One could argue Kentucky’s loss at Vanderbilt last year is the worst of the Mark Stoops era. The Cats failed to score a touchdown on two goal line situations and, defensively, a completely inexcusable meltdown allowed a trick play touchdown with less than a minute to go in the first half. It was a game Kentucky should’ve won, but didn’t. The end result, a 21-17 loss, ultimately cost the team a bowl game.
Stoops was asked about that heartbreaking defeat during today’s press conference in Lexington, to which he said, “Does last year’s Vanderbilt game hurt? Absolutely. It bothers me and it will probably bother me for the rest of my life.”
Had Kentucky scored on either of those goal line possessions or stopped the “Sneaky Pete” trick play, it would’ve won that game. And had Kentucky won that game, it’s a completely different narrative around the program right now, coming off the school’s first bowl appearance since 2010.
So it’s no wonder Stoops is still bothered by the loss and likely will for the remainder of his life. Maybe it’ll provide a little extra motivation for the rematch on Saturday.