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What went wrong on Max Duffy’s failed fake punt

There were two critical mistakes in Kentucky’s 29-13 loss at Auburn that happened on consecutive fourth quarter possessions. A Terry Wilson fumble quickly turned a two-point deficit into nine. On the next possession, the Wildcats were stopped once again, forced to punt facing a fourth and five. The next mistake happened before the snap.

Max Duffy tucked the ball and ran near the UK sideline. The fake punt was snuffed out almost immediately by Auburn, who tackled the UK punter before he reached the line of scrimmage.

Head coach Mark Stoops explained after the game that the fake was a predicated on a pre-snap read by Duffy. If Auburn gave UK a certain look, Duffy had the green light to take off and run. Stoops shouldered the blame for not switching that light to red once the Tigers grew the lead from two to nine points.

“That was a situation where it was a read and that’s not on Max,” Stoops said. “That’s on me. That’s on us. We had it on, when we were down two a possession before, but we turned it over and we fumbled. Then we went back down, and being down nine, that’s not when you call that.

“I don’t put that on Max. I’ve gotta communicate, take that off with my special teams coach prior to Max going out there, taking that read off of him. That’s on us. That’s on me.”

Two plays after the failed fake, Auburn scored what would be the final touchdown of the game to take a 29-16 lead.

Stoops did not hire a special teams coach when Dean Hood departed to be Murray State’s head coach. Most of those duties now fall on quality control analyst Louie Matsakis.

When Max was using his legs to punt, he actually had a pretty decent day. After the Wildcats were pinned back inside their own five yard-line, he booted one 75 yards to flip the field and set a new personal record.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

7 Comments for What went wrong on Max Duffy’s failed fake punt

  1. dcforuk
    5:19 pm September 26, 2020 Permalink

    I love how coach takes the fall and the responsibility because it is ultimately on him and he does a good job of modeling that for us. That’s also one where Duffy probably needs to check in with the quality control analyst who should check in with the coach on whether the play is still on.

  2. blueblood80
    7:10 pm September 26, 2020 Permalink

    Wow, the team was built up all summer – depth, size, experience – most talent since 1977. I will root win or lose, even if they go 1-9 (Vandy is a sure win). Any chance of a special season is gone. A lack of a touchdown call from the one didn’t cost the game. Poor coaching decisions and turnovers were the difference. The Auburn two point conversion haunted the Cats. The fake punt was stupid. Why do the Cats WASTE so much time running a play when they are behind? And Kelvin Joseph”s play? Sit him a half. Dadgone, poor tackling, DBs played poorly… on and on.
    Always a fan though…..

    • Section233
      9:07 pm September 26, 2020 Permalink

      Did you post the same rant on every article

    • BowdenQB4ever
      12:53 am September 27, 2020 Permalink

      I’m with you on Joseph. That kid is a punk and a clown. He’s getting burned all game and still chirping, no self awareness or humility. Unless I’m mistaken, CMS’ forte has always been in the secondary, really baffling that unit would have looked so bad today.

  3. dcforuk
    8:22 pm September 26, 2020 Permalink

    Need to flip the script now. SEC is always brutal. Turnovers do not fit any team but especially a ball control offense. We cannot overcome turnovers against good teams.

  4. Section233
    9:08 pm September 26, 2020 Permalink

    TW blew it and that’s why we lost. Poor decision making at QV

  5. bbn606
    10:45 am September 27, 2020 Permalink

    This is the second time Stoops has went without a Special Teams Cooridnator. It didn’t work then and it’s not going to work now as evidenced by two allowed kick off reruns of 30 plus yards, a tricked two point conversion and the failed fake punt.