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Gators Ground and Pound the Cats

Son of one of Stoops’ former colleagues, Vernon Hargreaves III took a well thrown pass into his own hands in the Gator end zone. (h/t

Son of one of Stoops' former colleagues, Vernon Hargreaves III took a well thrown pass into his own hands in the Gator end zone. (h/t

Son of one of Stoops’ former colleagues, Vernon Hargreaves III took a well thrown pass into his own hands in the Gator end zone. (h/t

For 2 quarters the #BBN had high hopes for a Florida upset. The next two quarters weren’t so pretty. Matt Jones (of all the names) ate away at the Kentucky defense bit by bit on his way to recording 176 yards on the ground- 3 more total yards than the Kentucky offense. Jones joined Cat-killer Trey Burton in aiding first-time starter Tyler Murphy- a guy that did NOT look like a first time starter. Florida’s ‘Big Three’ by no means had an easy time putting away Kentucky. After allowing Florida to march down the field on their first drive, the Cats immediately responded with a scoring drive of their own that featured a Jalen Whitlow that didn’t come out rattled. What would’ve been a 42 yard field goal, turned into a Sportscenter Top Ten Play with Joe Mansour scurrying 25 yards on a fake field goal for the score.


The fake pumped some electricity into the Commonwealth Stadium atmosphere, fueling a frenzy that carried onto the field. After 1 quarter the score was tied 7-7. However Florida’s offense wore down the Wildcat defense with relentless running up the middle. The game looked eerily similar to the Louisville game, except their running backs were bigger and their Quarterback played better. Without an offense that could consistently stay on the field (good luck finding points), the defense got gassed out of the game. How bad was it? Florida had the ball 17 minutes longer than UK. Neal Brown’s job is looking more difficult than ever before, but at least he’s willing to get creative to get points.


– Unfortunately every trick play can’t work. The Cats were driving in the 3rd quarter, breaking into Florida territory methodically. A reverse to Daryl Collins was intended to be a throw back to a wide open Jalen Whitlow, but Collins couldn’t get a good grip on the ball and was eaten up for a loss of a million. After taking a big loss, Max’s deep ball was intercepted by Vernon Hargreaves. You can’t criticize the play call though: the trick would’ve never been done before and a trick had already gotten them one score on the day.

This 2 QB thing is making less and less sense every week. Jalen had his first good start of the season, stringing together back-to-back-to-back positive plays on the opening drive; then he got taken out. Max Smith entered the game one time just to hand the ball off, then was immediately taken out. While the odd substitutions may be changing the defense in ways that we can’t see, you can see the miscommunication between WR and QB. Matt will surely elaborately rant on the situation further, but it has reached a point where the only logical explanation is, “both are so bad that you don’t want to pick either of them to be ‘the guy.'”

As expected, Jojo Kemp got the ball early on. Unexpectedly, he really didn’t get it any after that.  On his first attempt, the true freshman had an 11 yard gain. He only had 2 carries after that. The reason for his lack of play was deferred by the coaches, putting personnell decisions on Chad Scott. Jojo may have bobbled a handoff, but whatever it was that took him out must’ve been something much worse than the obvious.

– After years of frustrating bubble screens and draws on 3rd/4th and long, the Cats finally have a screen play that is consistently working. The swing pass out of the backfield was called multiple times in the first half, getting the ball outside for speedsters to do something before their WR friends lost their blocks. It gained a lot of positive yards, but unfortunately you can’t do that every play.

– After Za’Darius talked a little smack during the week, he didn’t smack too many Gators. His first game without a sack or tackle for loss, Za’Darius finished with a modest 5 tackles, getting to the QB a second too late multiple times.

– Before getting to the ugliest news of the night (yeah, it gets worse), there is one more piece of positivity coming from Commonwealth. After his induction last night into the Hall of Fame last night, Tubby was introduced to the Commonwealth Stadium crowd of 62,076 at halftime. Met with cheers of “Tub-by”, the reunion was certainly a happy one. Joker Phillips also had a homecoming party at Commonwealth. The buzz surrounding his comeback actually had a happy ending, with Joker smiling to great his old players after the game.

joker w players after game

Stats that make you go ‘Ugh’

– Joe Mansour led the Cats in rushing with 25 yards on the fake field goal.

– Kentucky hasn’t scored in the 3rd quarter this year.

– As I said before, Kentucky gained less yards on offense than Matt Jones gained on the ground (UK 173, Jones 176).

– The Cats were 1-8 on 3rd down, bringing the two week total to 1-21.

– Trey Burton had 6 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, proving that he sold his soul to the devil to play well against Kentucky (a wiser man would’ve saved that soul for a more ‘special’ opponent).

– In his first time starting as a QB, Tyler Murphy was 13-13 until Josh Forrest picked off a pass in the 3rd quarter.

– That interception by Josh Forrest was the Cats first interception this season, so I guess there’s a silver lining?

– @RoushKSR

Article written by Nick Roush

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

20 Comments for Gators Ground and Pound the Cats

  1. niaps
    11:19 pm September 28, 2013 Permalink

    May have been the worst offensive play calling I seen in many years. Wait let me take that back. Since last year. Why hold Kemp out when he was the only effective runner we had. Cats clearly have no QB at all. Neither Smith or the pathetic Whitlow are anywhere near SEC caliber. Need to pull the red shirt off Towles and give him sole reins for the rest of the year. The more reps he gets now will help us next year. Barker is no where near SEC caliber if he cannot even put up 300 yds in high school. So he will need a for sure redshirt next year. Really gotta question the play calling. Not a single 3rd down conversion in 8 straight quarters means poor decisions on the side lines. This is beginning to be painful to watch.

  2. Beavis
    11:25 pm September 28, 2013 Permalink

    These guys suck. Joker has really hurt this program. How are there 2 QB’s on this team worse than Whitlow and Smith. Play Towles. Let Smith and Whitlow transfer and give the ball to a true freshman next year
    Hopefully Stoops and Brown keep recruits because other coaches will show them this offense. The “air raid”….what a joke
    When’s Midnight Madness?

  3. STEVE!
    11:48 pm September 28, 2013 Permalink

    How nice that it was a happy evening with the return of Tubby and Joker, two guys that nearly destroyed our basketball and football programs. Let’s bring back Eddie Sutton and Bill Curry next week.

  4. just saying
    12:14 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    “for 2 quarters BBN had hopes for an upset”????????

    What? We were down 21-7 @ half, with our only score on a fake play. Whats hopes were being held for an upset. Waste of time.

  5. Rixter
    12:22 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    After the game, Coach Stoops said “Jojo Kemp has got to get more touches” –

  6. Dee W.
    12:29 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    “How nice that it was a happy evening with the return of Tubby and Joker, two guys that nearly destroyed our basketball and football programs.”

    Joker was not just the former coach but also a former assistant coach and player on the team. Everyone knows he tried his best…he just wasn’t cut out to be head coach. He didn’t leave the program on probation or scandal or anything either.

    Tubby Smith had an excellent record as coach, and all of the 62,000+ fans remembered it that’s why they gave him such a warm welcome and cheered so loudly for him. The historical revisionism is coming home to roost for you people trying to make yourselves out to be a big part of the BBN fan base…you aren’t – you are a blip that barely registers…making yourselves out to be the “true” fans when you aren’t fans at all…you know nothing about the history and standings of the athletic programs you claim to know so much about. You are trolls.

  7. goUKats
    12:31 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    Missed assignments on the offensive line was critical.Sanders can run the ball,but can’t catch a cold,has bricks for hands,and qb play is pathetic.For Smith and Whitlow to be ahead of Towels and Phillips must mean they are worse than bad.And finally Kentucky plyed true to form on defense making a 3rd year backup quarterback look like an All American.

  8. UK Freshmen
    12:59 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    We are a joke and an embarrassment to the SEC. As fans, we are suckers and can’t accept the truth. Half of these verbal commits will run like hell as things will get worse. Sad.

  9. theSkinny81
    1:36 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    8 – You should do us all a favor and go play in traffic….

  10. BluKudzu
    1:44 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    Here is the situation as I see it. If UK was at all interested in having a competitive football program, we would have one. If the AD at UK was involved at all in improving the level of UK football, he would not have let the previous football staff stay as long as they did.
    Until the people that have the ability to change the direction of the program is in place, and it is a “no questions asked priority to make UK football championship caliber,” we only get slick marketing and the same plate of BS fed to the fans.
    Football is a source of revenue for UK athletics. Nothing more. We get smoke and mirrors, humiliating play, and a general “screw you” attitude from UK because we support the program more than UK.
    Well, the time is now.
    Really? We pay for this to be humiliated by ineptness?
    Get ready for 28 through to Infiniti, and beyond……what a bunch of Buzz light years we have become.

  11. Wildcatsteeler
    2:47 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    That was an incredible interception that changed the game. You don’t see interceptions like that in the NFL. Was actually a well thrown ball. He just made a circus interception.

  12. Jeffrey
    6:17 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    You all miss the critical point of offensive success, and that’s veteran O line men, our center is a freshmen. He is the play caller for our O line, our offense is going to take their lumps as they grow, but they will be damn good after this gauntlet and years to come.

  13. Jeffrey
    6:23 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    @ Blukidzu: Just shut up and take your fair-weather self elsewhere, it takes a few years to rebuild a football team. You cannot undone 3 years what Joker has done, and this staff will have the weapons for this program to make a successful UK team. We have the coaching staff, we even have some talent now (the bulk of them are freshmen, so they need to grow, freshmen do not win games, but can keep you in them.)

    If this was still Joker and his staff, UK would of got blown out by 40+ and be held scoreless. UK has come a long way from then and now, this team is growing, this team isn’t folding up the tents in games, they’re fighting and I respect that, the staff, and the players for that. That is what gives some a lot of hope for this program and its staff, we have the right people, all we fans need is patience.

    Wit that said, UF will go down one of these days, and it may only be within a few more years.

  14. Cats Fan
    7:16 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    I understand that it takes time to rebuild in football, but even the most die hard UK fan has to admit there are some personnel issues that are really puzzling. Why isn’t Kemp playing more? Especially when no one else can run the ball, why not give me a shot? And why say you’re going to and then not do it, and have no answer as to why you didn’t do it? And the 2 QB thing never works, it never has and never will. Timing is a key component of QB-WR play, and its too hard t develop with two different QB’s. Please give it up. I have to say that I am a little disappointed in the offense this year, I really thought I would at least be interesting to watch. But other than a few screen plays I haven’t seen too much.

  15. At least there's that
    7:39 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    I admit I like the aggressiveness of the staff to call trick plays. That being said they need to call more aggressive plays throughout the game, not just when they look down and out. I think a big part of the problem, besides the porous O-line, butter finger receivers, and the only QB’s in America that really can’t play QB, is the lack of creative or aggressive play calling on 1st and 2nd down.

    8:05 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    I guess Kentucky was disinterested?

  17. Easy to be a quitter
    9:52 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    I understand how easy it is to be frustrated. Few no the meaning of word more than true UK football fans. I don’t understand why Kemp didn’t get more touches and yes, our QB situation is less than ideal. Still, the team looks much better overall and there will be some wins in the second half of the season. Give Stoops two more years and I think you will see an 8-9 win season, maybe better. Go Cats!

  18. At least there's that
    10:40 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    @17: Easy to be a quitter

    I have to disagree with part of your statement. The team does not look much better overall. The defense looks much better overall but the offense looks stagnant. There won’t be more than 1 win in the second half of the season unless the coaches get that offense moving.

    Also it will take more than 2 years for Stoops to get an 8-9 win season. He is recruiting talented players but teams like Florida, Alabama and Georgia don’t just recruit talented players, they recruit a lot of talented players year in and year out creating depth. In 2 years it would be reasonable to expect to reach a minor bowl game, but it will take several good recruiting classes for Kentucky to get more than 2 wins in the SEC. That is just the where Kentucky football is, we have to rebuild to get to the rebuilding phase.

  19. BluKudzu
    10:52 am September 29, 2013 Permalink

    Back at You Jeffry!
    First, you and others like you have no spine and are willing to sit through year after year of ineptness. This season and every other season like this has been supported by donations and season ticket sales. If you have invested time and money as much as those who have been doing this year after year after year to way to watch a program spiral down to this level, where do you look for answers?
    Is the answer slick marketing? An AD that watched this get to this level? A coach that had no idea who is playing? An OC that places the blame elsewhere? The longest BCS losing streak to a team?
    Do you go to road games And suffer the abuse year after year?
    You need to keep your uneducated rosé colored glasses on boy.
    Reality is, if it mattered at all, we would not be in this shape.
    Grow a pair And demand better for your investment in both time and money.
    Or sit there, shut your mouth and take it.

  20. 27
    1:22 pm September 29, 2013 Permalink

    “Hey Louisville, What’s it like to beat Florida ???”