After Kentucky’s loss to Georgia ended SEC Championship Game dreams, Mark Stoops had a clear message for his team. “We can’t make this loss turn into two.”
The stakes are not as high as they were a week ago, but Kentucky can still have a “dream” ten-win season. It has been 40 years since Kentucky finished a season with ten or more wins.
A road trip to Knoxville stands in Kentucky’s way. To make sure there isn’t a setback at Neyland Stadium next Saturday, UK’s leaders must get the team’s attention on Monday.
“You let them lean on the leaders of this football team,” Stoops said. “The guys, they are good in there. We got beat tonight, and we have to regroup and go about our business. We have strong leaders in there and I anticipate that we’ll be ready to go.”
Eddie Gran echoed Stoops’ sentiment. “One can’t be two. It’s where your leaders step up and you come to work on Monday better than you did last Monday.”
A.J. Rose is confident that will not be a problem.
“This loss is over with. Tomorrow is Sunday. We’re on to Tennessee, preparing for that week. We can’t let this happen again. We’ve got a goal. We came short of that goal but we still want to finish the SEC strong.”
A strong SEC finish could put Kentucky in a New Year’s Six Bowl. Florida’s loss to Missouri all but solidifies UK’s second-place finish in the SEC East. If Kentucky continues to fight, like they did when they fell behind 28-3, the Big Blue Nation will experience something special at the end of the year.
“They’re competing. The want to finish,” Gran said. “They want to finish this season.”