It was a nasty win for the Kentucky football team last night but, in the words of Coach Mark Stoops, “you can’t apologize for a win.”
For the third consecutive season, the Cats are bowl eligible. Kentucky secured their sixth win in the shortest amount of time so far (6-1) thanks to stellar performance after stellar performance from the defense. UK is currently ranked No. 14, but today’s updated polls could have the Cats even higher. Plus, Ohio State and Oregon (both ranked ahead of the Cats) both lost last night. And yet, Kentucky’s players and coaching staff are far from satisfied.
“We need to pick it up on the passing game,” Benny Snell said after the win. “We’ve got to be sound as an offense, too. No penalties, things like that.”
Halftime adjustments were easy-to-spot, according to the star running back.
“At halftime when we look at the game, it’s like: defense, you’re getting stops and you’re dominating on your end. Offense, you’re getting penalties or being bad at handling the ball so guys are fumbling,” Snell said. “We eliminate those things, and we’re the best football team, hands-down. It’s like we know we’re the better team, but I don’t know why we still stick with [Vanderbilt] and are playing to their level. We could be so much better; we’re going to get better.”
Lynn Bowden had a solid night for the Cats – he was the only player who caught the ball and is credited with all 18 yards of passing offense on three catches.
“I just get open and do my job,” Bowden said. “Terry [Wilson] trusts me; I trust him. We’ve got a bond, we’ve got a relationship and we get it going.”
So what will it take to get the rest of the offense on the same page?
“We just have to get back in the lab and develop a relationship throughout the whole room: quarterback, receivers, running backs and tight ends,” Bowden said following the game. “I feel like we kind of played down to, well, not our fullest extent… we can get better in certain areas that we didn’t tonight.”
And just like that, it seems Kentucky becoming bowl eligible – something that, not too long ago, used to be a season’s singular goal – doesn’t even feel like that big of a deal. There are still improvements that need to be made.
“Certainly there are things we need to do better. We always do that. Win or lose, we’re going to go back to work, look at ourselves, look at things we can do better, starting with me,” Coach Stoops said after the game. “Again, you can’t apologize for being 6-1.”
Beside making the Cats bowl eligible before the end of October, that same 6-1 record could soon earn Kentucky a place in the top-10 polls, especially if UK pulls out another W next weekend. But they’re not there yet.
“We’re a top-1o team,” Snell said with some of his famous Benny Snell confidence. “But it takes time, and you’ve got to work for it. We’re ready to work for it.”