After a very long and unproductive day of napping on the couch, it’s time to write some words about last night’s debacle. Join me for the pros and the cons of Kentucky’s third loss of the season…
Let’s try to find some positives. It won’t be easy.
— Austin MacGinnis is money. Kentucky’s kicker went 3-for-4 on the night and his one miss was from 48 yards. If not for a UK timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty, MacGinnis would’ve been a perfect 4-for-4 on the evening, with that 48-yarder splitting the uprights before it was negated. He drilled his first attempt at the 48-yard bomb after Mark Stoops called a timeout; a timeout that led to a chewing of the officials’ asses on the sideline. Hashtag Angry Stoops.
— The young guys got some playing time. We saw the debut of Drew Barker, some carries by Sihiem King and an all-freshmen secondary late in the game. It was big to get those guys on the field for some experience against a good team like Mississippi State, and their snaps, though limited, will go a long way toward their development.
I’m a huge fan of King. Really liked what he showed us with his three carries for 31 yards.
— Chris Westry picked off Dak Prescott. A lot of the talk leading up to the game was about Prescott’s almost 300 pass attempts without an interception. That streak came to a close last night when Kentucky’s Westry got up and took one away from the Bulldogs for his second career interception, both coming on the road in big games. We’ve only seen Westry for half of a season, but he’s already being talked about as a player who can be great, not just good, in Kentucky blue. Potentially one of the best to ever play corner at UK with what he’s shown us in his young career.
— Boom Williams is really good.
— We almost had a football game going into the half. Then, Mississippi State scored two touchdowns in a minute and it was over. But there was some hope at one time, early in the game.
— C.J. Conrad got involved. Fans begging to see more of the freshman tight end were given just that last night. Conrad caught six passes for 56 yards, UK’s second best numbers in both categories. Hope to see more of him in the future. He can really bust up defenses.
— The team’s attitude seems positive moving forward. Mark Stoops said, “I’ve felt a heck of a lot worse than I do right now,” following the 26-point loss. “There’s not one bit of panic. That’s a good football team that beat us. We’ll go back to work, believe me.”
— And the biggest pro of them all: We don’t have to go back to Starkville for another two years. I hope everyone who went last night survived. And learned their lesson.
Oh, the cons. So many of them to list. Add the ones I don’t hit in the comments section.
— Matt Elam did not fill Melvin Lewis’ shoes. No one expected Elam to be Lewis in his first career start, but the hope was he would play well. He did not play well, unfortunately. He did not do much of anything. Elam still has a long way to go before he’s ready to play in this league. Zero technique right now.
— Dak Prescott had all day in the pocket. Kentucky did not put any pressure on State’s quarterback. He was able to sit back and pick the defense apart all night long. The knock on Prescott is he can’t throw, but even I could’ve thrown for 300 yards with that much time to pick out a target.
— The end of the first half sucked the life out of Big Blue Nation. Touched on this up top, but it can’t be said enough: the game ended in the final minutes of the first half. A 10-7 Kentucky lead turned into a 28-10 deficit, with 14 of those points coming in the span of one minute. Ball game.
— If there was any hope left in the second half, Ramsey Meyers’ personal foul demolished it. Kentucky had a first-and-goal from the three-yard line, down only two scores late in the third quarter. A touchdown would’ve made it a one possession game and the end zone was only one big push from the offensive line away. Then one of those offensive linemen, Ramsey Meyers, was flagged for a stupid, idiotic, inexcusable, what-the-hell-are-you-doing personal foul for swinging at a defenseless defender after the play. The penalty pushed the offense back to the 19-yard line and forced UK to settle for a field goal, rather than getting back in the game.
— Dorian Baker dropped another pass. At least it wasn’t in the end zone this time. And he wasn’t the only one dropping balls. I believe four of Towles’ first five incompletions were dropped passes.
— Have I mentioned how terrible Starkville is?
— Kentucky had no shot with three turnovers. We knew the Cats would need to win the turnover battle to have any chance at victory. Mississippi State won that battle, 3-1, and Kentucky isn’t a good enough team to win on the road with three turnovers.
— Jason Hatcher did not play. As is the case with Melvin Lewis, missing Jason Hatcher was detrimental to the defense and a big part of the problem with the nonexistent pass rush.
— The line of scrimmage was lost on both sides of the ball. It wasn’t just the D-line getting manhandled by the Bulldogs, Kentucky’s offensive line was pushed around all night, too. Towles faced constant pressure as State’s back line of defense dropped back and waited.
— Ramsey Meyers’ penalty was really, really bad. I can’t imagine what Mark Stoops had to say to him after the game. I bet he used several swear words.
Tennessee this week. Let’s put this behind us and get up for the Vols. Huge week ahead for the program and for the city of Lexington.