Last Thursday, Kentucky’s two-minute offense stalled to finish both the first and second half. Final score: Auburn 30, Kentucky 27. Close doesn’t count, especially in the high stakes world of SEC Football. We’ll dive into those drives and complete UK-AU game in a later “Eye in the Sky Don’t Lie” post. For now, let’s look at just how close each game has been.
This season, all six games have been decided by eight or fewer points. A deeper look into the situation, both Kentucky losses–Auburn and Florida–have been decided by a total of eight points. However, in the four wins, the Cats have successfully won or salted away games in the final offensive possessions:
Kentucky vs. Louisiana
Tied at 33 with 4:37 remaining in the game, the Cats drove 58 yards to score the deciding touchdown.
Final score: UK 40, ULL 33
Kentucky at South Carolina
With a 26-22 lead, Kentucky started its final drive with 4:32 left in regulation. The Cats reeled off three first downs to win in Columbia. By doing so, UK snapped a 22-game conference road skid.
Final score: UK 26, South Carolina 22
Kentucky vs. Missouri
With an eight-point lead and 2:56 left in the fourth quarter, the Cats ran for two first downs to beat the two-time defending SEC East Champions.
Final score: UK 21, Missouri 13
Kentucky vs. EKU
After digging a hole and leaping in with both feet, Kentucky executed its two-minute offense to score two late touchdowns to force the game into overtime. The final touchdown came on an extremely high-risk/high reward play call with the fade to Dorian Baker in the corner of the end zone.
Final score: UK 34, EKU 27
Think about that for a minute: UK’s first six games have been decided in the game’s final drive. Amazingly entertaining, yet nerve-wracking season to this point. Kentucky has won and lost games with its high risk/reward late-game offensive strategies. Shannon Dawson has been lambasted over his two-minute offense play calling against Auburn, but his same propensities scored 21 unanswered points and were praised in the EKU win.
What has not been recognized is UK’s success in the four-minute offense or the ability to seal the deal with a lead. Reality is, UK is 4-2, which is ahead of most projections. Losing stings. Losing frustrates. Total disclosure, I’m a sore loser. But with some distance from Thursday’s loss, perspective has resurfaced to find positives.