Well, that sucked. A day that started with so much promise — actual football again! — slowly deflated over the course of the second half, culminating in a 29-13 loss to the Tigers. I was one of the lucky 18,000 or so people at Jordan-Hare Stadium to see it, so how about a few notes before I hop back in the car and head home?
1. The Chris Rodriguez call is not an excuse, but it really sucked
Anyone with eyes could tell that Chris Rodriguez scored a touchdown before the end of the first half. Unfortunately, the refs did not agree, and the call felt like it had a domino effect on the game; however, I’m not willing to use it as an excuse. Two plays later, Terry Wilson threw a pick six which was blissfully negated by a targeting call. Phew. Bullet dodged. Even after Auburn scored in the third quarter, Kentucky responded thanks to an eight-yard touchdown pass to Akeem Hayes. In an attempt to even the score, the Cats went for two points and failed, and from there, mistakes and bizarre calls started to pile up. After a big defensive stand at the start of the fourth quarter, Kentucky had to burn a timeout and then Terry fumbled it (if you can call simply dropping the ball a fumble). Missed tackles, blown coverage, a freaking fake punt when you’re down nine points. It just got worse and worse.
So, while it felt like everything went downhill after the Chris Rodriguez call — seven points on the board! — Kentucky had chances to turn it around. They didn’t.
2. No answer for Seth Williams, huh?
He killed Kentucky all afternoon, finishing with six catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns. This one was brutal:
Seth Williams absolutely Moss'd him ?
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 26, 2020
Not the ideal debut for our man Bossman Fat.
3. Terry’s still got some rust
A lot of words will be written about Terry Wilson’s performance today, many of them not kind. I actually thought Terry looked good early on, going as far to tweet that he’d knocked off the rust with that 40-yard throw to Allen Dailey in the second quarter. Well, I was wrong. Terry had some really bad moments, and aside from a few long throws, stuck to dink and dunk throws that didn’t move the chains. Even though it was too late, it was nice to see Terry and Josh Ali find a rhythm late in the game. Still, a lot of tape to look at and correct heading forward.
4. More Smoke, please
Kavosiey Smoke got Kentucky off to a terrific start, rushing 35 yards for a touchdown on the Cats’ first series. But then he only had one more carry in the half. He had five more carries in the second half to finish with a team-high 62 yards, but still. Eddie Gran preached riding the hot hand, but that didn’t seem to happen.
5. The new normal is weird
Auburn allowed 17,500 students in the stands for today’s game, and if you thought it looked like more on TV, it looked like more in person too. Auburn attempted to get students to social distance by requesting they sit in spaced-out chairbacks, which sort of worked. The students were noisy at times, and were helped out on third down by piped in crowd noise. Still, it’s just…weird. I spent some time near the field before the game and that all felt normal, with the players warming up and students slowly filing in, but in the press box, it felt like I was watching a scrimmage. I’ll have more on Auburn’s COVID safety protocols and stuff tomorrow, but this will definitely go down as one of the oddest — and most frustrating — games I’ve covered.