Phew. What was supposed to be a fun, get-back-on-track Senior Day almost ended in disaster for Kentucky.
The Cats beat Middle Tennessee State 34-23, but the Blue Raiders put up a heck of a fight, and the issues on offense AND defense in the second half will do little to quiet the coaching staff’s critics. Kentucky made enough plays to advance to 8-3 on the season, their best record since 1984, but man, that was ugly.
The day had plenty of highs and lows. Mike Edwards got a pick six to start the game and forced a fumble a few plays later. Josh Paschal returned to the field for the first time after battling cancer AND got a big tackle, bringing fans to their feet. Josh Allen broke the Kentucky Football record for career sacks in what may have been the play of the game, stuffing Brent Stockstill on fourth down with the Blue Raiders down eight. He did it again with 39 seconds left to break the single-season sacks record, previously held by Dennis Johnson.
If not for Allen’s heroics, this would be a very different recap. MTSU moved the ball way too easily, outgaining Kentucky in total yards 392-324. Kentucky’s playcalling in the second half was puzzling, most notably the decision to keep Benny Snell on the sidelines on a crucial drive at the start of the fourth quarter. With one game left, Kentucky’s done incredible things this season, but today’s performance will still have fans grumbling.