Kentucky looked like they never returned from the Bye Week. The Cats traveled to Starkville and played their worst game of the 2017 season. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong.
Nick Fitzgerald could not be stopped on the ground. He ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries. To make matters worse, it was arguably his best game through the air this year. Normally a 54 percent passer, Fitzgerald completed 18-of-26 passes (69 percent) for 155 yards and another touchdown.
It wasn’t always that bad. Kentucky trailed 10-7 with 3:14 left in the first half. They had a chance to score and stay in the game, but Stephen Johnson missed Greg Hart on a third and one pass.
Fans are still angry Kentucky didn’t run the ball on third down, probably because of what happened next. Fitzgerald ran right on fourth and one and was stuffed…until he cut it back for a 40-yard touchdown that gave the Bulldogs a ten-point halftime lead and put a dagger into Kentucky.
Stephen Johnson had one of his worst days as Kentucky’s starter. Inaccurate on deep balls and crossing routes, he only completed 13-of-28 passes and threw two interceptions. One pick was on a screen pass, the other was returned for a touchdown.
Today’s game in Starkville sucked. That’s the only way you can describe this loss. However, it’s important to remember it’s just one loss. The Cats were 13-point underdogs on the road. They weren’t expected to win. With four winnable games remaining on the schedule, Kentucky still has an opportunity to win eight regular season games for the first time since 1984.
Today’s game was bad, one that’s best forgotten, but there’s still plenty of football to be played in the 2017 season.