you do not have time to run the ball, it is as simple as that. Secondly the run play itself was too predictable, I believe the four previous plays we ran with Whitlow at QB was that same play, and everyone in the stands knew it was coming again. Lastly and perhaps the worst part was the fact that they tried to switch quarterbacks after the play. This leaves very little time if any for Smith to make his pre snap reads and run a play on the most important play of the game.