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The Top 5 Plays That Turned The Tide


In football, coaches often say it wasn’t the one play that cost them the game. While the two-point conversion was the play that beat the Cats there were a bunch of other plays that put the Cats in the situation to lose. Looking back over the game the guys in blue made some mistakes and the Hilltoppers capitalized. How different would the game have been if  the Cats could have some plays back. The repeated mistakes slowly added nails to the coffin and ended up costing us the game. Here are the top 5 plays that I think made the difference between winning and losing:


5. The first interception:

1st Quarter, ~13:00: 3rd and 14 at our own 32 and the Cats are looking to keep the chains moving. Smith threw his first pick on this play and set the tone for the entire game. Western was here to play aggressive. Kentucky would struggle to find targets and would hand deliver their opponent excellent field position. This play lead directly to Western taking an early 3-0 lead from which the Cats would never fully recover. If this ball just hits the ground the game starts out much differently. While this play didn’t make the difference it just about defined how the rest of the game would go.

4. Sweat Gets Loose:

4th Quarter, ~:30: The play that capped off the comeback. At least this play saved us the further embarrassment of losing in regulation. The Cats showed some grit by driving down the field to tie it up as time expired. They looked to have momentum on their side going into OT. From this play the team would go on to take their first lead in overtime and looked to finally be putting the tops away. While this play turned the tide of the game it was all for naught as roughing the passer penalty would end up costing the Cats the game. A mental lapse perhaps undid the Joker era.

3. Jakes to McNeal, Touchdown:

3rd Quarter,~8:00: This play capped off a 75-yard drive by Western to begin the second half. There were flashbacks to the game two weeks ago in Louisville when the Cats found themselves incapable of getting a stop. There were two third down conversions as they had their way with the UK defense. The drive killed the momentum the Cats had put together to end the first half and showed that Western wasn’t going to lie down. The touchdown gave the tops a 24-10 lead and enough breathing room to keep running the ball and using the clock on the rest of their drives.

2. Max Smith’s third interception:

2nd Quarter,~5:45: The first interception hurt, but it was so early the Cats could have recovered. The second one could have been bad but the defense answered with a big stop on fourth-and-one. The fourth interception could have been worse but somehow the Cats forced a fumble and avoided disaster. The third interception though was perhaps what doomed the victory.  The throw gave Western the ball at their own two-yard line and after a quick score put the Cats in a 17-0 hole. You can’t get in a hole that bad to and upstart team. The third interception is just about the main reason the Cats lost the game.

1. The Two Point Conversion:

This play is the equivalent of a walk-off home run. Western showed true grit in even going for the play and it was so close to being dropped. But it didn’t go that way and cost us the game, possibly a shot at a bowl, and puts our football future in a fog. Win-or-lose the played proved that the Hilltoppers were there to win, not just give the Cats a good game. If the team is going to turn the season around they are going to have to adopt the same mentality.


The game was hard to watch, especially just seeing the team repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot. Those are my picks for the plays that ended up making the difference in winning and losing, what would you add?

Article written by Andrew Cassady

Follow me @ACassady_KSR

55 Comments for The Top 5 Plays That Turned The Tide

  1. Common Sense
    11:32 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    “It’s not Max Smith’s fault though, its all Joker’s fault for letting him throw those 4 picks. Fire Joker now!” Idiots.

  2. markp
    11:33 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    No the top play was Mitch hiring Joker. That caused yesterday!

  3. catGrad7072
    11:36 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    #2: Yep. You beat me to it.
    I used to think that the MAC was the level of competition we could handle on a weekly basis; better make that the Sunbelt but just not this week. Thanks Mitch. Thanks Joker.

  4. GoForTwo
    11:38 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Just wondering,,,,,,,,,,,,,, if you were a coach of a sinking ship and are desperate for something positive to happen to you team and program,,,,,,,Would you ever even think of going for two and the win after getting the TD to make it 23-24?

  5. catGrad7072
    11:38 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Oh, and ‘possibly a shot at a bowl’ ?????? Good grief son, sober up.

  6. Gavin S.
    11:39 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    You forgot the bullsh*t peronal called on the Cats.

  7. john4uk
    11:41 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    What lost the game for UK is no defense.They have one of the worst defensive coordinators in D-1 football.Couple that with a pitiful D line coach,a less than stellar defensive back staff,and an almost non existent strenght and conditioning program and you have the recipe for failure.Sadly,all of these problems lay at Jokers feet,and he apparently is not going to do anything about it.

  8. GoForTwo
    11:42 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    You certainly don’t have anything to lose at that point. You’ve been outplayed all night. Why even think that in OT it would change. For full disclosure, the last home game I attended I watched us totally give the game to TN by not letting your best player decide te outcome. RCOBB18!

  9. markp
    11:44 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Bobby Petrino

  10. The Truth
    11:47 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker should have never been hired in the first place. CIW is not something that is just handed to anyone. You need to prove yourself first. Mitch should not even think twice about getting rid of this man. Talent, yes we do have some but, we don’t have the four and five stars that some teams are able to get. The coaching staff is not good enough to make these guys utilize their talent that they have. Joker should have been fired after the game last night. Bring in an elite coach and let him bring his whole staff with him, and YES WE CAN TURN THIS PROGRAM AROUND. (Big time players will follow big time coaches). Hey Mitch can you hear me, THIS WILL WORK!!!!!!

  11. Mike
    11:47 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    The Joker has got to go. I can’t stand looking at him anymore let alone listen to him. He has no passion, emotion, or swagger. We need somebody who can light a fire under the fan base and the team.

  12. Mike
    11:49 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    NEWS FLASH!!! Batesville Casket Co. just informed the university that the rush orders for enough caskets to carry the coaching staff has just been completed and they are awaiting for further delivery instructions.

  13. Jj
    11:49 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Some of the worst writing I have ever seen. I won’t even try to count the comedy of errors in your list.

  14. Yep.
    11:51 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I disagree with 17 point is to big of a hole to crawl out of. Fact is that we should be able to spot Western a 4 touchdown lead and still beat them. I don’t wanna hear that we dont have the facilities, we dont have the players, etc. We may not have the players to compete with and beat the top teams in the nation, but we sure as heck have enough to beat Western. There are many programs that have less and do more. Sad thing is, this wasn’t an upset. We are that bad.

  15. Patick_Wren
    11:59 am September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Well…yesterday was bad. However, we are assured that a new Head Football Coach is on the horizon. There is NO WAY Joker can survive last night….

  16. markp
    12:01 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    15 Amen! Bobby Petrino needs a job.

  17. Mike
    12:01 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    NEWS FLASH!!…The local manager of Kinko’s just emailed Barney that their resume builder specialist would be able to start meeting with UK coaching staff first thing monday morning.

  18. barn
    12:02 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    i’m afraid that next saturday in the swamp will be reminiscent of the spurrier days with the score being run up unmercifully

  19. Hooter
    12:02 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    We are terribe, same thing, different year. Minter is horrible, they need to get rid of him ASAP!! I don’t know why they won’t fire him now. Smiths 4 interception didn’t help. The defense is lame. Why wouldn’t teams just run against us every time.

  20. Joker sez
    12:03 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    That was so stupid of me to be shaking the hand of Taggart last night after the game. I didn’t realize I was shaking the hand of my replacement.

  21. Ummmm
    12:03 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Why is everyone so surprised? I said that WKU played Alabama tougher than people think and that UK couldn’t stop a pee wee team. If not for a few personal fouls against WKU, this game might get ugly. Oh and by the way Stuart and Rashawn, when you play a real defense which UK still has not “Air Raid 2.0” isn’t that effective. It has been shown against a Big East School and a Sun Belt school……what is going to happen against SEC defenses?

  22. coolcatman
    12:05 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with most everything I have read hear But #9 why do we want Looserville and Arkansas’s sloopy seconds. Why not look into getting a guy like Bill Cowher, it’s time Kentucky starts making waves in the SEC screw getting some UP N COMING get someone who has been there and has the reputation to take the program to the next level.

  23. CaptObvious
    12:08 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Hey All….lets give credit where credit is due. That was one HECK OF A WIN by WKU. Sure UK is soft for a major conference team, but the Hilltoppers played great and totally fearless and deserved it more than we did. They’ve got a very good team from top to bottom and seemingly a great coach. Going forward WKU will likely win every game in their conference and easily go to a bowl. So they are no slouch.

    But now let’s state the obvious, Joker is as good as a goner. We all know it. I mean the only realistic scenario in which he keeps his job is for UK to win at least 4 more games versus the weaker opponents on their schedule (Samford, Ark, Miss St, Ol Miss, and Vandy) and then one “holy crap” win against a Georgia, Missouri, UT, or UF. That is a pretty tall task and, quite frankly, totally impossible with their current personnel.

    So the bittersweet pill is the fact that we do have some really good football being played by others in our state, and the potential for UK to have a good team again one day is there. Granted, this staff will have set back the program a number of years and it will take the new staff a while to recover, but it can be done. However, like we all said with Tubby, Joker is a great guy..a true gentleman and proud representative to our school, but his days as a major D-1 head coach are severely numbered. In the meantime, I sure hope the fans continue to come out and support the team. Nothing would irk me more than to see the likes of EVERY remaining SEC team we play at home be allowed to fill30-40% of the seats at Commonwealth. Mark my words, this team will shock someone. Not sure who yet, but they will pull off one major victory on their way to my prediction of a 4-8 record. Forever CATS!

  24. Cameron
    12:09 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    6- There was the call against Western for a personal foul in OT that should not have been called and a no-call on Kentucky for basically the exact same play when they hit Western’s QB out of bounds. The referees had no impact on the outcome of this game. If you think otherwise, you don’t know football.

  25. markp
    12:09 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    22 because their sloppy seconds are pretty damn good! Kind of like being the second guy with Scarlett Johannson. Petrino got a less than mid level SEC team up to championship level and has the ability, and exciting offense, to do it at UK. Get this mentality out of your head. U of L is better than us is football. Check the modern day records. Petrino is a proven commodity on the field and needs to rebuild hid reputation after the Arkansas fiasco. We do not have a shot with a better on field coach, period, and fact.

  26. Empire Blue
    12:10 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    There are poorly written articles, and then there is this train wreck. I realize we don’t pay for KSR content, but for the love of God, dust off an old English textbook and start studying if you want to be taken seriously as a sportswriter.

  27. Boobie miles
    12:10 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Not defending joker but we lost because we couldnt stop them on defense yes, but mainly because of TO’s. Joker didnt throw the picks.

  28. Kelly
    12:14 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Chris Peterson is the 1rst coach I would talk to.

  29. Symbian
    12:17 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    If we hired Petrino, due to the fact we already have Cal, we would be percieved as the sleaziest university sports program in America. There’s got to be somebody else.

  30. BCO
    12:19 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Id rather read about what Aaron Harrison is having for breakfast or see that pic of Randle and Beyonce again as opposed to reading anything about football.

    Can the site please switch to full blown basketball mode til we get a coach? I defended Joker up until this year…dude hes a goner. You cant lose to Western. Well be damn lucky to win 2 more games…Theres no way he makes it to 5.

  31. Sheeeeiiit
    12:19 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    3 weeks ago my brother was talking to someone connected w the football program. Rumor was Petrino is considering the job. Not acting like I am some big shot w inside info. Just what he told me and it seemed the source was solid. Not sure if a lowlife like Petrino is our answer but I admit I am glad to hear that UK is considering a big name to replace Jokster.

  32. smoke and mirrors
    12:23 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    My first interview would be the middle school coach at jessie clark.Sarcastic,yes,but anyone would be a step above what we have now. The program is dying and Daddy Mitch doesn’t have the sack to do what needs to be done. Hire anyone,do something,don’t just sit on your ass and do nothing.What is the worst that can happen, we lose the rst of our games? Maybe,probably. I bet you if a move was made the fans would come back,if for no other reason to see what the new product looks like.

  33. markp
    12:23 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    29 Cal is not sleazy, quit buying NCAA hype. Petrino is, but should behave due to having to rebuild his reputation. We will not be able to get a coach who has PROVEN an ability to win in the SEC. Chris Peterson has not done in it in the SEC and probably can’t. Even if Petrino left in 3-4 years it would get us to a level where another good coach would come. Petrino can recruit in the South and has won as a coach in this state. Any other prospects at this point would be just that, prospects, and not proven. We need to win soon and not always be willing to accept Music City levels as the pinnacle.

  34. get the poison out
    12:25 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Speaking of the Tide.. Bama 35-Wku 0
    WKU 32-UK 31 so therefore Bama 36-UK 0
    That means UK is better than Arkansas by more than 2tds
    So we got that goin for us…which is nice!

  35. So what
    12:26 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    29 – So What? Petrino has never been accused of cheating at football and he wins. I don’t care what others think, just like when we hung the banner in basketball and someone said it will be taken down and I said, “I can’t hear you over the sound of the banner being hung.” Hire Petrino today.

  36. barn
    12:26 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    why would we want petrino? can you imagine the tardinal fans? they would crash ksr with their “louisville leftover” coach drivel. you think our football is a laughing stock now? there are other good coaches out there. it is just a matter of UK actually making a committment to go after one, which i doubt they will

  37. Patick_Wren
    12:27 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    We simply MUST get a big name Head Coach….

  38. get a grip
    12:33 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    What makes anyone think for one minute that Bobby Petrion would even be interested in coming to UK. Bobby P will be wearing UT orange next year!

  39. markp
    12:34 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    No it is not just UK committing to go after a big name coach. No one wants this nightmare of a program unless they have never done anything before. So it would be taking a chance on our part. No big name will come here. But Petrino is in a bad place right now due to his personal choice of sleeping around. Kind of like Pitino but he was doing it at UK and all knew of it but turned their head because of the product on the court. So we accepted sleazyy in an Armani and thought he was the shiz. Petrino would be electric at UK and is the only big name, proven coach we can get.

  40. JR
    12:35 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    The personal foul at the end by Dupree should be on there. Even tho it was questionable it happened. Get over it. And last, dont expect a high profile coach. When the seasons over expect changes not only in SEC but across the country, and trust me none of them want to come to Kentucky.

  41. my vote
    12:35 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I would have to include nelloms missed tackle of qb for a huge loss before the play.

  42. BlueTexan
    12:36 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    FIRST mistake was clueless Lee Todd hiring Barnfart (from TN – give me a break).

    SECOND mistake was allowing the ‘new’ hire (Barnfart) ‘search’ the country for a football coach only for him to “find” a retired/fired old mentor, rescue him from a trout stream and bring him to Lexington.

    THIRD mistake was allowing your new hire (Barnfart) to foster an unhealthy relationship with a National Championship BB coach and run him off so he could hire his ‘own’ BBN savior (BCG)…while NOT doing due diligence which clearly showed character flaws in the hire.

    FOURTH mistake (by Barnfart) was to, after numerous embarrassing events, not admit he made a mistake (overlooking Coach Cal in his search) in his new hire (BCG) so he could save ‘face’.

    FIFTH mistake was to allow his old mentor name his successor, an unprepared assistant who is a ‘nice’ K-Man, as coach-in-waiting.

    Simply, Joker is not heach coaching material. Sadly, Barnfart is and has been the epicenter
    of the myriad of total ineptitude in the Athletic Department and should be replaced immediately. (The Coach Cal hire was as much Coach Cal recruiting us, Barnfart realizing he screwed up and then taking credit for bringing in Cal.)

    Fire Barnfart. Hire a professional AD and let him evaluate Joker.

    The rifle team won’t ‘miss a beat’.

  43. Superdave709
    12:54 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    WKU definitely wanted this game more. The “bright spot” of this team, the O-line, couldn’t even make a big enough hole for us to get more than 2yds on. Western repeatedly ran up the middle for 3 or 4 yards whenever they wanted. We have gone back to the old style of tackling, which is not tackling at all. We miss the one good linebacker that we have been accustomed to having. Our corners routinely get beat. We are not a threat to any team. And you will still find me in the stands at every game I can make. Such is the life of a UK football fan. Go Cats!

  44. Han
    1:07 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    1) When you’re a third year coach with a relatively inexperienced starter in his third game, you get in his freaking ear and calm him down after the 2nd interception. You also adjust your gameplan so he doesn’t throw a third interception to the same defender.

    Smith made the throws, but the coach and gameplan bear significant blame, too.

    Joker complained last year that we didn’t have the speed to compete and play the way he wanted to. He recruited those players, he brought in their coaches, and he set up the gameplan that required them to be faster to succeed. He blamed our failures last year on not having gamebreakers like Cobb and Locke to make 20 yards on 3-yard screens. Yes, his gameplan was to run a crappy play and pray a player make a huge play out of it.


  45. Vic
    1:10 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I know its to much to ask for one of the Top coaches to come to UK. But we should expect the best in the state of Kentucky !!!!
    Louisville ..Western both have far better coaches than Ky..

  46. Patick_Wren
    1:52 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    #41…. You are so right!

  47. shinny
    2:49 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Not to many years ago Stanford,Oregon,TCU,Vandy,were Kentucky’s equal and THEN! Louisville,Western,Cincy were our little sisters and look at them NOW. The BBN wants a football program too–PLEASE. Turn the sirens back on.

  48. Grinch
    2:52 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    If we expect to turn it around, we have to adopt the same mentality as WKU? Gimme a break. Playing to win has NOT been Joker’s game plan. A fine example would be the timid play calling on virtually every 3rd and long play since Choker’s been coach. I eventually just stopped yelling at the TV when the QB would drop back and then throw a pass that might not have even made it past the line of scrimmage. I blamed Joker’s early troubles on Mike Hartline. The guy couldn’t throw a deep ball. How on earth can an SEC team win with a QB that can’t throw a remotely long ball? Hartline was a terrific back up QB. He knew the system and he really didn’t do anything stupid and he could do an ok job of running the offense until the starter got back in the game. Except he WAS our starter. At ANY other SEC school, Hartline was a backup. So at the time I placed a lot of our offensive woes on having a sub par QB. On top of that we had receivers who had trouble catching the ball. Pitiful. But the poor play calling and timid play kept right on happening. A head coach is the man in charge. Sure the OC might call plays, but it’s the head coach that has reign over him. WKU played the way Joker’s teams have not.

  49. Dutch
    4:14 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    We’ve all heard the wind blow before! Excuses! Excuses! It’s the fans that deserve a better product….We pay for the tickets thinking we may have a shot to win…That’s all we want…we backed UK when they only won one game in a season….The fans should boycott the remainder of games this season…..It’s not bad atheletes, it’s bad coaching! By the way, did you see Westerns players rally around their coach on their sideline….see the energy they had…the excitement he generated! UK needs a coach that the players believe in! Joker it’s no wonder Charlie Strong like you so much!Your his b—-!

  50. Obummer
    6:36 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I mean seriously people UK can not get a big name coach to come. No great coach wants to come to a school where he is going to play second fiddle to Cal. I mean UK could of had Bear Bryant for the long haul, but even then football was already a distant second to basketball. They are going to have to take a shot on some remotely unknown guy and pray that playing in the SEC keeps bringing in recruits. All that aside this loss lays on Maxwell and 4 picks. Joker made some adjustments to get them back in the game, but you can’t overcome all those turnovers.

  51. Yngvie Maumsteen.
    6:43 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    We never had a shot at a bowl and we were never going to turn the season around. We suck. It’s that simple.

  52. Choker Phillips
    7:19 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Am I still coach?

  53. mike d
    7:37 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    For all of you idiots who are thinking Jon Gruden..stop it!!! Why would a man who lives in Tampa working one day a week sixteen weeks a year come to Lexington KY? I know most people who live in Vine Grove and Pikeville and vacation in Gatlinburg or Gulf Shores think Lexington is the mecca of the world, but it is not. The fan base is stupid, the traffic lights suck and the weather is awful. Set your sights a little lower, maybe Mike Leach or Willie Taggert.

  54. cas24
    8:39 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    One name I would like to see come up is Kirby Smart Alabama defensively coordinator.

  55. Tigercat
    9:40 am September 17, 2012 Permalink

    I am sort of partial to the 4th down call when we threw behind the line of scrimmage. Bring back Guy Morris-He was a football guy, and no nonsense. Joker is over his head. Fire Minter now and name Chuck Smith DC.