September 2019 archive

Mark Stoops: Coaches, players won’t panic like fans have; Sawyer Smith, Chance Poore injury updates

Chance Poore has missed three field goals the last two games and hurt his leg at Mississippi State, so Matt Ruffalo has been elevated to No. 1 kicker as of today. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON — Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and the Wildcats aren’t in a state of panic after opening Southeastern Conference play with two straight losses.

The Kentucky coach assured the team’s fan base — mostly critics — of better days ahead following losses to Florida and Mississippi State, respectively. He said the thought of naysayers giving up on the team four weeks into the season “seems a little crazy to me” and doesn’t see the Wildcats “falling into a losing mentality.”

Mark Stoops on Kash Daniel: “Our players are going to respect the game.”

Kentucky’s game captains against Mississippi State did not include Kash Daniel. (Vicky Graff Photo)


What impact, if any, did not starting senior linebacker Kash Daniel for disciplinary reasons have on Kentucky’s 28-13 loss at Mississippi State Saturday?

And when did Kentucky coach Mark Stoops know Daniel was not going to play since he said on Thursday he expected him to be out there with no mention of a suspension or not letting him be a game captain for this game?

John Calipari moves on, offers 2021 guard Jaden Hardy

John Calipari. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Give Kentucky coach John Calipari for maybe being as active with recruiting as he has been in his 10 years at Kentucky.

As soon as he got a commitment from guard Terrence Clark and he reclassified from the 2021 to the 2020 recruiting class, he cut ties with guards Jalen Green and Josh Christopher. Not sure any other school in the country would have done that because they are both top five players in the 2020 class. However, Calipari correctly — in my estimation — figured those two high-powered eventually would pick other schools since UK also has a commitment from 2020 guard Brandon Boston.

Mark Stoops expects “dinged up” Sawyer Smith to start at South Carolina

Sawyer Smith (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

Mark Stoops was surprised quarterback Sawyer Smith returned to the field for the second half of Saturady’s loss at Mississippi State after taking a shot to his shoulder at the end of the first half.

Smith threw for 232 yards in his second start as Kentucky’s starting quarterback. He attempted 41 throws and completed 15 of those passes.

“I thought he was done,” Stoops said. “(He) came back and gutted it out and really gave us everything he had there in the second half. But he was dinged up with his shoulder.”

Kentucky softball sweeps Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Led by senior second baseman Alex Martens and freshman outfielder Rylea Smith, the Kentucky Softball team went to Ann Arbor, Michigan and earned a three-game sweep over the Michigan Wolverines over the weekend, winning twice on Saturday and once on Sunday in the series finale.

“I thought we were really steady and showed a lot of composure all weekend,” Rachel Lawson said. “We did a great job of communicating all three games. The pitching staff showed a lot of command of the zone and I love how we ended all three games on momentum-killing plays with two double plays and a strikeout.”

Former UK-Louisville MVP’s son has Kentucky scholarship offer

Dane Key, center, has a scholarship offer from Mark Stoops.


Linebacker Donte Key helped Kentucky beat Louisville 20-14 in 1994 in the first meeting between the two in-state rivals in 70 years. He set up the game-winning touchdown with a fumble recovery and intercepted a pass to secure the win and earn game MVP honors.

“That Louisville game comes up a lot when I am talking to different people,” Donte Key, now an assistant coach at Frederick Douglas High School, said. “It was a huge thing playing Louisville and made for some great memories. You really cherish those times as you get older.

Freshman QB Amani Gilmore could “eventually be special” but also could be forced into action this year

Amani Gilmore (Vicky Graff Photo)


It’s still not likely that Kentucky will need to play true freshman quarterback Amani Gilmore but after the season-ending injuries to starter Terry Wilson and true freshman Nik Scalzo , the Cats are down to three quarterbacks — Sawyer Smith , Walker Wood and Gilmore. And Smith played with a “dinged shoulder” the second of Saturday’s loss at Mississippi State according to coach Mark Stoops.

Smith is  UK’s starter and Wood, a redshirt sophomore with no experience , is the backup and was warming up Saturday when Smith’s second-half availability was in doubt. However, Wood has also been plagued by injuries his first two years at UK.

Kentucky-Mississippi State Photo Gallery by Vicky Graff

UK-Mississippi State postgame notes, numbers

Logan Stenberg looks at the scoreboard after Saturday’s loss. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Kentucky at Mississippi State

Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Miss.

Sept. 21, 2019

FINAL SCORE: Mississippi State 28, Kentucky 13

Team Records and Series Information

  • Kentucky is 2-2, 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference.  Mississippi State is 3-1, 1-0 in the league.
  • Mississippi State leads the series, 24-23.
  • Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats have their only back-to-back road games of the season as UK visits South Carolina on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. It will be televised on the SEC Network.

Tough start, dropped passes, missed tackles doomed Cats in 28-13 loss at Mississippi State

Mississippi State fans got to ring their cowbells a lot Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Doesn’t matter if the talent level at Kentucky has improved because to win games players still have to make plays — and Kentucky didn’t do enough of that at Mississippi State Saturday.

It started when quarterback Sawyer Smith, making his first SEC road start, threw an interception that was returned for a score.

“You just can’t start that way. We were off to a good start and felt comfortable,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said after his team’s 28-13 loss. “It just never felt the same from that moment on. It was a tough way to start.”