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Cats Can’t Overcome First Half Dud to Defeat Auburn

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I’ve spent a lot of time around Freddie Maggard lately.  I kind soul, he’s never one to get flustered.  Not only was he flustered at halftime, he was flat out angry.

Kentucky’s first half was abysmal.  The offense had a 60-yard run from Boom Williams to setup a score to tie the game at 7-7, but that was only an apparition.  Boom only carried it one more time until the second half.  Towles wasn’t terrible, but made an unforgivable red zone mistake.  The defense looked like they hadn’t prepared for an uptempo offense over the last 10 days, making haphazard substitutions with players getting in place seconds before the snap, allowing a bad Auburn offense to move the ball effortlessly.

With 2:00 minutes to go, we thought the half would at least end with the Cats down 10, with the a chance to close the gap and get the ball back to start the second half.  Instead, the offense fell to pieces and gave the ball back to Auburn.  Auburn got a field goal on that final drive, giving them the 3-points needed to get the win.

As bad as the first half was, the Cats had their moments in the second.  Kentucky immediately moved the ball effectively, taking the ball 75 yards in 3:11 for a fantastic Boom Williams’ touchdown.  The defense forced a 3-and-out, and the Wildcats were back in business.  But then, they began missing opportunities.

Kentucky could have used the early momentum to take a one or two-score lead, instead they dropped passes, committed crucial penalties, keeping them behind until the very end.  The defense made the stop they had the make, opening the door for Juice Johnson to make another gutsy catch.  They made the questionable move to run the ball, before going deep to Jeff Badet.  He fought for the ball with the defensive back, right around where Stevie Got Loose.  Just like Stevie, the ball got loose and he couldn’t hang on.  On the final play, Towles was sacked when Auburn brought the house against Kentucky’s 5-wide receiver look.

The last drive had good moments, and some head-scratchers, just like the entire game.

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Missed Juice on an End Zone Interception

The offense had the game looking like it was going to turn into a shoot-out.  After Auburn scored quickly for the second time, Kentucky came charging back thanks to a couple of amazing catches by Juice Johnson.  His one-handed catch will rival the best of the best from this season.  Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to a score.  Pat had two guys running slants into the end zone.  Instead of going to the hot hand, he forced it to his go-to guy Dorian Baker.

I’m always ready to defend Pat, but even he cannot defend this decision.

It was the first time the Cats failed to convert in the Red Zone all season, leaving vital points off the scoreboard. 

Missed Touchdown to Take the Lead

The lead was there for Kentucky to take halfway through the 3rd quarter.  Feeling froggy, the Cats went quick on the snap, narrowly getting the first down on a 4th and short.  The next conversion came on a 3rd and long scramble from Patrick Towles.  It wasn’t pretty, but they were getting the job done.  C.J. Conrad made a play that caused Commonwealth to go WILD, carrying three Tigers four yards or more on his back to turn an average play into a first down. After another good play, there was a flag for illegal substitution.  Conrad made another nice play, but on 3rd down, Dorian Baker couldn’t make the same tough catch he made to beat EKU.  Instead of blowing the roof off the stadium by taking the lead, they only hung in there, the story of this game.

A Missed PI in the End Zone

There are some bad calls, and then there are some bad calls that cost you points.  Just like the previous drive I spoke of, it started ugly before gaining promise.  Backed into their own end zone on 3rd and 22, Patrick Towles dropped a dime to Juice for a gain of 39.  The drive catalyst had Kentucky moving smoothly into the red zone.

On what could have been a score, the ref decided otherwise.  I hate blaming refs, but it took four points off the board.  Mark Stoops let the refs know he was displeased.

Special Teams gave them Free Yards

Auburn rarely started a drive inside their own 30-yard line.  Austin MacGinnis’ injury limited him to field goal duty, leaving kickoffs to Miles Butler.  Auburn’s returners were never uncomfortable, totaling 155 yards on returns.  Landon Foster is another perplexing story.  I don’t know what has happened, but he only averaged 35 yards a kick.  To be fair, he saved the best for last, coincidentally leading to a defensive stop.

Juice Johnson was Incredible

Everybody had ups and downs, except for Juice.  The man made big play after big play after big play in between the safeties.  After big hits across the middle of the field took him out of the EKU game, he did not hesitate to take a lick from the safety for his first reception.  From then on, he didn’t slow down.  Juice had a career-high 9 catches for 160 yards, the most receiving yards by a Wildcat since Chris Matthews pulled in 177 in 2010.

And yes, he somehow caught this.

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Kentucky football has become the same story, just a different day.  They make highlights, then head scratchers.  One-handed catches are great, but only having 8-men on the field for the game’s final punt return are embarrassing enough to balances out the awesomeness.

What we’re left with: 2:12 with the ball on the UK 15.  3 points to overtime, 7 for the win.  There was a great play or two, but it wasn’t a great drive.  Kentucky lacks completeness.

One day, the gun Kentucky is using to shoot themselves in the foot will finally run out of ammo.

Article written by Nick Roush

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

55 Comments for Cats Can’t Overcome First Half Dud to Defeat Auburn



  1. If
    12:16 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF THIS IF THAT. that’s what you’ll hear all day tomorrow on ksr and leach report



    • theWilkman
      10:11 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      Then don’t listen, jackass



  2. The Truth
    12:17 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    We can all talk about the what-ifs and missed opportunities. However, I feel like there is one huge glaring weakness on this team…Defensive Line. They are simply not good enough to get UK over the hump. I also think Matt Elam is perhaps the most overrated player I can ever remember to come out of Kentucky. When Big Melvin went down and Elam came in, he was absolutely terrible. Honestly,with UK’s front four, we get absolutely ZERO pressure on ANY quarterbacks we play. This will continue to be UK Achilles heel until Stoops can actually recruit some SEC caliber guys there. Every other group we got some players, but the D-line is an absolute abysmal joke.



    • Confuscious
      6:17 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      What, exactly, is an SEC caliber player? How is that different than, say, a Big10 caliber player? Since Ohio State won the National Championship and is still #1, wouldn’t you want a Big10 caliber player?



    • theWilkman
      10:14 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      You mean the D line that held them to only 7 in the second half? We definitely got handled in the first, but adjustments were made and in the second half the defense was lights out. They made stops in the 4th quarter to put us in the position to win. As questionable as the clock management was, the halftime adjustments were easily the best we’ve seen from this coaching staff yet.



  3. Nuclearcontamination
    12:19 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    They finally took Cody Quinn out in the second half…..he got burnt so many times they still hitting him with the extinguisher. The kicking game is scraping the bottom.



    • fatbrat
      12:29 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      The backup kicker is not SEC level. I see high school kickers driving the kickoffs out of the end zone every Friday night. Foster has truly lost his ability but the backup is even worse.



    • pithuahua
      12:36 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      I can’t understand why Quinn starts over Harmon. Quinn is not a good tackler or a cover guy. Must have a good personality.



  4. leon singleton
    12:19 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Kentucky looked like the Keystone Cops tonight.



  5. Old Coach John
    12:20 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    UK coaches (Head Coach – Defensive Coordinator – Offensive Coordinator) make too many mistakes and get ‘out-coached’ in nearly every game. Too bad. Sorry BBN.
    How do you have a bye week and yet your defense is so poorly prepared? DJ Eliot is a joke, and yes, he has a supporting cast around him. NOTE TO DJ, you can;t win games giving up 30+ a game, and I thought you had learned that last year.
    What good is talent if you can’t utilize it, or coach it, or prepare and motivate it to play to game and win?
    Tired of hearing our coaches admit they were ‘out-coached’ and made bad calls. Coaches having to take the blame game after game after game says something about the coaches.



    • Retired Coach
      8:32 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      I totally agree with this sentiment. These coaches seem angry, bitter, and “my way or the highway” at ALL times. Those times have changed where you can coach like that. You can have discipline, rip a kids backside, and still be positive with them and build a relationship. I think there’s a disconnect somewhere. How many times do they start a game or half totally not ready to play?? That’s 85% coaching in my opinion…whatever your message is in the locker room, these kids seem to get flattened and shut down. Try a new approach.

      And quit throwing kids under the bus in the press too.



  6. Brent
    12:20 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    As disappointing as the loss was, I don’t really think it’s fair to even mention the possible PI in the end zone. I just don’t see a penalty on the play. The only possible way is if 18 grabbed Baker on the jump, and you can’t see it from that angle. But even if he did, you’re looking at Baker needing to completely turn around and take 5 extra steps to get the ball. Even if you’re arguing that the contact from the jump knocked Baker off balance, you’re disregarding the fact that the defender has equal right to the ball. 18 clearly was going for it, but the throw wasn’t close and it definitely wasn’t catchable. There was a little contact when both turned for the ball, but that was if anything initiated by Baker.



  7. Jason
    12:22 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    You should consider reading your work prior to hitting the FINISH BUTTON. I hope Matt doesn’t head off to DC. The folks at the station during the marathon show were hard to listen to.



  8. Bluebros
    12:29 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Same ol… Brooks, Joker, Stoops… They’ll win a couple of games but never take it to the next level. I’m tired of the marketing, “This is the year!!” Bullshit. Same ol same ol Kentucky. Maybe we’ll make it to the music bowl this year. Whoop Whoop!! Who cares. The QB blows and our D is soft as pudding nothing new… I’m tired of buying into the hype every year. UK should have moved to the ACC when they had the chance. We will NEVER compete for the SEC title. If you disagree, pass the pipe! Thank God for basketball… I’m tuning out football once again and ready to roll with Cal… UK football just sucks!



    • Ohio State
      12:42 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      You should just root for us, or whoever is number 1.



    • Big Lar
      9:16 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      Wow u r a scumbag. Thanks for not watching us anymore. Yea it sucks we lost but auburn played better than they have so give them so credit. Give the cats some credit too. They fought hard. UK football doesn’t need a fan like u, losing that game isn’t the end of the season. The problem is u cant recognize that we are getting better bc u probably never played football and don’t understand the game. Thank you for giving up on us. We don’t need u



  9. Courtney Hessler
    12:31 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    This team is like pulled pork cheese fries, without pulled pork and cheese



  10. Nate
    12:34 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    I seen the game, the highlight for me was meeting Ryan Lemond in the concession line gave him a good that a boy on the back. Bad play calling, bad quarterback play, and some bad zebras cost us a win.



    • barney howard
      8:46 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      I love uk fans,cant win because refs.cant win because you suck



    • Booby Petrino
      10:03 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      barney I’m pretty sure our record is better than your teams…dirty birds.



  11. Elmer Skaggs
    12:45 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Karma mullets



    • Ha!
      12:51 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      #L1CWHORE, bitch. 😉



  12. Markstoopsex
    12:50 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Coaches are clueless. Embarrassing game management



    • Hilarious
      12:51 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      Still trolling….



  13. WOW
    12:50 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    OMG, a stanford player just caught a touchdown while the defensive safety was in a bear hug. One handed catches are nice, but a blind TD catch when the defensive player is riding you like a drunk stripper….that’s amazing.



  14. WeareBBN
    12:53 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    “They make highlights, then head scratchers. One-handed catches are great, but only having 8-men on the field for the game’s final punt return are embarrassing enough to balances out the awesomeness.”
    Is called YOUTH and inexperience. Both the players and staff have it. But we have great young talent that is learning on the fly in the SEC and is 2 plays from being highly ranked and undefeated. I will take this over the previous several years where 2 plays into the game you knew it was over as we were down 7-0 and just hoped to lose by less than 30.



  15. Catsornothing
    12:56 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Poops poops it away again



  16. Scott Smith
    1:02 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    As frustrated as I am and tired of inconsistent play from the QB position as well as others, this is the most all around talented team I have seen us have but were young. The defense has actually played very well this year. They have stepped up and allowed us chances to win games. We would have normally been blown out a few times by now. The coaching and play calling needs to get a little better as well as balls thrown behind receivers. I know we have always talked about next year but I do believe we are moving in the right direction. Yes, the SEC is brutal. GO CATS. CAT FAN in Baton Rouge (where it’s tough to be during Football season)



    • Bluebros
      1:12 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      I respect your optimism…



  17. Bluebros
    1:09 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    100 Million plus investment in the UK football program should be showing greater returns. Argue all you want but the administration has gone all in in with this football team and coaching staff. In return, we have seen a poor product on the field. Bummer… I expected more from the Stoops staff. I can deal with losing a close game but there were so many errors in the 4th quarter. How much more time do you need to prepare for a weak Auburn team?! Their freshman QB destroyed our D. The life of a UK football fan… “Next year we’re gonna be awesome!!” But we suck again



    • Brian
      1:16 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      You’re right – there no reason why we shouldn’t be competing for the SEC title right now, and making a strong push for the Bowl Playoffs. Its already year three.



    • Catsornothing
      1:21 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      ^ Troll



    • Troll Slayer
      1:26 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      ^ Troll



    • j4
      6:11 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      good post and absolutely right on



  18. Dennis Smith
    1:30 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    This team was disappointing tonight only because the media has made the fans think they are better than they are. But for sure Stoops has made steady improvements every year. Yes they beat themselves again, but isn’t that a characteristic of bottom feeder climbing out of the hole? They looked like a legitimate SEC team for much of the game.



  19. Todd Clay
    1:52 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Dropped passes was our biggest problem tonight, plain and simple. Other than the last play of the game for UK, which was stupid in my opinion. Patrick played a great game. He can’t catch the ball too people. Patrick put the ball in the right places and our players couldn’t catch it, plain and simple. We got out coached tonight too. I’m sorry if those at KSR disagree, but I played football my hole life, my uncle was a coach. I’m a Stoops fan, but Stoops and his staff got out coached. We looked like a little league team having 8 players on the field during a punt because our coaches didn’t have a clue if Auburn was punting or not. They should have been ready either way. Fans we need to get a reality check here. I bleed blue, I love UK in all sports, but we need to come to grips this team isn’t as good as media members, I love KSR and all of you but your included in this too, they lead us to believe like they did before the Florida game, and before this game. We are a year away from being a good team. We need to come to accept that fact and stop letting the media lead us to believe before games we can’t win just yet. All it does is lead to dishearten fans who turn their back on the football team.



  20. Tailgate34
    3:40 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    I love Stoops but I think he made a mistake hiring Dawson. He just seems to be in over his head. our two minute offense is abysmal. Letting way to much time slip off the clock between plays. I can certainly see improvement in this team but drops and bad play calling are killing us. Towles accuracy has gotten marginally better but his decision making is to often just flat out bad. I truly understand that the coaches can’t turn this team around overnight but to many of our mistakes are blown fundamentals.



  21. Hack
    5:36 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Has Stoops heard of this guy? : http://www.hudl.com/athlete/2830660/tyler-pack



  22. Hal Lou Shunation
    5:38 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    UK football is that 3 legged donkey Derby entry named SSDD.

    Recently born again suckers invest time and hope on the genetic un-wonder.

    In the end, the different animal is not even accepted by the glue factory (or European McDonalds) and ultimately returns to dust.



  23. j4
    6:06 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    I knew they would lose this game after the first drive of the game. How many times can this team give up big 3rd downs? Face it, this is another 5 win season, 6 at best. They will lose to MSU, UT, UGA for sure. I’m not real confident about winning at Vandy because after a 4 game losing streak, their confidence will be extremely low. Charleston should be a sure win, and they will lose to UofL. Good recruits that are committed, will look somewhere else and we will all say “wait until next year” once again. Same old UK football. I’ve always thought they should be in the OVC for football because that’s about as good as they can do; maybe the MAC. But face it, UK football will never be anything special. They will have a good year here and there, like Alabama basketball, but football will never be relevant at UK. Call me all of the names you want, but all of you who have watched UK football for the past 40 years or so like me know it’s true. Stoops will be gone soon because he will realize that this is about as good as it can get at UK.



  24. Relief
    6:20 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    DONT WORRY! BASKETBALL SEASON IS UPON US!



  25. Doug
    6:46 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    I have been watching Kentucky football for 40 years. Same thing every year. I’m done. I’m tired of being optimistic and watching bad football. “Big game” Baker drops another pass in the end zone. Towles throws a pick in the end zone. Our defense is made of swiss cheese. We’ll be 6-6 by the time it’s said and done. Lame effort by all….



  26. Relief
    6:58 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Oh good, Basketball season!!! Same old excuses for bad fans. Let’s roll off another undefeated season and choke in the tourney. That’s much better. Dipshits.



  27. naynay
    7:25 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Cody Quinn should be known as burnt toast. In the first half he was involved on almost every pass that #5 caught. It was his blown coverage that allowed the AU receiver to make the wide open catch in the end zone.It was after he was removed that the secondary started playing much better in the 2nd half.



  28. Blame Stoops not Towles
    7:38 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Slam Stoops, not Towles, Nick. Stoops QB is sitting on the sideline. He is staying in games using Joker’s QB. Boom Williams burns it up, then isn’t given the ball again. Towles puts the ball in players hands, but Stoops receivers miss passes. How many games does #2 get to drop a pass in the end zone? Only great thing was Stoops didn’t get $40,000 last night for an SEC victory that is in his contract. That shows his love for UK. Keep filling Commonwealth. The 100 year story of UK football, almost won. UK basketball loses and fans go nuts. UK football comes close and UK fans take it as a victory. Blame Stoops, not Towles.



  29. ALL HYPE
    7:42 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Remember when the recruiting pitch to Drew Barker, was about early playing time?



  30. Rob
    7:49 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    I’ve been a die hard fan for 40 years. During that time, UK has had 13 winning seasons. That’s 32%. I just don’t think I can do it anymore. It’s putting a strain on my home life and I’m miserable. One thing I’ve learned is that Ky football just isn’t something to put much hope in. I’ll leave it to the youth to pursue and I’ll try to find something else to do that’s worthwhile before I’m to old to do anything. Just no joy in taking a whooping week in and week out, year after year. I foresee another 5-6 season.



    • Booby Petrino
      10:07 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      nice try, troll. We’re going 7-5 and will finish off regular season w a win over your birds.



  31. barney howard
    8:57 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    YUK will barely win 5 games this year.Stoops will be gone shortly because money wont be spent on football



    • Booby Petrino
      10:07 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      the trolls post more than UK fans. We’re getting at least 3 more wins…Vandy, Charlotte, and your dirty birds. 7-5.



  32. Same ol'
    9:14 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    Young team….
    Need more time to turn it around…
    Better than (Joker, Curry, Morris, take your pick)…
    All these things are true.
    Also true:
    Although this staff recruits well, their coaching is consistently sub-par. How many silly penalties for illegal substitutions are we going to see? 8 men on the field for a punt? Running the ball up the middle with less than a minute left and no timeouts? Consistently kicking the ball to the other teams best return man because your kicker can’t reach the end zone and your punter can’t kick in the other direction (or kick it farther than 35 yards apparently)? Defensive backs playing ten yards off of receivers so that they’re so wide open it makes a Red Shirt Freshman QB look like an All American? Players that can’t tackle said QB when they have a straight shot at him in the backfield? Bad clock management at the end of the half/game? And said clock management at the end of the half lets the other team kick the field goal that ultimately is the final margin? Your best running back goes wild in the first quarter then is basically forgotten about?

    Also true:
    Patrick Towles most consistent attribute is his inconsistency. He looks good for a while then makes a poor throw or a bad decision at the worst possible time. This pattern continues even though he is now a Junior with 4 years in the program.
    Dorian Baker makes the occasional circus catch then drops wide open passes in the end zone. Then laughs about it.
    The tight ends make plays just about every time they are given the chance. Which is seldom.
    The Quinn kid couldn’t cover my niece.
    Matt Elam, so far, is a bust.

    Kentucky’s facilities, once a laughingstock, are now top of the line. And once the new practice facility is finished will be among the best in the nation. The administration and the fans are indeed “all in” for the football program.

    If only the coaches and players were.



  33. Big Lar
    9:20 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

    F everyone on here for doubting us. We don’t need any of u Go be basketball fans



    • Booby Petrino
      10:08 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      they’re louisville fans. trollin strong bc their team sucks.



    • Jimbob Bautista
      10:32 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      The doubters are a combination of trolls and hothead UK fans. Reasonable UK fans can see the following things:

      1. Stoops and Company have completely changed the dynamics of the football program
      2. We’re losing because of youth and inexperience, not because of a talent gap
      3. It takes years to become consistent winners in football, and the future is very bright for UK



    • Dude
      11:51 am October 16, 2015 Permalink

      ^ Nailed it.

      Let the trolls have their “fun” (remember UofL, Auburn smashed you in the first half, threw 3 INT’s, let you come back, and you still lost) and the bandwagoneers (not the 62,000 loud fans at the stadium) jump off and stay off. I like where this program is headed.