One final play has determined the outcome of Kentucky’s last three games. Playing in a high-pressure situation would rattle most, but the Cats remain poised no matter what.
“In the defense’s hands I feel very confident,” cornerback Derrick Baity said after the game.
Baity controls the team’s destiny because he’s on the field. Fans freak out in the stands. You might think that there would be similar feelings shared on the sidelines but, “It’s not,” receiver Kayaune Ross said. “We just gotta trust in our team to make the plays and do what we’ve been doing.”
The defense has proved that they can and will make plays in pressure situations. When the defense is on the field for the final play, Kentucky has walked away with a win every time.
“We’re not a fragile football team, they can handle adversity,” Mark Stoops said following the win. “We’re going to work on our mistakes, but we’ll keep on finding ways to win. There’s not many football teams that go through the season that don’t win, somehow, some close games. We don’t need to do every week like we’re doing. I would like to have one that you could breathe a little bit, but it shows a lot of character.”
Kentucky shouldn’t always be in this situation, but timely mistakes continually set them back and leave points on the scoreboard.
A flag called back a Benny Snell touchdown and forced UK to settle for a field goal. A holding call stalled a late second half drive and led to a Missouri touchdown. Missouri missed a short second half field goal, but a running into the kicker penalty gave their kicker a chance for redemption that he took advantage of.
“I think our instinct to destroy an opponent, we don’t really have it,” Baity said. “We’ll jump out on them and it’s good, but we’re not consistent enough to keep going on them….We’re letting up ourselves. We’re getting complacent once we take a good lead and I think that’s why it’s coming down to the wire.”
Stephen Johnson accepts the blame. “It’s just execution on our side, putting the game out of reach. That’s something we have to work on this Bye Week and the following week after that get it all together.”
Kentucky has made mistakes, but they’ve overcome those mistakes and made the plays they needed to win. It could eventually catch up with them, but as of right now they have found a way to win five out of six games to start the season.
“We haven’t been perfect, we lost one, but you’ve seen us fight back from adversity and that’s the way this team’s built right now,” Stoops said. “It’s going to be tough, hard fought-games. And that’s the way most of this league is. Y’all see it. Y’all see — take a look around, I mean, it’s tough. So I’m just proud of the way our team fights back from some tough situations and most of our games are going to be sixty minute games.”