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Three Plays: Missed Chances

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

That was not fun. For the fourth time in nine games, Kentucky’s offense put up just one touchdown or less as they tanked in the second half on the way to a 34-10 loss in The Swamp. The defense put together a pretty good effort holding a dangerous offense to 7.3 yards per play and for the first time all season the Gators were held under 38 points. It still wasn’t enough.

The Wildcats put up just 3.56 yards per play and you’re not going to come close to beating anyone with a pulse on offensive numbers like that. The Wildcats went eight straight possessions with five plays or less to end the game and ruined what could’ve been an upset bid in Gainesville.

It’s time to peel back the curtain and show what exactly went wrong, but it’s pretty obvious that some big changes need to be made. Mark Stoops is meeting a fork in the road moment for his program.

1) Take the Points

Kentucky got the ball to start the game and put together a very good drive. A.J. Rose broke a 17-yard run on the second snap and Terry Wilson hit Keaton Upshaw on fourth-and-three to move the chains and create the game’s first red zone possession. Then the offense went backwards. After a second down sack, UK faced a third-and-20 at the Florida 30 in what was likely a no win situation. You needed a draw or screen just to pick up yards to create a manageable field goal attempt to get you on the board early. That’s not what we saw.

Eddie Gran draws up a deep passing concept while Florida brings just four. However, the Gators run a twist stunt that catches Kentucky off balance. Kavoisey Smoke missed the outside linebacker while defensive Zachary Carter splits the double team of Luke Fortner and Landon Young. The play takes Kentucky out of field goal range.

A simple QB draw there easily gets 10-plus yards because of the stunt you caught Florida in. Instead, the offense gets greedy and ruins a scoring opportunity. Given what the Wildcats did in the upcoming possessions, missing here prevented the team from building a double-digit lead and putting some game pressure on the big home favorite.

2) Shank

Kentucky got the ball inside the Florida 10 with a little over nine minutes to play in the second quarter. They went on a beautiful 14-play drive eating over seven minutes of clock to go up 10-7. The defense responded with a big stop as UK seemed poised to win the all important Middle Eight. However, a beautiful punt by Jacob Finn put UK in a bad spot taking over at the one since Florida had three timeouts left.

The Wildcats were unable to move the chains and Florida was able to stop the clock to give their offense another chance at scoring before half. With 56 seconds left in the second quarter, Max Duffy uncorked the worst punt of his career.

UK had punt left on and that’s where the entire punt coverage team was running. Thankfully for Florida, the Gators had split returners back deep and the best playmaker on the field was right there to field the punt. Kadarius Toney made one man miss on his way to his first punt return touchdown of the season to totally flip the game.

Duffy has quietly had a not so great year and a bad punt came at the absolute worst possible time. It allowed Florida to win the Middle Eight and unofficially ended any shot UK had at an upset.

3) Missed Last Shot

Thanks to some questionable penalties, Florida easily marched down the field to score a touchdown on their first possession out of half. On the next possession, UK came up with a timely red zone stop to force a field goal and to keep the game within two possessions. It was now or never for the Kentucky offense.

After missing Isaiah Epps on first down and creating just one yard on a run on second down, Kentucky faced a big third-and-long. The last thing they could afford was another three-and-out and the team really needed a scoring drive. Then the worst thing possible happened.

Terry Wilson has Josh Ali open on an inside pivot route and if he hits him early it’s likely a first down. Instead the ball comes out a bit late and the quarterback spy comes up with an interception. Mohamoud Diabate does a great job reading the quarterback and his eyes lead him to the ball.

Three plays later, Florida punches it in to create a three touchdown lead and the game was officially over in the third quarter.

In a season full of them, Kentucky put together another woeful offensive performance. It really is a bummer that the Wildcats had to face the two best teams on their schedule without Chris Rodriguez Jr., but these are the hands we have been dealt in 2020 thanks to COVID-19. However, they need to be better than this.

Kentucky’s defense once again played good enough to win the football game and they kept the team alive for most of the day. After a very promising start in their first four possessions, the wheels came off in the second half and it resulted in a blistering loss.

There is one game remaining in the 2020 season and a likely bowl trip at the end of the year, but no one is really thinking about that right now. UK must fix their offensive issues and all eyes are on Mark Stoops to see what difficult decisions he ends up making.

Article written by Adam Luckett

Twitter: @AdamLuckettKSR

20 Comments for Three Plays: Missed Chances

  1. 77CatFan
    6:47 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    UK needs to drop down to FCS…….

  2. Delray Cat
    6:57 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    Let’s face it. The Poops era has topped out and they are heading back to cupcake status. Unless UK cuts bait or some other sucker takes him off our hands…we will be fighting with Vandy for the cellar within a year. Poops won a few games..sure…. But the dude still has a losing record overall and is 23-42 in the SEC. That’s terrible. And is that really worth 5 million a year and untouchable status?? Fat boy is no better than his brothers, who both sucked as well, and were both run out of football because their old school approach also became obsolete.

    • WKY Cat
      7:17 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

      Easy easy!! You’re making to much sense here. People on KRS don’t understand the concept of an individual topping out.

  3. blueballs80
    7:08 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    I wonder if Stoops will move on from UK after this season. He has recruited well but development has been an issue. I think of another power 5 job comes calling he goes.

    • WKY Cat
      7:15 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

      Please explain he recruited well. This is the most inaccurate thing everyone says. He’s averaged about 30th nationally and about 12th in the SEC. That’s not recruiting good and we see it on the field. With all the returning starters, if he had recruited good then this year’s team would be much better.

  4. UKinIN
    7:21 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    Stoops highest rated recruiting class, per 247, was no. 22 in 2014. Every class since has been lower rated.

  5. Bluebros
    7:37 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    I think he has recruited as well as any UK coach over the past 30 years. Where he’s missed has been at QB. Putting it mildly, the UK QB’s has been trash. Which is why we can’t get quality WR’s to sign or stay, (Jeff Badet). The miss on Drew Barker set Kentucky back years.

    • CatfaninCinci
      8:09 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

      You’re right. The miss on Barker took our program in an entirely different t direction, one that solely depended on the run.

  6. Rixter
    7:53 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    hold on.. last week everybody was bitchin’ because Eddie Gran called a QB draw. Worst call ever. Now, you’re bitchin’ because Eddie Gran didn’t call a QB draw?

    • UKiyaoyas
      8:47 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

      OC’s are supposed to know what the defense is going to do before they run the play. Everyone knows that. You have to know what stunts are called and what coverage they’re in and THEN you call the play. Duh!

  7. neat1ky
    8:02 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    Wow I guess the complainers on here are ready to go back to Joker, Curry and Brooks ( the tubby smith in football) and I liked him alot for trying to get us out the cellar but the complainers don’t understand stoops has back fun to football and better players and unfortunately in football it takes much longer to change a losing culture and this year has hit us hard in sickness and death but I gave faith in the future QBs coming in to help change that culture and I became a season ticket holder when stoops came because folks Saban and Meyers not walking thru that door

    • Southky
      8:10 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

      Neat1ky the last few weeks have looked a lot like Joker and Curry….

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      8:36 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

      Brooks would wipe the floor with Stoops and a worse team.

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      8:51 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

      And with a worse team…..

  8. Silly Buh Jilly Willy Filly
    8:25 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    Fans are awesome. Opinions…splendid. What folks must recognize – again – is that UK had minus X number of players and X number of coaches. So – this year is different… for every team. Lighten up. It is what it is. We will get through it. Games we should have won? Ad infinitum. We can always argue ‘what could have been’. It is now. This is now. If you want KENTUCKY to be BAMA …or BrobleAuburn… get on their bus. And, never think.

    • stunninsteve
      4:57 am November 29, 2020 Permalink

      It’s just like a transmission in a vehicle, it’s time to shift gears. Stoops has done a lot of good things and has been rewarded generously by the AD. As the team improved and drew better quality talent it has become obvious that player development and offensive planning are not his forte. Brooks was an intelligent in game coach, so DONT sell him short. Both coaches brought some good things to the table, but it’s time for a new voice in the locker room and a fresh face on the recruiting trail. The kool aid that is Terry Wilson’s physical talents have driven UK to the brink of regression at the added expense of a mass qb exodus out of lexington. Don’t know if Gatewood or Allen are the answer short term, but it’d be a whole lot easier to stomach these type losses knowing our QB is in development along with our offense. TW is what he is, flashes of excitement with overall ineptitude. When the right coach gives the signal he’s interested it’s time to move on it and give TW a door prize and take back the keys to the offense from both he and a Gran and see what someone new can do. Stoops has been great for several seasons but he’s played out and has been for a year or so.

  9. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    8:38 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    Using my phone and happened on a ad that has to take the cake in irony. Most overrated coaches in college football.

  10. UKiyaoyas
    8:49 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    And that’s sarcasm. It’s easily confused on here with some of these comments.

  11. Grazilla
    10:20 pm November 28, 2020 Permalink

    They should build a statue for Stoops. And at the same time, the program is ready for the next chapter. This season has been a real eye-opener.

  12. John Capilari
    9:05 am November 29, 2020 Permalink

    The negativity for stoops and uk football during his tenure is stupid. I don’t get it. We were complete trash before and he inherited that. Completely changed our program. He’s not perfect, but to say it’s time to move on is stupid. That said, I really didn’t like the TO we took with 1:20 or so in the first half. Knew they had 3 TOs, and we’d be backed up, albeit not at the 1 yard line.