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Four silver linings in Kentucky’s 31st consecutive loss to Florida

It’s been beaten to a dead horse, but last night’s loss was one of the most heartbreaking moments in the history of UK athletics.

After holding a 27-14 lead in the fourth quarter, many fans felt a field-storming was inevitable.

And then it wasn’t.

As easy as it is to dwell on the negatives, a lot of good (surprisingly) came from the devastating loss.

Here are five silver linings to focus on going forward:

Stephen Johnson

Kentucky’s QB1 had one of the most impressive games of his career, putting the Wildcats in position to win throughout.

He finished the day 17/25 passing, 196 yards, three touchdowns, and zero turnovers. With Florida’s inability to defend the run, many thought this would be a heavy Benny Snell outing. Instead, we saw Johnson make throws all over the field and find unbelievable confidence in his arm.

Again, we’re talking about one of the best secondaries in the nation, and the senior quarterback carved them up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

When you watch the highlights of his three touchdown throws, especially the balls to Blake Bone and Juice Johnson, only an elite quarterback could put the balls where he did and put points on the board. Stephen Johnson is just that.

Johnson got demolished on a late hit, a play that drew an ejection for Gator linebacker Vosean Joseph. Most quarterbacks, especially scrawnier guys like Johnson, would sit out a few plays and possibly the remainder of the game.

Instead, Johnson came back on the following play and did his best to lead his team to victory, banged up and all.

Kentucky fans need to embrace his final nine games as a Wildcat, because Stephen Johnson is a special talent and a special leader.

Siheim King

We all know what Benny Snell can do, but we’ve been waiting for the emergence of another running back to carry a heavy load.

Last night, Siheim King became that guy.

King maintained five rushes for 64 yards, with a long of 30, showing off ridiculous shiftiness and finding success in even the smallest of gaps opened up by the offensive line.

What was most impressive, though, was the junior back’s patience in the backfield. To start his career at Kentucky, one of the biggest knocks on his game has been his tendency to rush things and force plays that just weren’t there. Yesterday, we saw an extremely mature back make mature runs.

Every time King touched the ball, he made something impressive happen with it. For a guy that was the subject of transfer rumors throughout the offseason, we’re lucky to have him contribute the way he is.

Charles Moushey

Special. Teams. King.

Early in the game, Moushey made this crushing hit on special teams:

Later in the game, Matt Panton punted a ball to the one-yard line, immediately downed in the air by Moushey.

Two impressive plays on special teams that put the Kentucky defense in great field position to make a stop.

And he’s not just a one-game wonder. The walk-on has balled out every game this year, including this hit against EKU:

For a team with a recent history of struggling on special teams, junior walk-on receiver Charles Moushey has been an absolute stud.

Lynn Bowden

Out of the Wildcat at the start of the game, Bowden dropped back on a Randall Cobb-esque pass. When the Florida secondary closed in on the UK receivers, Bowden fake out two defenders, cut back across field, and found an open lane.

He was tripped up and stopped just short of the first down marker, but the elusiveness in the open field was everything we hoped for out of the freshman stud, and more.

Later in the game, Bowden received the ball on a double-reverse and tossed a 24-yard completion to Siheim King on the outside. We knew he was a quarterback in high school, and throws like that are certainly not out of his range, but to see it in action was a thing of beauty. It didn’t feel forced; it was a tight spiral with an easy opportunity for King to pull in the reception.

His stat-line of 1/1 passing for 24 yards, along with two rushes for 13 yards don’t jump off the page at you, but what he has done in extremely limited action has been beyond impressive.

We all expected Bowden to have a breakout game sooner or later, but I don’t know if fans realize just how good this kid is going to be.

As hard as it is to think of the positives, Kentucky had several in their loss to the Gators.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

18 Comments for Four silver linings in Kentucky’s 31st consecutive loss to Florida

  1. luke_emberton
    4:19 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

    that’s great I knew all of those guys were good it doesn’t matter tho we lost and 8-4 isn’t a special season unless you beat Florida which didn’t happen

    • callitlikeiseeit
      5:11 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

      This team can be, and I think will be 9-3. Could even be 10-2 as I don’t think we can beat UGA at UGA. This team is good if they don’t let this UF game cost them the season. Keep working guys and make this a special season, one game does not make a season unless it is the National Title game. C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS

    • ukkatzfan
      11:56 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink


  2. terwilliger
    4:28 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

    Also, we already know how special Steven Johnson is. We’ve known that since last season. Rather than making us feel good, that fact only rubs salt in the wound because the ball was taken out of his hands by the coaches.

  3. classof68
    4:49 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

    If every player carried out his assignment like Mousey, this team could go very far. Maybe they ought to make him the OC.

  4. kentuckybackupplayer
    4:52 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink


  5. Reuben Cuban
    4:54 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

    Jack: I appreciate the article.

    But, it still sreams, “MORAL FOKKIN’ VICTORY”.

    As LONG SUFFERING KENTUCKY FOOTBALL FANS, we had a shot at turning the corner.



    ASSES HANDED 2 US again.

    By the shark poker.

  6. VolsSuck
    5:01 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

    Another positive was the confirmation that Charles Walker will win the Heisman thus year. What a game for Chuck

    • Reuben Cuban
      5:36 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

      VOLS VUH. JINE ease.

  7. KYcats11
    5:07 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

    That was a crazy atmosphere last night, all the fans poured their hearts into this team only to end up dissapointed. I do have to say though, those pom poms created a really cool effect/atmosphere. To take the next step in stadium atmosphere, I feel like we need to have a trademark tradition we do every CATURDAY. Like south Carolina does the towels and miss st does them annoying bells. I don’t know if we necessarily do pom poms (though, I wouldn’t mind if we did) but we need something. GET IT DONE STOOPS.

    • TBW3011
      6:00 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

      We have a tradition already. We lose to Florida every single year. A tradition unlike any other.

    • KYcats11
      6:16 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

      Way to pour salt in my wounds buddy…

  8. Catlogic15
    5:28 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

    All the positives undone by boneheaded coaching. They should be ashamed.

    5:30 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

    They didn’t let Johnson do what he does the whole second half, they barely used king, bowden was undercut, and Conrad was not targeted near enough. Every time he catches the ball, great things happen. Use those four players properly, we win by 20

      5:31 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

      Underutilized not undercut

    • KTR2786
      8:26 am September 25, 2017 Permalink

      4/4. Agreed.

    • bigbluedan9
      10:09 am September 25, 2017 Permalink

      I hate to be negative about the Cats but RICKSVD nailed it. I just can’t believe Gran couldn’t recognize that Snell was getting eaten up and King was crushing it. Give the rock to King and let him work, he was clearly more effective. Same for Johnson. We are clearly not the power run powerhouse we were last year. Let Johnson hit some short/medium length throws to Conrad. Could have added a few more zone read runs for SJ to as he was fairly effective with those with the exception of one play when he held it and got smacked.

      No excuse to continue to try and run the wildcat up the gut with Benny every play when we have a lead. We have a capable QB and all the pieces around him.

  10. KTR2786
    8:27 am September 25, 2017 Permalink

    Even after this brutal loss, I am not nearly as check out as I normally would be. That’s a testament to just how good this team has become all around.