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Takeaways From An Ugly Showing In Starkville

(Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports)

(Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports)

Well that didn’t go as expected.

Kentucky went down to Starkville with that post-Florida motivation on its side, to face a team that lost to Kansas State one week earlier on the same field, but the final score did not go in UK’s favor. Mississippi State fought off a late fight to win, 28-13; a fifth straight loss for the Cats in Davis Wade Stadium.


Here’s all I have to say about it:

Starting the game with a Pick 6 is no way to go through life.

First things first, the game got off to a HORRIBLE start with the Pick 6 on the first drive. When you’re a touchdown underdog playing on the road, you can’t give away seven points in the beginning of the game like that, especially to your opponent’s defense. You just can’t get in that hole when you’re already needing your best football to earn a road win in the SEC. Once Sawyer Smith hit the DB in the numbers and watched him take it the other way for a score, it set the tone for the game.

And Smith stared down his receiver before turning it over for the score. I think Bryan The Intern would’ve intercepted that ball.

I don’t know what to make of Lynn Bowden.

Lynn Bowden is a special talent. The University of Kentucky has a better football program because Lynn Bowden walked through that door three years ago. He’s as dynamic as they come, maybe the most dynamic since Randall Cobb. When Lynn Bowden has the ball, you sit up in your seat because you know he can break loose at any moment.


Lynn Bowden has made more than one mistake this season. Drops, quitting on routes, fumbles — he’s made mistakes that Lynn Bowden can’t make. For Lynn Bowden to be the Lynn Bowden he wants to be, a first-round pick and All-SEC talent, he can’t make the backbreaking mistakes he’s made on more than one occasion so far this year. He is still an otherworldly talent with the ball in his hands and I wouldn’t trade Lynn Bowden for anyone, but when you’re Lynn Bowden, you’re held to a different standard, and he has to clean up the mistakes. He knows it more than anyone and I’d bet he’s kicking himself over it right now because Lynn Bowden is too good at football to drop catchable balls.

Chance Poore.

Kicking is a problem. A big problem. So what does Mark Stoops do? Do you quit on Poore, the redshirt freshman kicker you recruited to be your guy? He is supposed to be your kicker for the next four years, but he missed a chip shot to potentially beat Florida and he was bad again in Starkville. 75 percent (I made that number up) of kicking field goals is mental, between the ears, and right now Poore’s confidence is shot. I don’t know what you do if you’re the UK coaching staff, but the current situation ain’t good.

A.J. Rose played well, so there’s that.

Rose heard everyone demanding he be benched and he responded with a 100-yard game on only nine touches. Kavosiey Smoke got more carries, like so many people demanded, and only rushed for 25 yards, but did get a score.

I’m not going to tell you what to do with your life, but instead of pitting them against each other in a running back competition, let’s just appreciate a deep stable of backs. One Saturday we’ll see Rose shine; other Saturdays it’ll be Smoke or maybe even Chris Rodriguez if he ever gets out of the doghouse for fumbling.

Mississippi State had two 100-yard rushers.

It’s hard to beat any team in America when that team has 250+ rushing yards from two guys. I don’t care what team it is; you’re having a bad day if two players combine for 265, like Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill and THIRD-STRING QUARTERBACK Garrett Shrader did.

UK’s front seven is strong this year. Not today, though.

I don’t care what anyone says… there is a backup QB curse.

For awhile I blamed the staff for not being ready or making adjustments for a new QB whenever there would be an unexpected change, but eventually you accept the curse and Kentucky is cursed by a higher being right now.

Who is Garrett Shrader and how in the world did he go 17-of-22 for 180 yards and another 125 on the ground? How???

Kentucky beat itself for a second week in a row.

You. Can. Not. Beat. Your. Self. In. The. S. E. C.

But that’s where we are right now. Last week, Kentucky was better than Florida. There is no debating that. Kentucky was the more talented football team, yet the final scoreboard said otherwise.

This week it was an even fight and Kentucky could’ve easily won that football game. The Pick 6, the missed field goals, dropped passes…. Kentucky made the mistakes you can’t make. Again. And there is another L because of it.

Let’s bounce back at South Carolina next week.

Clean it up and make it six straight against the Gamecocks. Let’s go.



Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

51 Comments for Takeaways From An Ugly Showing In Starkville

  1. BluKudzu
    11:11 pm September 21, 2019 Permalink

    Great season.

    You should get another raise from this game.

    Mark Stoops. No excuses.

  2. makeitstop
    11:14 pm September 21, 2019 Permalink

    I agree… especially about Bowden. Man is he good. But then he disappoints. I’m sure there’s a sports psychologist hanging around somewhere and I’d hire him for Bowden AND Poore, bc we are only good if they are. But watching UGa tonite – God help us. Could we just mail that one in and call it 7-0? Bc Jake Fromm and Swift are going to embarrass us. The rest of them? I guess we will see Saturday. If we can’t beat USC, it’s hard to see how u get more then 7 at best. I think that would be a success if we can’t get pull our sh#& together in a week… and that’s if we can fix the QB problem, which is a long way from certain.

  3. bbn606
    11:15 pm September 21, 2019 Permalink

    At least we may have found a kicker.

    • UKFanSC
      8:45 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Ha !

  4. Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
    11:15 pm September 21, 2019 Permalink

    Arkansas just peed down their leg and lost to San Jose State.

  5. Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
    11:18 pm September 21, 2019 Permalink

    Wandale Robinson looking good right now for Nebraska. Has 2 TD’s so far tonight.

    • UKinIN
      11:22 pm September 21, 2019 Permalink

      Nothing UK can do about that. Robinson chose Nebraska. It’s where he wanted to be.

    • ColoradoCatFan88
      10:15 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Can’t really blame him. Nebraska is a top 10-15 team & well Kentucky is.. Kentucky

    • runningunnin.454
      11:00 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      FYI Nebraska beat Illinois by 4 points, Eastern Michigan beat Illinois by 3 points. Nebraska is not currently ranked in AP 25.
      Coaches Poll, UK received 14 votes, Nebraska 4 votes.

  6. SwaggyP
    11:52 pm September 21, 2019 Permalink

    Y’all know we play a backup QB next week right. Just saying.

    • makeitstop
      4:56 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Yea – and one who was a top 3 HS recruit. U know who wasn’t a top 3 recruit? Garrett Shrader (or Kyle Trask, who’s been a backup for 7 years).

  7. Smyrna_Cat
    12:17 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Not a good day in the Bluegrass. This was ugly and inexcusable.

  8. dawgcat
    12:27 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Born and raised in KY, lifelong cat fan, with son attending MSU, after declining UK. I visit ksr for recruiting updates, and must admit the Starkville trash talking does get old. Great campus, great college environment, super friendly fan base. Always easy to dwell on the negative whether it is belittling a town or a player. Bowden had plenty of positives but let’s crucify him for some drops. Fact is, the team is terribly coached and last year’s record was an anomaly with several lucky wins. Increase in talent will not turn this program into an elite football program, coaching does.

    • UKBigBlueForever
      12:50 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Dawgcat, you’re an effing idiot..I didn’t pull out the real f bomb because you dont deserve it.

    • PGA msu
      12:51 am September 22, 2019 Permalink


    • PGA msu
      12:55 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      And just to clarify, dawgcat is spot on.

    • mashburnfan1
      2:00 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      You don’t improve every year if you are a bad coach. Plus he has made football a thing at UK for one of very few times in my 52 years. Everyone talks how great Brooks was, and he did ok, but he did nothing like this staff has done. We are built, we have talent and are deep at almost all spots just young. Our QB was in 2nd year, RB’s are a JR in first year of really playing and wo FR. WR he have Bowden then a lot of youth. OL is experienced. DL we play several guys in 2nd year of playing time as well as LB. The DB spot has SEVERAL guys in 1st year of playing time. Future is good as long as they can keep the recruits we have coming in, as it is best class ever and look what we have done with the lower classes. We are not Clemson, Bama etc but are heading in the right direction. Guy took over a team that would finish near the bottom of the MAC and had us a game from the SEC East last year. Had us in a New Years Bowl and winning it. Others were one year wonders like Mumme going to Outback Bowl but this team is now pretty solid. Yes we are making mistakes that lost us games, I hate it. However in the past we would lose to UF by 40, and I sat through a 60 point loss with Couch at QB.

    • Collie
      2:42 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Dawgcat I somewhat agree with you on several things. However, the increase in talent has turned this program, even more so the increase of depth talent. Our facilities and our development of talent also has helped. When it comes to coaching, you have a point. Stoops is here to guide the ship, coach morrow is getting the talent. Players come to Kentucky to play for them I feel. Our coordinators have been a weakness the last few years. I haven’t heard many say they came to play for gran or any of our revolving door of defensive coordinators. Imagine though if he could have kept Neal brown and d.j. Elliott on staff up till this point. It seems as though those two came because of loyalty, brown to Kentucky, Elliot to stoops. Stoops doesn’t seem to be a great evaluator of coaching talent with his replacements of those crucial positions. Not sure the solution, but I feel if stoops goes, so would morrow. A successful leader or president of a company surrounds himself with talented employees, skilled employees in important positions to make himself look like a star. Morrow is a great evaluator of talent to improve our roster, stoops has struggled to replace and improve his coaching staff since the original two fell in his lap. Maybe morrow needs to be the one to recruit staff as well. Lol.

    • My Dixie Wrecked
      9:39 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Dawgcat- You come to KSR for recruiting updates? You like getting half truths?

    • RealCatsFan
      10:15 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Dickserect, your Cards got their asses whooped, so I guess you’re pretty flaccid today.

      I agree that Stoops has made some mistakes that have probably cost us wins, but if you can’t see that we are worlds away from where we were under The Joke, then you are blind. I hate us losing these games too, but most thought we would have a dropoff BEFORE we lost out starting QB and best returning defensive back to injury.

    • DirtyDave
      10:27 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      You know…… we lost two generational players from last year that we leaned on heavily!!! Our talent has vastly improved but we are still learning how to be a winning program both players and coaches! Doesn’t happen overnight. Yes we are losing some games that maybe we should win, however we are being competitive and a threat to win nearly all our games! We’re not beating the Alabama’s or Georgia’s yet but every other team we are always capable of beating! So I for one am very happy with the direction of this program and anyone that is NOT feel free to turn in your fan card find something or someone else the whine and complain about!

  9. drew_123
    12:49 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Don’t dare say anything about stoops on social media of you’ll get crucified.

    • PGA msu
      12:52 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Again, ditto

  10. Lip Man 1
    2:01 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Seems that those who were derided on this site for saying UK would “only” win six games aren’t as dumb as some of those at this web site made them out to be.

    Don’t worry UK basketball is just around the corner.

    As it was, as it is, as it always will be.

  11. The Big Lebowski
    2:17 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    It’s all about talent and talented depth.

    Kentucky is still building that. I still say Kentucky Football is two to three years away from being solidly within the 2nd Tier SEC teams.

    This year, they should end 9-3 but will probably lose to Missouri making it 8-4.

    Anyone who expected Kentucky football to march into Cowbellville and snatch a win is delusional at this point. They simply aren’t there yet.

    I believe that Stoops will get them there but Kentucky is a program that marks its restructuring into a winning program in decades not years.

    You try to push for change now and Kentucky goes back to the drawing board.

    Stoops is heading in the right direction. Let him continue.

    In 4 years, Kentucky will be challenging Florida and UGa for the East and it will be a real challenge not a paper challenge as in years past. That all ends if Stoops leaves…for whatever reason.

  12. The Big Lebowski
    2:20 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    It’s not that I think Stoops is the second coming.

    It’s that if Stoops departs, Kentucky just doesn’t have a great track record at hiring coaches.

    Stoops is working toward something. Building. He’s laid a foundation. If Kentucky wins 8 or 9 games this year, Stoops has accomplished something that I don’t believe has happened since the 50s.

  13. VMI1957
    3:17 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Told you all Kentucky will lose….record will be 4-8….just you wait. Many said they will finish 10 and 2. BS!!! Quit drinking the BBN koolaid and stop wearing the rose colored glasses…UK is simply not that good in football. Defensive line is horrible, allowed two 100 yd plus rushers – heck the linebackers stink too. The secondary can’t defend a pass. UK doesn’t have a kicker except perhaps a punter. Spurrier was right in saying at leaster they have a punter. The offensive line is not as great as they were hyped up to be and you got a QB who throws more to the opposing team than his own receivers. What the heck do you expect with all this “talent”. Definitely not a SEC team but a team that can’t even compete in the Toilet Bowl at the end of the season.

  14. TimLH
    3:33 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Meanwhile Gunner Hoak looked good for Ohio State..

    • 4everUKblue
      8:14 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Well that’s something he never did here…look good.

    • njcat54
      3:22 pm September 22, 2019 Permalink

      He would be starting here if he wasn’t a me first guy. It’s not like he needed exposure for NFL scouts. His team needed him and he bolted.

  15. bbn606
    7:30 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Is it my imagination or does Stenberg get a penalty at the most in opportune times.

    • dave1964
      7:42 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Penalty’s kill this team just stupid boneheaded undisciplined play. Our defense stunk for 95% of the game receivers dropped more balls than they caught, play calling well same crap. SC will be another loss and we will be 2-3.

    • kywc1971
      3:11 pm September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Logan “Drive-killer” Stenburg needs a coach that will rip off his helmet and beat him with it.

    • njcat54
      3:23 pm September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Time to admit we have some dirty players. And dirty players eventually hurt themselves and their team. (Right Kash?)

  16. CatManDo
    7:40 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    College and NFL games are typically won by the team that makes the fewest mistakes.

  17. Bourbon-n-Coke
    8:42 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    I said it last week and I’ll say it again – we have plateaued under Stoops. He is a good coach Monday through Friday but subpar on Saturdays. It has been evident over the past seven years but has been masked by the increased talent which has done a great job overcoming our coach.

    I’ll keep supporting the team but maybe it’s time to start thinking if we want to get to the NEXT level that we may need an upgrade at coaching. Mitch will never do it but we are now a very attractive option for a number of hot, up-and-coming coaches.

    • The Big Lebowski
      8:50 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      How in the hell do you justify firing a coach who just took Kentucky Football to a 10-3 season with a win over Penn State in the freakin’ Citrus Bowl?

      Are you people insane?


    • RealCatsFan
      10:27 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      A-men, Big L.

  18. The Big Lebowski
    8:59 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Mitch Barnhart would be chased out of Collegiate Sports if he fired Mark Stoops after he took Kentucky Football to a 10-3 season with a Citrus Bowl win over Penn State.

    Not one coach in the US would take the job after that abortion of a move.

    THIS is why Kentucky has been on the losing side for 7 decades. UK Football fans are nuts…and not in the good way that Cal laughs about all of the time.

    MB would have to hire a guy from the Pop Warner leagues.

    • ScoggDog
      9:04 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Then give it two more years – when he has this thing back to 6-6 every year. Because that’s where he’s heading. Last year was an outlier. It ain’t gonna’ be the new norm.

      The best thing that could happen to Kentucky Football is some bigger program to take a shine to Stoops and hire him away. So that he can be their problem instead of the big problem that’s getting ready to happen here. Stoops is a good defensive coordinator with a personal friend that’s a great recruiter. Nothing more.

      But don’t take my word for it. Keep shouting 10-3. Just don’t forget to shout 0-3 along with it – because that’s going to be the conference record seven days from now. Bank on it.

    • Bourbon-n-Coke
      9:46 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      No, THIS is one of the biggest parts of our problem. We have a considerable part of our fanbase that are lemmings and will go over the cliff with our coach because they think that’s part of being a good fan. Some of us, however, have the ability to think, reason, and use common sense which clearly indicate that 10-3 was our plateau with Stoops. Hello Liberty Bowl and Weedeater Bowl in Shreveport for the next 5 years.

      And consider this, do you think we would have lost the last two weeks if we had a Saban, Myers, or Dabo Swinney on the sideline? The answer is likely no, if you are being honest. Just saying it might not be a bad time to start thinking of an upgrade before the talent level regresses.

    • RealCatsFan
      10:30 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Well, I hear Petrino is available. I bet you all were some of the fans hanging on his sack.

    • RealCatsFan
      10:37 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      Let me put it this way. When Brooks retired, I was completely against bringing an untested coordinator in as “coach in waiting”. We should have anted up and hired a proven coach to take advantage of the progress we had made. Joker set us back ten years. Stoops said he would come in and build the program, and for the most part, that’s what he did. Yeah, he is not Dabo or Saban, but not too many are. Let’s just hope if Stoops leaves for another program Mitch doesn’t blow the hire again. We will have much better talent and facilities in place, and you can thank Stoops for that, at least in part. Does he make questionable decisions? Yes! But he ain’t going anywhere unless he wants to.

    • runningunnin.454
      11:25 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

      I criticize Coach sometimes; but, he gave us first 10 win season in over 40 years, and the ’77 team was on probation.
      Speaking of coaching blunders, Kirby Smart nearly gave the game to ND last night.
      4th and one at ND 26, he elected to kick a FG to go up by 13. Then he called a pass play with 2 minutes left, and ND with no timeouts.
      Dawgs defense saved Smart as they held on to win by 6.

  19. bluecat15
    9:52 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Lucky to win 6

  20. BLUEDOUG65
    10:19 am September 22, 2019 Permalink

    The truth is probably somewhere in the middle with all of these opinions . I do think stoops and morrow have increased our talent . I do like gran and we look physically like an sec football team . We made way to many mistakes and beat ourselves against an average football team . I still think we go 7-5 and set up for another nice season next year .. i do think we get too conservative in the red zone though

  21. TimLH
    12:49 pm September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Sawyer Smith is out of his league. Weak, shy and not good. Eddie Gran is a joke. Last year was Benny Snell and a few others not a pathetic Offensive Coordinator. Gunner Hoak has a real offensive system and even though cleanup role he looks like a QB which he didn’t at UK

  22. drbigblue
    2:40 pm September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Could not stand to watch the game. Couldn’t believe Stoops kept going for field goals… Uhg!!!

  23. njcat54
    6:19 pm September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Heck, even our all-world punter had a meh game. Put two punts into the end zone and he NEVER does that.

    Entire team was out of sync from the first offensive drive.

  24. dawgcat
    9:49 pm September 22, 2019 Permalink

    Just got home from Starkville and playing catch up. Ukbigblueforever, nice comments by the way. My point is this, which stated in the last sentence, this coach will not take UK to an elite program. Would agree that he has made progress,however, the fact remains 10 wins is an outlier. For elite SEC programs such as Bama, Auburn, LSU, and Florida, outliers are 7-8 win seasons, with the expectation of 9 plus. UK’s outlier is opposite, a good season is an elites bad season. My point is that an elite coach would have had the team prepped and ready to play at the opening kick off yesterday and would not get beat with back-up quarterbacks on a consistent basis. Hey, at my age, I don’t lose sleep over losses and am a big UK basketball, baseball, and football fan and understand it is only a game played by young men who will make mistakes. I do like Stoops and am content with winning seasons but if anyone thinks he will ever take UK to an elite status, not going to happen with this coach. New to posting here and sure the potty mouths are out there to attack, but that is the society in which we live. Ha My beef is with the Starkville bashing. I guess the writers have to have something to write bad because history has shown not to many Cat victories in football in Starkvegas. Always fun going and enjoying a brisket sandwich at Petty’s regardless of the outcome of the game.