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Be disappointed with loss but this can still be special season

Benny Snell didn’t find many openings against Georgia’s defense Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

First, it’s okay to be disappointed that Kentucky lost a chance to play for the SEC Championship because of its 34-17 loss to Georgia.

Kentucky just wasn’t as good as the Bulldogs, especially in the offensive and defensive lines. The Bulldogs dominated most of the game after a 65-yard punt return gave the Bulldogs a short field on their first series to take a 7-0 lead and help tone down a pumped up Kroger Field crowd.

But just because UK won’t have a chance to go to the SEC title game doesn’t mean this cannot be a historic season.

Kentucky is still 7-2 and in second place in the SEC East. Beat Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and Louisville and UK would have its first 10-win season since 1977. Win those three games and a bowl game and UK would have an 11-win season.

Winning the next three games likely would put Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl in Tampa. Tell me when this season started you would not  have taken that.

So no pouting or heading hanging. No telling me Kentucky was just a pretender. No, Kentucky just got beat be a better team. Georgia pounded the Cats with a bruising running game that had big holes because of its line — that also kept UK from putting pressure on the quarterback. The Bulldogs rushed for 331 yard and had two 100-yard rushers.

Kentucky couldn’t get its running game going. Benny Snell had 42 yards in the first quarter — but finished the game with just 73 yards. The Cats had 310 total yards but most were inflated because they came after Georgia built a 28-3 lead. A Georgia defense that came into the game with just 10 sacks got to UK quarterback Terry Wilson four times.

Kentucky also had some huge  mental mistakes — Logan Stenberg unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, leading tackler Darius West ejected for targeting, offensive guard Bunchy Stallings ejected for “touching” an official and tight end C.J. Conrad fumbling to stop a first-half scoring drive.

“They came ready to play. They fought us really hard,” Conrad said.  “We had our opportunities and just didn’t execute. Early in the game we were doing well and then would stall out. I had a bad turnover. Stuff like that can’t happen. You have to finish drives against good teams and we didn’t do that.”

Conrad thanked UK fans for their support and hopes it will continue.

“We had an amazing atmosphere. We appreciate the fans,” Conrad said. “We are really sorry we couldn’t get it done. I hope you (fans) will continue to support us. We are not going to let this turn into two or three games (UK loses).

Kentucky plays next week at Tennessee, a team that has improved but is no Georgia. The Vols are 4-5 but won only 14-3 over Charlotte Saturday.

“I am very disappointed and will be all day tomorrow. We have to get ready for Tennessee. We can’t let this turn into two (losses) . Our leaders can’t let that happen,” Conrad said.

He’s right.

Kentucky got a taste of big-time football with a prime-time game on CBS-TV. SEC Nation was in Lexington. All week national attention was focused on this game.

That’s why bouncing back and winning at Tennessee for the first time since 1984 will keep an amazing season on track for a team that has exceeded what almost everyone expected so far this season and has a chance to continue to add to that despite Saturday’s loss.

 

 

 

10 comments

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  1. We did not seem to be prepared for the big stage today and not sure why. Both lines of scrimmage got totally controlled and will give pass to D line because they have played very well this season. The OL was supposed to be one of our major strengths, but they haven’t played well for the last 3-4 games and are killing Snell’s chances of staying in the H conversation and attaining additional records for his apparent final year. The one constant all year has been the ineptitude of Gran with his limited, conservative play book and inability to recognize and develop the weapons that we have. Rose should have played more in first half to spell Benny. Gran seems to only be able to run up the middle and wear out the Wildcat. He did try a couple of trick plays in first half but his timing very suspect. I just hope that Stoops can find the stones to release Gran after the season but feel it won’t happen, He continues to be the weakest coach on the staff.

  2. As I said before, I love this defense and I am proud of their record. Having said that, one dimensional teams; especially, when you are relying on player, do not win big games. UK has no passing game, when there are multiple decisions to be made. Yes, against Missouri Wilson got it done, but the play calls were laid out for him on the last drive. Either Wilson’s decision making is suspect or Gran is just hog tying him; not sure which or if it is both. But Wilson does seem to do a little better when they are more up tempo; I guess Gran has not noticed that.
    Trying the Wildcat with Snell is an absolute joke that has not worked more than 5% of the time.
    Teams that rely heavily on the run must have more than 1 tailback they use regularly. Look at Georgia and Alabama; 2-3-4 tailbacks to break up the monotony. Rose should have had at least 5-7 carries in every game this year. Where has King been? He should also have a few carries in each game. This gives opposing teams more to think about.
    Right now, this offense consists of Snell going against 7 for the majority of the plays. No balance, no consistency, and no trust of the players by the OC.
    I still think UK can win out, but it will be in spite of Eddie Gran.

  3. You guys give out same ole song week in and week out. Being so negative of what this team has done and still no positive remarks. Just support the football team or keep your negatives to your self. They got my back regardless

  4. 7-2 is a great record to date and not sure too many folks could have predicted that. However, that is a little deceptive in that we haven’t been playing that well lately. We could have lost the Vandy game if their top running back had played. We could have, and probably should have, lost the Mizzou game and Missouri showed today that they are playing better than us at this exact time. Many folks are stating that we will beat down UT next week in Knoxville, and I don’t share that view because we are playing with a lot of mental fragility now with OL/DL getting whupped today.

  5. MIKE, ALL I GOT TO SAY YOUR A SORE LOSER REGARDLESS WHAT THE FOOTBALL HAS DONE. I’M SO PROUD OF THIS TEAM AND WE WILL MARCH ON TO FINISH THE SEASON WITH MORE THAN WHAT WE EXPECTED. GOCATS

    1. Cats79
      Do what you want and say what you want. It is no skin off my teeth. I don’t live and die or get up or down based what a bunch of kids do; especially, since they aren’t mine.
      I have never acted liked someone else could not have their own opinion. Too bad you can’t do the same.
      I have said over and over that I really like the defense; I even said I hoped UK could win this game. The only thing I have said is that it is so disappointing that since we have such a great defense, the OC can’t even come up with an option to the run game. He doesn’t trust his own players.
      If you listened to the game, the TV announcers said the same thing. They basically said UK had no offense. I guess you need to write them a note also so everyone can be on your page.

  6. Cats 79….Yes, I am a damn sore loser and don’t see that changing anytime soon. We are not playing our best and hope we get our edge back in Knoxville. With UK football history, you can’t take too much for granted. I just hope we don’t flame out like we did 2nd half last year. My greatest concern is the OL play of late with the talent and experience up there.

  7. My wife and I are retired in Sarasota, FL.
    We hope UK plays in the Citrus Bowl.
    If they make it there, so will we !!!

  8. Yuck. But still love my Cats. Let’s win out.

    GO CATS !

  9. To much Georgia. UK had enough offense to win this game, Their defense and special teams lost this one. If UK plays like they did yesterday they will not win at Knoxville either. I thought Wilson played pretty well, but took to many sacks. UK simply could not run the football, and their defense was AWOL.

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