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Kentucky’s “play not to lose” mentality will be the death of me

After taking over a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter yesterday afternoon, the Wildcats crawled their way to the finish line, just barely scraping by the Eastern Michigan Eagles by a final score of 24-20.

But Kentucky’s uncomfortable end to their fourth victory of the season was yet another example of the offense’s tendency to come close to a complete stop after establishing “control” of the game.

Against Southern Miss, Kentucky managed just 47 yards to go with zero points in the fourth quarter. They totaled only 105 yards after going up 14-3 with 7:01 remaining in the second quarter.

In the following game, Kentucky managed 107 yards in the fourth quarter against Eastern Kentucky, but this mostly occurred because they had to in order to pull off the victory. The Colonels went up 16-10 with 4:08 remaining in the third quarter, and the Cats maintained just a 17-16 lead with 14:00 left in the game.

Against the Gamecocks in week three, the Wildcats racked up 121 yards in the fourth quarter. Kentucky’s two scoring drives, however, stalled out in the end and resulted in field goals from the 26 and the three-yard line. Kentucky’s effort against South Carolina was easily their most impressive.

Kentucky’s game against Florida was easily their most frustrating example of playing “not to lose.” The Wildcats took a 24-14 lead with 5:54 remaining in the third, and after Darius West picked a ball off back to the UK 46, many fans thought the game was over.

Kentucky ran the ball three consecutive times for one yard on a drive that took just 2:06 off the clock.

After the defense held the Gators on a fourth-and-three at the Florida 49, the Wildcats took over on downs. Three consecutive runs, one Stephen Johnson incompletion to Tavin Richardson, and 16 yards later, Kentucky kicked a 50-yard field goal to go up 27-14 with 11:33 remaining in the fourth quarter.

In two drives, seven of eight plays were kept on the ground for a total of 17 yards, with 3:58 total taken off the clock.

After Florida responded with a touchdown to cut the lead to just six, Kentucky went three-and-out, a drive resulting in negative-five yards. A two-yard rush, a sack, and an incompletion on a drive that had the potential to seal the victory and, ultimately, end the streak.

The Gators got the ball back, and the rest is history.

Yesterday against Eastern Michigan, Kentucky’s second-half offense was absolutely putrid. 

EMU’s Jake Julien punted the ball a whopping 18 yards, giving the Wildcats unbelievable field position at the 24. From there, Johnson was dropped for an 11-yard loss on an intentional grounding penalty, followed by two consecutive incompletions and a missed 53-yard field goal. 24 yards to go to start the drive, zero points to show for it. Unbelievable.

Josh Paschal blocked EMU’s following punt to the 12-yard line, and Benny Snell responded with a touchdown on one play to push the UK lead to 24-14 with 11:56 remaining in the game.

From there, Kentucky managed three consecutive three-and-outs for a total of 11 yards.

Your Wildcats finished with 14 total plays for a whopping total of 12 yards in the fourth quarter.

I love Eddie Gran to death, but pounding the air out of the ball on three consecutive runs with a lead just isn’t going to cut it. You have a stellar quarterback with weapons for him to play with. Use them, especially if the defense is stacking the box with nine men, essentially daring you to throw.

Kentucky has had the opportunity to put the opponent away in each of their first five games, but stubbornness has cost a 30-year streak being broken, a 5-0 record, and some pretty convincing blowouts to prove to the national media the Wildcats were absolutely legit.

Step on their throats. Go for the kill. Give them a Mortal Kombat-esque “FINISH HIM!”

However you want to word it, Kentucky needs four quarters of actual offense.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

10 Comments for Kentucky’s “play not to lose” mentality will be the death of me

  1. bailey000
    8:10 pm October 1, 2017 Permalink

    I am on the side of Eddie Gran and Stoops more than anyone. That being said, amen. We have a high powered offense if we want it to be. I understand grinding the game out if u have a 3 score lead, but we try to do it with 10 point leads.

    • syrin23
      10:27 pm October 1, 2017 Permalink

      Talk to any Cincy fans? SAME COMPLAINT. Eddie Gran sucks.

  2. ClutchCargo
    8:26 pm October 1, 2017 Permalink

    Same. I’ve had enough of the “prevent” offense.

  3. bailey000
    8:44 pm October 1, 2017 Permalink

    This week we’ve got Missouri who has an awful defense lets see what we got. Let’s take what the defense gives us. Not in a nice way either let’s take it until mascara runs down their cheeks.

    8:47 pm October 1, 2017 Permalink

    What I do not get is what the flock with the resistance to change here by Stoops. It is painfully obvious that he makes this mistake every game, why has there been no change. How many times has our opponent thrown 5 passes under ten yards and moved the ball 50 yards in one minute because we are back in prevent defense.Stoops is so resistant to change. Drives me nutz.

  5. InigoMontoya
    9:24 pm October 1, 2017 Permalink

    Do these coaches not take pleasure in pounding the opponents into submission??

    C’mon, coaches, show that you care….

  6. IAmTheDanger
    9:54 pm October 1, 2017 Permalink

    I was just going back over our previous games rhis year and noticed something interesting but not too surprising. UK has scored between 23 and 27 points in every game this season. Take that for what it’s worth but I found that very interesting.

    • runningunnin.454
      11:31 pm October 1, 2017 Permalink

      Hard to score more when you only compete for 3 quarters. I’m glad to see it’s not just me…going slowly insane, and staring at the TV in disbelief.

    • ClutchCargo
      12:54 am October 2, 2017 Permalink

      Pretty simple, we would be scoring 30+ if we just keep playing.

  7. Sentient Third Eye
    8:12 am October 2, 2017 Permalink

    I almost gave up on the NFL years ago because of prevent defense…now the Cats have a prevent offense…