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6 Areas of Concern and 6 Silver Linings from last night’s scare

© Mark Zerof | Getty

© Mark Zerof | Getty

© Mark Zerof | Getty

The only thing worse than almost losing to Eastern Kentucky? Losing to Eastern Kentucky. Perspective can be hard to find after a near miss like last night, but that’s what the morning after is for. In that spirit, I spent the morning breaking down the biggest areas of concern in UK’s near-loss to Eastern (hard for me to call this a “win”) and, in an attempt to comfort myself, found a silver lining for almost every single one. It wasn’t easy.

Let’s start with the most offensive.

UK only had 55 yards rushing

…on 36 attempts. To be fair, 13 of those attempts were by Patrick Towles, but UK’s normally-robust rushing attack looked weak against Eastern, an FCS team. After getting the starting nod over Boom Williams, JoJo Kemp had 14 carries for 46 yards and one touchdown. Mikel Horton carried the ball 9 times for 13 yards. Freshman Sihiem King, who many figured would see the field, never did. With Boom out, UK’s rushing attack faltered, in part because Eastern’s defense manhandled UK’s offensive line.

Silver lining: Boom Williams will be back in the lineup for Auburn. Hopefully the offensive line, which has seen a lot of praise this season, will get their act together as well.

Patrick Towles’ first half was awful

Patrick better be happy he had the second half he did, because that first half? Woof. 10-19 for 121 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Florida Patrick was back. With each bad throw and sack, the calls for Drew Barker became deafening. His offensive line wasn’t doing him any favors, but Patrick dug a hole for himself in the first two quarters.


Silver lining: Patrick’s second-half and overtime performance may have saved him his job. 19-23 for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Missouri Patrick was back! Can we keep him?

Also, I love you, Patrick, but can we cool it with the hair shakes and winks? Or at least save them until the end of the game?

At times, the offense looked inept

…against an FCS defense. There’s a lot of blame to go around here, but it starts with the offensive line. EKU had four sacks for 33 yards, numerical proof they manhandled UK’s line. That poor performance led to ineptitude across the offense, especially the rushing attack.

Silver lining: They showed up when it mattered. I praised Patrick Towles’ second-half performance earlier, but the biggest praise has to go to Dorian Baker, whose heroics saved Kentucky from the ultimate embarrassment. Baker had 8 receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns, a few of those catches so freakish and athletic that at times, you wonder if he’s human.

Shannon Dawson’s comments about Baker after the game said it all.

“He’s a special kid. He’s a competitor. And he’s one guy that, in my opinion, tonight, he really put this offense on his back. He said, ‘Gimme the ball.’ So we got him the ball, and probably some situations where it wasn’t a good look to get him the ball.”

Once you get over how terrible the offense looked for most of the game, you have to admit that their final few drives were pretty freaking impressive.

EKU ran for 180 yards; put up 363 yards total

Remember that defense everyone was raving about after the Missouri game? Me too. Where were they last night? EKU put up 363 yards of offense, 180 of those on the ground. Behind Ethan Thomas and Dy’Shaw Mobley, the Colonels averaged 3.5 yards per carry to UK’s 1.5.

Silver lining: I’m struggling to find one, so instead, I’m just going to praise Cory Johnson. Johnson built on a career game against Missouri with another one against EKU, tallying 19 tackles, including three for loss and one sack. There were a lot of negatives in last night’s near-loss, but Cory’s performance certainly wasn’t one of them.

Eastern wanted it more

The phrase that keeps running through my mind while writing this is “against Eastern!”. After a big win over Missouri and an enticing Thursday night showdown with Auburn on the horizon, it’s clear Kentucky overlooked Eastern and almost got burned for it. But you have to give the Colonels credit. With heavy hearts, they came to play and clearly wanted the game more. Quite frankly, they deserved to win.

Silver lining: Hard to find one here. After almost losing to a FCS team, overlooking opponents shouldn’t be an issue the rest of the season.

Kentucky almost lost

Silver lining: They didn’t.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

29 Comments for 6 Areas of Concern and 6 Silver Linings from last night’s scare

  1. thatDguy
    12:18 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    I’ve seen very little focus from the media on how depleted UK’s O-line was last night and it was one of the critical game factors. Down two senior O-linemen to start the game and losing a 3rd lineman to injury in the 3rd quarter, UK struggled to contain EKU’s talented D-line; specifically their superb DE. Towles could rarely get his feet set and was constantly in motion. Of course, running between the tackles was fruitless and we didn’t have Boom’s outside speed to keep the defense honest, thus couldn’t move the chains or control game tempo. Add to these absences the fact that we lost our all-SEC kicker at the last minute, eliminating our ability to kick FGs outside of 40 yards, while making our kickoff game very short and inefficient, leading to poor field position on every kickoff.

    A flat team was also a banged up team and we were extremely fortunate to win in OT. The willingness to open up the offense when down 14 pts was a risky but brilliant call…the bubble screens to isolate our WRs completed negated the pass rush and allowed our superior talent to succeed.

  2. Echo1
    12:27 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    The only silver lining I saw was the last one you listed.

  3. jch67
    12:37 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    Silver lining? Here’s one for you

    When was the last time UK football was even in the position of “overlooking” a team as we look forward to a future game? We’ve been the team being overlooked, not the other way around.

    Here’s another (related)

    When was the last time you thought UK could “overlook” a team, go down 2 touchdowns in the 4th quarter and still manage to pull out the victory?

    We looked horrible most of the night but it appears this team has the attitude the expect to and believe they will win every game and, when it comes down to it, they buck up and get it done. It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen that from a UK football team.

    • Leuther
      4:07 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      Valid points…

  4. JP
    12:44 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    Moral: Stay on your own campus.

    Will anyone be looking for top 25 votes this week?

  5. Patrick_Wren
    12:44 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    Enough with this EKU is an FCS School….BS! EKU had some quality players on the field from many, many Division I Schools. Did not Noah Spence start as a true freshman for TOSU? Just to mention one….

    Also, thank you #1…..nice take. Were we flat….probably. Was EKU playing out of their minds….no doubt.

    • Probably Not
      11:10 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      NC State 35 EKU 0 in week 2……nuff said….they are FCS

    • But Probably
      11:47 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      Houston 34 – Louisville 31 in week 2…..nuff said…..they are AAC

  6. Tom Seaver
    12:51 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    The last point is the one that matters. However many wins we finish the season with, but are bowl eligible, if we have the luxury of picking apart wins that are ugly, but still wins, I will take bowl eligibility. In the end, bowls are awarded for wins, not style points. That said, the issues that we have must be addressed to be more than a 5-7/6-6 team. One issue that seems consistent this season is the inconsistency. We have a number of young players playing, so that might be an explanation for that. Hopefully, we will get effort from the Missouri game against Auburn.

  7. tycobb
    1:46 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    I’m convinced Jim Bunning has something to do with Towles playing time. Stoopid politics

  8. Telford Hall Security Guard Says
    1:50 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    “Dey posed to be SEC” !

    • binarysolo
      4:38 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      And *they* s’posed to be the OVC!

  9. clancyhat
    2:04 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    Thank you #1. I am wondering if any of these media morons were even paying attention. We were down to our last 2 tackles – does anyone even know who the 5th tackle is ? I don’t. Thank goodness Meadows and Big George didn’t get hurt.
    One more thing – with the fans, media, coaches, and players talking all week about how the 2nd and 3rd string players were going to get lots of playing time this week, is it any wonder we came out flat and EKU came out loaded for bear.

  10. inside info2
    2:08 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    Towels didn’t play any better in the 2nd half, his receivers did. His throws were just as inaccurate as ever, but the receivers actually dove, jumped, and grabbed for the ball.

    Towels thinks he is NFL material and he’s not even SEC material. He needs to stop worrying about his hair and worry about his accuracy and taking so many bad sacks. I just can’t imagine how bad Barker must be if the coaches won’t even give him a look. Hopefully Barker is just still in the doghouse big time due to all his off field issues and it’s not because he is not as good as Towels.

    • Good Grief
      2:18 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      So angry. Lol. Calm down man. 4-1.

    • Danny Mac Boy
      4:46 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      No we are 3-1-1.

    • Good Grief
      5:01 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      No, I’m seeing 4-1.

    • Radmankd
      5:10 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      Totally agree about Towles. Receivers were the stars.
      Concerning Barker, Matt Jones stated on Mizzou post game call-in that Towles is better than Barker.
      The supposed QB competition was exaggerated, and it was not even close.
      Believe it or not.

  11. Negative Nancy UK Fans
    3:21 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    Our silver lining?

    It gives us something to bitch about. We’re not happy unless we are bitching about something.

    • Patrick _Wren
      4:09 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      Preach it sister….

    • Leuther
      4:09 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      Speak for yourself…

  12. Danny Mac Boy
    4:39 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    Boy I so proud of coming back to tie Eastern. What a wussy schedule. I’m so sick of people bragging when UK beats a team that they would have never scheduled in the 60’s or 70’s. UK football coaches are just a bunch of cowards plain and simple. Lafayette, Eastern, Charlotte. Give me a f’ing break. Check out the schedule we used to play in the 60’s and 70’s. Even if we are too scared to schedule big time schools can you please just schedule Army, SMU, Wyoming, Wake Forest, Navy, Temple, Rice, Tulane, etc. At least teams that are bad but have a history of big time football.

  13. Cats
    4:41 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    You all are stupid who sits n here and says your happy with having a scare from EKU just cause we won. We must really be desperate for wins. Cause to me Towles shouldve been benched in this game. Ridiculous how ppl was saying when we lost fla that towles should not be starting. Now all of sudden everyone back on towles.. 4-1 great. but weve been fortunate on a couple of wins already..

    • Good Grief
      5:02 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

      4-1. And you are complaining. I feel sorry for your family and pets.

      I’m going to assume you have no friends…. 🙁

  14. J. K. Rowling
    4:45 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    Harry……….Pot………ter. IT IS TIME. It tis time. To cut YORE HAR.

  15. Corey Johnson
    4:55 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    …………………………..Dammitt !

  16. catfanmike
    9:50 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    There was a noticeable difference in our attitude and energy throughout the game(probably coaches fault) and then the last 8 min. We were having a bit of a hangover from beating a ranked team naturally(we are UK not a top team yet) so yes that can happen to us. We looked damn good in the last 8 min. EKU may have lost yardage from that point on and the offense went nuts(injuries on the O line and all), so that is encouraging…we knew we were capable and proved it. Some of you people get so pissed off and over critical like we have a right. I’ll take what I get right now and that is a 4-1 record in Stoops’ 3rd season. Some of you have no patience for progress…just like Rich Brooks, I believe there will be unexpected problems along the way , but the best is yet to come. That’s for sure!

  17. Ben Dover
    10:42 pm October 4, 2015 Permalink

    Let’s see, 12 men on the field, illegal defensive substitution, illegal block to the back, running the same 5 plays over and over, Towels going back to his “hitch throw” that he cured last week by throwing underthrown moon balls in addition to getting sacked 4 times and never considering throwing the ball away, consistently trying to run up the middle when EKU is stacking the line on every play, consistently missing tackles, having the coaching staff beat them into the ground about not starting retaliation for the Richmond incident, having the biggest offensive line ever averaging 6’5 and 314 and getting beaten on nearly every play, other than that it was a coaching masterpiece!

    • On to the Next
      11:18 pm October 5, 2015 Permalink

      Ben, you saw the same game that I did. A complete 180 from the Mizzou game.