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Kentucky’s Spectacular Offense Collapsed in the Third Quarter


The Kentucky football team had a chance to step on Ole Miss’ throat and walk away from Kroger Field with their first convincing victory of the season.  Instead of curb-stomping the Rebels, Eddie Gran’s offense transformed into a pile of hot crap.

When Kentucky entered the locker room at halftime, the offense was firing on all cylinders.  Trailing 17-13 with just over six minutes to play in the first half, Stephen Johnson and Benny Snell milked the clock down to 13 seconds left on the clock before Snell punched it into the end zone.

The Cats used the halftime lead and momentum to roll right through the Ole Miss defense to start the second half.   After only four plays, C.J. Conrad went 46 yards down the middle of the field for a touchdown that gave UK a ten-point lead.

“Great execution,” Eddie Gran described those drives after the game.  “Kids did a great job, they were phenomenal. I thought we did have them off balance.  We had some formations that hurt them.  We kept coming back to those.  I think they did a great job of coming out in the second half and going down and scoring.”

The UK defense took the offense’s momentum and shoved it down Ole Miss’ throat to force a three-and-out.  A bad punt was made even worse when a holding penalty gave UK the ball in Ole Miss territory. The Rebels were on the edge of self-destruction.

Kentucky was teed up to run away with the game.  Then it all went to shit.

On third and short, the Ole Miss defense dialed up a blitz in the A-gap, right where Snell was running.  Mark Stoops said after the game they planned on going for it on fourth down, but the tackle for loss right up the gut pushed back the Cats too far to take the risk.

That three-and-out turned into four straight three-and-outs.  Instead of turning their ten-point lead into 17, Kentucky had just 14 yards over 12 plays.  Johnson quickly went from great (17/18 183 yards and a touchdown) to eeeesh (0/4 and he took a sack).

“There was just a few MA’s [missed assignments] here and there,” Johnson said.  “It’s just stuff we gotta get fixed.  Me missing a couple of throws on third down or second down, we can’t fall behind like that.”

Stoops and Gran could not specifically point to what went wrong.  Stoops said they “just got off balance.”  UK’s offensive coordinator blamed it on third down deficiencies.

“We didn’t convert on a couple of third downs.  Ended up 7-for-13 but it needed to be nine; it needed to be ten in a game like this.  The conversions and in the red zone.  You can’t score three points on a team like that.  You gotta get touchdowns. ”

Benny Snell was rushing for almost six yards per carry before the string of three-and-outs. He put the pieces together on the Cats’ final drive, but he was not clicking for most of the third quarter.

“I just felt like it was the little things.  We were running the ball.  I felt like I could have been more patient.” Snell said it was “just little errors here and there.”

When Kentucky missed the opportunity to put Ole Miss away, Ole Miss seized the chance to make a comeback.  It took them less than a quarter to turn a ten-point deficit into a three-point lead. The Kentucky offense did respond with an excellent 95-yard drive to retake the lead, but it was too little too late.

This is a crushing loss in many ways.  The overturned fumble and the last-second fade in the corner of the end zone sucked, but UK should have never been in that situation.  They had an opportunity to squash Ole Miss into oblivion, assert their dominance over an opponent and win over the Big Blue Nation once and for all.

They might not get another golden opportunity like they did tonight — up ten with a drive starting in Ole Miss territory — and that’s what makes the 37-34 defeat such a crushing loss for the Big Blue Nation.

Article written by Nick Roush

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

44 responses to “Kentucky’s Spectacular Offense Collapsed in the Third Quarter”

  1. JPGott2

    Yep! UK fans want to believe one day that this team will stop doing the headshaking things they do, but it is game like this, against bad teams that makes the fan base believe the Cats will always fold.

    Kind of like the Florida BS where UK did not mark receivers, which resulted in 14 points. Speaking of Florida, the team we have not beat in 30 years. They got obliterated by MISSOURI!!!!

    1. brandond373

      Couldn’t agree more

    2. JaminTheCoach

      That, my friend, is the difference between a traditional powerhouse having a couple of bad seasons under a coach and being able to turn it around in 1 or 2 years and a team that traditionally has 1 or 2 good seasons every 8 or 9 years and suddenly starts building an actual program. We aren’t Alabama or Notre Dame. Be happy with the successes we are having, support the program, and reap the benefits when UK going 8-4 or 9-3 will be considered an off season.

    3. callitlikeiseeit

      Jamin—–what success. Look at what we have played, these games should be wins in any season. EKU, EMU, Mizzou is bad this year, USC was a good win on the road, USM and a very down UT program. Is that really success? Add that with 2 home losses vs teams under .500 and a blowout loss on the road. Sorry but that is mediocrity and not success.

  2. kjd

    I said in the first quarter the two field goals instead of TDs would beat us. Our defense cannot handle a hurry up, spread offense.
    Obviously, we went to the same formations too many times in the third quarter.
    I told my son at the beginning of the season, I wanted to see us take the next step. I didn’t want to leave a home saying we should have won that game. It’s happened twice. We’re still not there.

    1. UKPROF

      Bottom line, it’s Kentucky football. If there is only 1 chance in 1000 to lose a game, then it’s possible, and if it’s possible, then we’ll find a way to lose it, every single stinking time… year after year after year after year.

  3. kybirdieman

    Playing not to loose instead of win. Gran philosophy plus our d backs suck.

    1. JaminTheCoach

      I don’t think it’s our DB’s though. You don’t go from being considered legitimate NFL prospects to the worst DB’s in the conference overnight. I don’t think Steve Clinkscale will be with us much longer. But I do agree on Gran. You NEVER play not to lose. Ever. That killer instinct has to show on every play of every game from start to finish.

  4. mark40391

    Ole Miss runs up 473 yards including a 71 yard TD drive in the last 2 minutes of the game and you want to write about the offense?!?!? Our defense is becoming a joke!!

    1. Cat68

      …with a backup QB. How many backup QBs have we turned in to Heisman hopefuls?

  5. KYjellyRoll

    Crazy

  6. KYjellyRoll

    Big let down

  7. KYjellyRoll

    I just don’t understand

  8. Solidtilt1

    Do we even have dbs or do they just not exist? I mean they didn’t need to run the ball at all just keep throwing and make us try and make plays.. It’s pathetic and depressing I mean we can never put the finishing touches on a team and win convincingly as we should have tonight.. I’ll ride or die with my cats and hope we can we the next 2 of 3 but it really sucks when in my mind and heart and maybe others too that we were and are talented enough to win these winnable games down the stretch and we lose because we can’t make fundamentals plays even with our crowd in the game.. Go cats and I’ll be there next weekend for the vandy game.. let’s get this shit figured out and win these next 2 that we should against terrible vandy and loserville.. Go cats!!

    1. BBNBRIAN

      Stoops is our DB coach… there’s the problem.

    2. Rembrandt

      That’s wrong. Steve Clinkscale is our DB coach.

  9. Wildcat85

    FIRE EDDIE GRAN

  10. Irememberharrylancaster

    If you notice….in EVERY close game….UF is perfect example…..offense tanks in the third quarter. EVERY close game.

    1. InigoMontoya

      They become predictable.

  11. Blue Jesus

    I’ve taken some time to cool off, and I’m not here to bash the team or the coaches. What is clear is that the fanbase hasn’t been off base… We’ve won games we have ordinarily lost in the past, and that’s a step in the right direction, but the truth is this isn’t a team you can have confidence in. Snell is exceptional. S. Johnson has a leadership quality that is rare, at UK or anywhere, and overall we’re lucky to have him, but he has deficiencies and they do restrain the team’s offense at times. At the beginning of the year the hype machine–which is inevitable and not entirely to blame–promised us the D-line would be a problem and the defensive backs would be our salvation; it’s been the opposite.

    Beat Vandy and Louisville and there’s room for optimism, despite the poor performances… Even Saban loses sometimes.

    Win one of those two and I think there’s more room for discussion about the quality of the team’s performance, but it would be silly to pretend there isn’t a general upward trajectory.

    Lose out, and it’s reasonable to question the coaches’ cielings.

    1. Rembrandt

      A lot of teams around the country would like to be 6-3 right now. I can agree with anyone who says we should have won yesterday, but the sky is not falling. Other teams won’t lie down just so UK fans can feel confident. Ole Miss played an inspired game yesterday and pulled out a win, even though UK gained 455 yards and didn’t turn the ball over. Our offense played well enough to win, but our defense couldn’t stop a very good Ole Miss offense when the game was on the line. It was a great win for Ole Miss and an unfortunate loss for us, but the sun will keep rising. Sometimes you have to show sportsmanship and give some credit to your opponent., Our guys will bounce back. Our team will win more football games, and we are going bowling.

    2. bankerbh

      What teams have they beaten that they weren’t expected to? If you are referring to the one Louisville win last year that’s not hardly a strong track record. What about the games they barely won but were expected to win by a large margin? EKU come to mind? UT last week? There are a lot more of these crap shows than there are of spectacular upsets. This team’s record is misleading and they will end up in a meaningless bowl game again this year. They need to start beating more SEC teams to gain respect.

    3. Rembrandt

      I understand why people are disappointed after a close loss, but let’s not lose our hold on reality. We have the schedule we have. In football, games are decided by the final score. They don’t have judges holding up cards with 1-10 scores. If a 6-3 record isn’t good enough for you, then tell us when was the last time UK was 6-3. Yesterday was unfortunate, but it’s a 12 game season. So suck it up.

  12. Tango98

    For those of you my age I think Paula Abdul sums up UK football best, “two steps forward and two steps back”…

  13. Harby

    Pass Defense is terrible. Period. Stoops is supposed to be a DB guru. I’m not impressed.

    1. Rembrandt

      So you don’t recognize that being 6-3 is an improvement? Then maybe you would rather be 2-10. Maybe you would rather have Curry or Joker back. He isn’t Saban, but Stoops deserves better than the manic-depressive response he gets here after every game.

    2. catsarerunnin

      So I guess the history of UK football escapes you? Or the Stoops era? This team should be 8-1 but because of terrible coaching,it’s the 6-3 that you’re fine with. And it’s very possible another good start of a season will end with a 6-6 record and an invitation to The Turd Bowl. I’m not the biggest UK football fan but I certainly understand the pain and disappointment of hard core fans. And regardless of what happens the rest of this season,they will be back next year certain it will be the breakout season they have been longing for…..and more than likely they will be disappointed yet again.

    3. Rembrandt

      I know the history of UK football. You need to learn the difference between history of UK football and your personal wish list. We are 6-3. Compared to most other UK football seasons, this is improvement. Stop crying in your cereal.

    4. EdC

      Hurrah we are 6-3 all hail mediocrity because we’re used to worse.

      That way of thinking is exactly what keeps UK football where it is. No pressure on the administration to actually hire an SEC caliber coaching staff so they just keep things going the same way year in, year out. What happens when they try that with basketball? What happens in football at Alabama, LSU, Georgia when coaches lose games by being conservative on offense when they have a lead or their defense regularly gets beaten deep or when there are too many players on the field multiple times or when clock mismanagement by your QB / offensive coaching staff allows opponents extra time to beat your terrible defense?

      6-3 against this cupcake schedule isn’t any moral victory. Being a fan is fine. Being a blind fan who doesn’t hold management up to its part of the bargain isn’t.

  14. bankerbh

    Team is a farse. The only reason they have a winning record is because they play directional schools. Barely won over a struggling Tennessee last week and this week they should not have lost. But they did. Quit talking about such improvement under Stoops…their play on the field says otherwise.

    1. Rembrandt

      We are 6-3. But when we win football games, you would have us believe our success is our opponent’s fault. But when we lose, our team is a farce. Is that your explanation?

    2. catsarerunnin

      Yes

  15. ScoggDog

    Wow … didn’t know Mark Stoops had deep enough pockets to recruit a Dutch painter as his own personal mouthpiece. Impressive.

    I mean … not as impressive as being able to coach defensive backs, or make substitutions on time … but still, a pretty neat trick.

  16. cdhunt

    True story….they are a mediocre football team. They going to bowl and that is great. Just as easliy could have had no wins or only one loss, but not many good teams in there. They are improved and in past year may have lost some of the game they had won.

  17. Howdy Doody

    Wuda, Cuda , Shuda….repeat….repeat…repeat…

  18. classof68

    Except for 1984 and 1977 we have NEVER had a good defensive team – even when we have had really good offenses. Only way to win has been to out offense the opponent. If Stoops can upgrade the offense, why in the heck can’t he do that with the defense? Don’t Ohio high schools produce good defensive recruits? And after all, isn’t defense his specialty?

    1. JaminTheCoach

      Why is our defense so bad? 1.) Steve Clinkscale – he has turned legitimate NFL potential DB’s into a laughing stock. 2.) Our D-Line has been seriously undermanned. What Derrick LeBlanc has accomplished with the group he has is amazing. They’ve outplayed 8 of 9 opponents upfront when they had no business doing so, but once a lineman becomes exhausted and there is no legitimate replacement it’s impossible to keep playing at the same overachieving level. Depth is a real issue. 3.) Matt House is learning on the job. Scheme is adjusted in the offseason, not midseason. I’d bet the farm the defense looks entirely different next year once these changes are made.

    2. Peas and Carrots

      I agree about coach clinkscale. This is the most talented secondary we’ve had in over 20 years, they were the strength of our defense the last two years and yet they’ve regressed so badly to become the worst unit on the team.

  19. throwtheball

    8 pass attempts in the 2nd half after going 15 of 16 in the 1st half? I like Johnson’s leadership but even our coaches don’t have confidence in his arm. It’s not strong or accurate.

  20. ukkatzfan

    Anybody who believes that Ky football is many years of cursed losing is wrong. These are not the same players that Curry, joker or any other Coach had. Stoops isn’t any of these other coaches either. If you want to walk around and talk football like a whipped puppy, please do it for U6, florida, old miss or someone else. Some of y’all sound like eeyore every time a loss happens. We are 6-3 now with vandy and u-6 still to play. That means we could end up 8-4 or 7-5. We were 7-5 last year. There are no “ one and dones” on a 15 player team in football. With best players it is “3 and done” on an 80 player team and some of those were after a redshirt year. Good phrase to remember in football is “ Rome wasn’t built in a day”. And anyone that don’t think the coaches are good, feel free to apply for any openings as they arise IF you can do better. Pays in 100k’s to millions/ year. Has been proven a family can live on that salary in this state. Until then, look around your place of work and see the incompetence there. Or if you are reading this at work, look in the mirror for incompetence. And check to see how many times your order for lunch is wrong. Incompetence is widespread and takes time to correct. Good thing is basketball is starting into full swing now. The bandwagon soft weak fans can go set with the blue hairs like statues in Rupp and leave football to us who Don’t Flinch, us who Love watching and cheering Stephen Johnson, Benny Snell and the other 80 players on the team, us who know Mitch made a good choice when he hired Stoops, us who know Stoops is on the right path, us who know UK is a football state that just happens to have a great basketball team more often than not. Cause in all reality, I get tired of your see-saw fandom that happens based on whether our UK sons just happen to win or lose on the Saturday that just passed. I am sure Stoops understands Nicholson being perturbed by Cruise who lives and breathes under the blanket of football he provides and then complains how he provides it. Stoops has preached “Go to work, Prepare for Game, Play the Game, Don’t Flinch and do it again”. If you are not up to being a fan of it, basketball season starts this week. And even better for you, cheerleading has already started. After all, cheerleading fans probably complain about the lack of national championships basketball teams have. Back in billy clydes last year, the team would play a game to a 55- 55 score with about 2-3 minutes to go in the game. I think it was a Joe Crawford/ Rameel Bradley team. Then in last 2 minutes Crawford and Bradley knuckled down and tried to win the last two minutes. I ended up “ disliking” BCG due to some of his actions. But the last year, those games were fun to watch. Always exciting in the last 2 minutes. Seems Stoops team this year is playing the same. Those last 2-5 minutes are stand and holler time( and that is in front of my tv). If you don’t like that, you are silly. Do I want it every year, no. Thats why Stoops and Co are recruiting. Talent has been increasing every year(gotta love Bowden) and next year will be here soon( early signing time in Dec now). But Right Now, I only got 3 more regular season games for the “UK legend to be” Stephen( I love this Sh#t) Johnson and this team that will be celebrated 20 years from now. So I am going to just forget the eeyores and enjoy My CATS. Because football is only for a mean 12 games and not a forgiving 40. Go Stoops !!! And Go Big Blue !!!

    1. Peas and Carrots

      I agree with the sentiment but stopped reading half way through because the formatting sucks. Use paragraphs next time to get your point across better.

  21. MadHatter

    For me, it’s not necessarily the fact that we lost to ole miss even though we should have won. It’s the consistent inconsistencies that kills me. When you beat Southern miss, EKU, and Eastern Michigan by a combined 22 points and ABSOLUTELY give two games away, I have zero confidence in beating anyone. Stoops has definitely improved the program, but I’m losing confidence in his ability to take the next step.

  22. kingme

    This was the year we were supposed to take the next step. With an 8-1 record we would all agree that we had, instead we’re 6-3 and pissed off because this team constantly finds ways to lose. I’ve been watching this team all season, we have the players to compete with just about anyone but it never ceases to amaze me how the coaches constantly make bad decisions in game that hurt us. The Florida debacle, the inability to step on an opponents throat and put them down for good. Not to mention the fact they seem to want to try to keep all the receivers happy on offense, I mean I know they can see what Bowden is capable of. The kid is the most dynamic playmaker on the field on any given play and they only give him the ball like 3 times a game. He should be on the field for every offensive play, there are so many different things you can do with a player of his caliber. We’ve seen the throws he can make, his speed and agility are second to none. Get him the ball and when the defense starts over compensating for him that will open up other targets. These damn coaches want to act like they’re smarter than everyone and try to out scheme people. This crap ain’t physics man it’s football. Get your best players the ball on offense and play solid team defense. That play at the end of the game last night wasn’t the d-backs fault, he should’ve been coached in the timeout that if he’s beat at all to just push the receiver out of bounce ds. If they call pass interference so be it, they put the ball on the one and have to try to score. So frustrating being such a big fan and having bad in game coaching mistakes piss me off every other game. But what do I know, I’m just a stupid fan.

  23. Alleykat16

    The offense is not our problem it lies on our defense every game we’ve lost is because of our defense we’ve scored enough points to beat everyone we’ve played with this defense we shouldn’t have beat any team we’ve played its been our offense that’s bailed us out for the wins we’ve had