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An Unbelievable Collapse, An Unbelievable Loss

When something appears too good to be true, it usually is.  Kentucky football fans should know this by now.

Drew Barker was 11/19 for 187 yards with four touchdown passes.  The Cats were averaging 10.75 yards per play.  On the other side of the ball, the elite pocket passer many fans feared threw it into the hands of the Kentucky defense three times.  The Cats were cruising, 35-10 as the second half as the clock drew near zero.  Then…


A blown coverage led to a 71 yard touchdown.  It was a sign of terrible things to come.

What Led to UK’s Demise

It started with the blown coverage at the end of the first half.  Marcus McWilson and Mike Edwards weren’t on the same page in the zone defense.  McWilson would replicate the error later in the game to give the Golden Eagles another gift.

The gaffe that many will claim as the epicenter was a dropped interception.  Southern Miss had just scored and the momentum was beginning to shift.  Then Nick Mullens hit Blake McClain right in the numbers, square in the chest, yet McClain couldn’t hold onto the ball.

That missed opportunity hurts, but it’s forgivable.  When they start to stack up, it only gets worse.  Two Kentucky pass interference calls kept a drive alive for Southern Miss that resulted in a touchdown.  A horse collar penalty produced similar results.

Kentucky came close to taking back the momentum a few times.  Garrett Johnson took a screen pass down into the red zone, but a fumble from Drew Barker prevented Kentucky from returning to the rhythm they had in the first half.

The turnover put UK’s defense right back on the field.  That’s where they stayed for most of the second half, cramping while Ito Smith and George Payne ran around and through the defense.  When they finally got off the field, a quick interception from Drew Barker took them off the bench.

Despite their awfulness, Kentucky was still only down six with ten minutes to go.  A touchdown would give them the lead and a reenergized crowd down the stretch.  Boom Williams got it four times in a row.  He got 6 yards on each carry, until the dagger.

Cole Mosier’s holding penalty voided a first down.  The following play Drew Barker was sacked.  As one live blogger so eloquently put it, “There’s nothing quite like shooting yourself in the foot while there’s a knife at your throat.”

The Awfulness of the Second Half by the Numbers

  • In the last seven games, the Cats have given up at least 200 yards on the ground five times.
  • UK’s been outscored 58-0 in the second half of their last two games.
  • In those two games, they’ve blown 46 points worth of leads; 21-0 to UofL, 35-10 tonight.
  • Southern Miss scored 31 unanswered points.
  • UK had only 13 yards of offense in the 3rd quarter on 8 plays, -20 rushing yards.
  • Kentucky had 2 first downs in the second half.  They’re all bad stats, but that one was so pathetic it had to be in bold.
  • Southern Miss outgained UK 295-56.

Special Teams Gaffes

Even though Kentucky built a big lead in the first half, that doesn’t mean they got off to a good start.  In fact, I don’t know that the season could have started worse.

Electing to receive, C.J. Conrad dropped a pass on first down.  Two plays later, UK was three and out.  The first punt of Grant McKinniss’ career was blocked.

After a Southern Miss touchdown, the Cats bounced back.  After putting together a decent drive, Austin MacGinnis lined up for a 40-yard field goal.  The hold was botched.  MacGinnis never had a chance and another opportunity was squandered.  Even though there was life in the return unit, the rest of them have some work to do.

Where was the Run?


Heading into the gam there were many uncertainties, but the only certainty was that Kentucky would be great on the ground.  With two of the best backs in the SEC, an experienced offensive line and a coordinator who earned his job as a running backs coach.  It was a no-brainer.  Any idiot could easily project a fantastic running attack.

Instead, it was more of the same.

Boom Williams averaged 7.2 yards per carry, keeping up with last year’s mark that was one of the best in the NCAA, yet he still only had 13 carries.  UK finished with 130 yards, after only rushing for 20 yards in the second half.

The inability to run the football was in actuality an inability to possess the football.  Southern Miss ran 95 plays compared to UK’s 50.  Struggling to stop the run was going to be tough, but the offense made it impossible for the defense to fight through fatigue.

A Few Bright Spots

It was a great first half, so I can’t write an entire recap without dishing out any praise.  JD Harmon’s interceptions were excellent.

Jordan Jones proved that he’ll be the team’s leading tackler.  A man that plays with a screw loose, he had 19 tackles; the next closest had 10.

Tavin Richardson had a few highlight reel catches.  What will be the first of many, arguably his best catch was one that didn’t count.  A one-handed stretch was completed, but his foot didn’t make it in bounds in time.

I will close by saying, “I can’t believe I made it through this entire post.”

I’ve experienced and covered some of the worst losses you could ever lose, but tonight turned my insides into a knot; a nauseous internal combustion of disappointment.  It’s not that they fell apart just like they did last year, it’s that they showed ZERO mental toughness.  There was no fight.  There was a sense of helplessness that should not happen after you dominated an opponent for 30 minutes.  It shouldn’t happen.

Kentucky football fans endure unending pain.  It will not be long before the pain is too exhausting to continue.  We can’t do this forever, and neither can Mark Stoops.

Article written by Nick Roush

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

50 Comments for An Unbelievable Collapse, An Unbelievable Loss

  1. Lip Man 1
    12:46 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    “An unbelievable collapse…an unbelievable loss.”

    History shows that’s not the case, it happens fairly regularly with UK football.

    Just give it up folks, basketball season is just around the corner. No need to agonize over something that will never change.

  2. truBLU
    12:46 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Barker actually had 287 yds passing at half, not 187

  3. BluKudzu
    12:49 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Fire Barnhart

    • Fairweatherfan1
      12:52 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      fire em all. UK fans have to be sick of the same ol, same old year after year.

  4. Luether
    12:54 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Did we just snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

    • CATandMONKEY
      1:00 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      It is that at which we are best; Our calling card.

    • pithuahua
      9:16 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      You can polish a turd but its still going to stink..

  5. daved and confused
    1:01 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    On its face, this loss isn’t any worse than the WKU 4th down conversion, or many others in recent history. But….

    Miss St loses
    Vandy/USC battle for ineptitude
    UT OT vs App St
    UF struggles against UMass
    Missou…. terrible
    UGa is the best of a bad group

    At 35-10 vs a good Southern Miss, I’m thinking we have a legit shot at an SEC East title. Legit, not likely, but not totally unreasonable. I’m thinking we’ll be ranked somewhere outside of the top-25, but receive votes.

    We give up 34 unanswered. FML. go cats?

    • Wah Wah
      1:23 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      And Kentucky will go on to lose to all of them.

      I’ll be surprised if Kentucky wins 3 games this year.

  6. Kyblue34
    1:01 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    The only bright spot is that my Saturdays are now free!! Not spending anymore time and money on this garbage.

    • Billy Hill
      10:58 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Unfortunately, you’ll still post on here, whining, I bet….. 😔

  7. cayts23
    1:09 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Rather than picking out what the players did in what led to UK’s demise how about you mention lack of adjustments, lack of focus on the offense, and terrible offensive play calling in the 3rd quarter. This loss is on the coaches your defense can only stay out on the field for so long until they break. And speaking about the players how is that our SEC o-line got blown away by these smaller defensive linemen.

    1:10 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    On the positive side of things, UK football normally goes about 5 games into the season, tricking us into believing a post season bowl is right around the corner, before it totally collapses. This season it came after one half, saving us lots of time and money…I came so close to pulling the trigger and buying tickets for tonight’s game!! Personally, I will not be wasting any time/money on UK football this year…and I am sure CWS attendance stats for the rest of this year will show that I am not the only one. I hear the Women’s Volleyball team is going to be good…Go VB Cats

  9. Wah Wah
    1:25 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Look up Futility in the Dictionary. All it says is SEE KENTUCKY FOOTBALL

  10. shelby
    1:32 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Our defense has stunk since stoops got here–we have never been able to stop a run game and certainly not a running QB; our OL has not improved at all in 3 yrs–Pat never had time to throw all last year and now barker is dodging defensive lineman; our running backs rarely have holes to run through. The question is: WHY THE HELL DO DJ ELLIOTT AND JOHN SCHLARMAN STILL HAVE JOBS?? I said last year that Dawson was NOT the problem; he ran the plays our pathetic offensive line had any chance of pulling off–there was not many options.

  11. runningunnin.454
    1:34 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    I have never seen so much negativity…and the UL trolls are out….Matt is a real downer on the radio….
    and now some guy threw a beer through his TV screen.
    It’s a game, folks……grow up.
    Time to go to bed.

  12. j4stone
    1:45 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    drop the football program all together and join the big east in basketball. seriously, this football program is a joke. we will NEVER have a consistently competitive football program.

  13. UK Maine-iac
    2:17 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    No one should be surprised. This is Kentucky football. Making bowl games and having decent seasons are the flukes, not blowing leads and disappointing the fan base.

  14. UKfanman01
    2:31 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Mark Stoops makes 3.4 million a year to lose… He has had 37 games as a head coach and won 12. Hey Mitch Barnhart I’m available for hire. I’ll produce the same results and I’ll take 1.7 million a year. At least Shannon Dawson, Patrick Towles, and Reese Phillips are laughing

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:29 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      He’s only the 11th highest paid coach in the SEC, though.

      What do you think UK has to attract good coaches to come here?

  15. BiasedBigfoot
    2:37 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    The only way to be positive now is to intentionally choose to. It won’t come easy (or logically). We, as UK football fans, should have a hardened shell of tolerance for these painfull occasions. We need the ability to enjoy every ounce of good in a whole mess of bad. I won’t let yet another valley ruin every peak we’ll experience in this and other seasons. The UK players, coaches, and staff are all trying to be successful. Let’s enjoy all aspects of that journey. It’s the only way to get through this. Yet…maybe I don’t even have a choice in the matter. As many fans have realized, we’re STILL watching our team. We just bleed blue. Let’s not be ashamed of our bloodline. C-A-T-S CATS! CATS!! CATS!!!

  16. BluKudzu
    6:19 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    While watching EKU, and Matty Mauk, (ex Mizzou QB) play long time cellar dweller Purdue, Saturday, I found it odd, that a team getting pummeled by the worst ever in the Big10, was able to come to CWS, and damn near beat us.
    I know last year means nothing to this year. I get that. But what we need to understand; UK football is about on the same caliber as the OVC.
    Get ready for a humiliating season, folks.
    If you really think it takes another 10 years to build a program that had been decimated by a former coach, please take a look at the University of Houston.
    Bite my ass Billy Hill and UK Big Board Update. You and those like you need to shut it down. You looked like dumbasses before, now it is proven. Morons.

    • DelrayCat
      7:12 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      I agree completely. You see it all the time…teams with inferior “talent” win big games or at least be consistently competitive. The key is in the coaching and being able to coach up the talent you have. This staff has proven incapable of coaching up its talent. Furthermore, the vaunted recruiting prowess of Mark Stoops has been trumpeted as being at a caliber never before seen at UK, yet the results on the field would show otherwise. The writing is on the wall folks and we as fans of this program are going to be forced to suffer through 23 more meaningless games before this inept staff is shown the door (because of the huge buyout). December of 2017 can’t come soon enough in my mind.

    • cats paw
      7:36 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      write this down as another cats paw exclusive….at some point this year UK will win a game they shouldnt or come close to beating a good team. at that point the homer cheerleaders will start swallowing the kool aid by the gallon again and say they see improvement and he just needs more time!!! thus the tradition continues…..

    • Bro Ken Leggage
      7:54 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Best quotes ever in the history of KSR comments:

      “Bite my ass Billy Hill and UK Big Board Update”.

      “You looked like dumbasses before, now it is proven”.


    • Billy Hill
      11:02 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Congrats on your win, BluKudzu. You must be proud.

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:12 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Awwww, the trolls and negative nancies that dwell on here don’t like me? My feelings are super hurt, bro….

      Bro Ken: How many more times are you going to change your handle on here, bro?

  17. inside info2
    7:35 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Mark Stoops is trending on Facebook. At least we have that going for us?

  18. Bro Ken Leggage
    7:47 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Same lame shit……….new & longer than ever season.

  19. Billy Hill
    8:06 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Remember folks…Joker Phillips has more wins in his 3 years at UK than Stoops has into his 4th year. Maybe another contract extension is in order.

    • mcp157
      1:52 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      But Joker followed Rich Brooks who had UK pointed in a much better direction that what Stoops took over from Joker. That being said I do not feel Stoops is the answer, IF there is one. The only way UK can escape the abyss is to hire someone truly dynamic. Who that is ??????????

  20. jsgolfman
    8:41 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    I feel bad for these players. Coach should have apologized to them, not the fans last night. They work their butts off and leave it all on the field, but they were done a disservice by the coaching staff. I will still watch every game and cheer even louder to drown out the misanthropes showering these players with vitriol. I bleed blue and that will never change.

    • cats paw
      9:38 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      and being an ENABLER is the very reason that this program continues to face the issues and criticism it faces.

    • Billy Hill
      11:02 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      ^^ HEY! THERE YOU ARE!!!

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:16 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Of course cats paw shows up, after the loss! Didn’t see that coming!!

    • jsgolfman
      12:50 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      cats, don’t think for a second my lenience applies to staff or mgmt, it doesn’t. My comments about their performance goes directly to them, not an open forum.

  21. helixvortexv2
    9:32 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Last night Dawson took on Eastern’s playbook from last year in the second half. Slants and draws till we puke. Eastern did it and it worked why not Southern Miss. Well that is making adjustments folks and Stoops did not make any to fix it in the third quarter. Why did they not pull Barker and put in Johnson to get him running and their defense chasing him a bit. I know barker was the first half but we needed to give the defense a break and Barker couldn’t provide that rest. Predictions: fans start to not show up and by the end of the season stadium has Joker type numbers in the stands. Decisions have to be made, I would like to consider a guy like Brohm at Western.

  22. tmcclan16
    9:39 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    OMG basketball season cant get here quick enough. Same crap we have been watching for the past 10+ years. Great recruiting means nothing if you cant coach it! Embarrassing, disgusting, and flat out pathetic! Im a fan and will always be one but really its unbearable to watch.

  23. Howdy Doody
    9:40 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    So glad I saved myself $10,000 …….TOLD YOU SO.
    FIRE that idiot NOW and I will renew my 10 seats today.
    Otherwise I’ll be joined by a lot of the fans and will be staying home to watch horrible football.
    3 game max wins.

  24. gcat4496
    9:47 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Yes, these stats are almost surreal. Just think what Lamar Jackson will do to this defense. I can’t wait until Tuscaloosa. I’m thinking north of 70 points in both these games.

  25. FunkyMonkey
    9:52 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Dawson kicked Stoops butt, embarrassed him. There is one one variable left now in the consistent horrible defeats in the Stoops era and it is Coach Stoops himself. I just woke up and I’m still sick to my stomach. What a nightmare.

  26. Cat68
    9:56 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Does UofL’s scoreboard have a third digit?

  27. Patches
    10:14 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    When are the football minds gonna see the truth. Ohio State rejects have contributed nothing to the UK program. Can anyone name a single recruit from Ohio that has done anything for this team? Forget how Stoops has done such a great job of recruiting when s team full of unranked players can come to our field and bitch slap us the whole second half. Stoops is the problem and till anyone sees that this will continue to happen. No player development, poor coaching and pathetic play calling, no wonder so many players have deserted this team to go elsewhere. Wow did not think we could do worse than Joker but we certainly have reached that level.

  28. sincitycat
    10:33 am September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Cat68: Thanks for doing something I didn’t think possible: Making me laugh this morning.