Share this:

Cats may have had faults but certainly did more good than Tennessee, South Carolina and Missouri did

Lynn Bowden had some dramatic catches for UK in its win over Toledo. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Maybe Kentucky’s opening 38-24 victory over Toledo was not quite as dominant as some Kentucky fans — or even coach Mark Stoops — might have wanted.

However, some other Southeastern Conference coaches certainly would be happy to be in Stoops’ shoes today and maybe Kentucky’s schedule does not look quite as daunting now.

Let’s start with South Carolina, a team UK has beat five straight years but was picked to finish higher than UK in the SEC Eastern Division. The Gamecocks opened their season losing 24-20 to rival North Carolina and South Carolina coach Will Muschamp certainly has to be on a real hot seat now. South Carolina has games with Georgia, Alabama, Texas A&M and Clemson left not to mention Florida and Tennessee — plus UK.

South Carolina let true freshman quarterback Sam Howell throw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to wipe out an 11-point Gamecock lead. North Carolina had two scoring drives over 90 yards in the second half.

Tennessee disaster

Next take a look at Tennessee, a team that beat UK last year and many felt might make a big jump this year. Instead, the Vols opened the season by losing 38-30 to 26-point underdog Georgia State. Yes, 26-point underdog Georgia State that went 2-10 last year came into Knoxville and won.

Former Danville all-state lineman Nathan Fuqua is the defensive coordinator at Georgia State. His mother, a 1970 Danville High School graduate just like me, was at the game and told me she never heard “Rocky Top” again after the midway point of the third quarter.

Georgia State had never beat a Power Five opponent and after losing its final seven games last year — all but one were by two touchdowns or more — this didn’t seem like the time to end the streak.

To make matters worse for the Vols, the announced crowd of 85,503 in the 102,000-seat stadium shrunk dramatically the second half and fans were active on social media after the game blasting second-year coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Tennessee quarterback Jared Guarantano didn’t mince words after the loss.

“I’m disgusted to be honest. I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I’m really upset right now, and I’m pissed” Guarantano said. “Why shouldn’t I be? We lost a game. Going into the season we had high expectations and none of those expectations go away. A lot of teams lose their first game and they go on and do so and so. We just have to go back to the drawing board and do a lot of film study and just clean it up.”

You think?

Missouri meltdown

Kentucky doesn’t play Mississippi but Ole Miss lost 15-10 at Memphis. The Cats do play Missouri, a team UK has beat four straight times and a team many feel can win at Kentucky this season. The Tigers were down 34-17 to Wyoming after three quarters even though Wyoming had just five pass completion — but  Wyoming did have two 100-yard rushers already — and eventually lost 37-3`.

So much for Clemson transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant being the savior for the Tigers this year because Missouri lost with him throwing for 423 yards while Wyoming threw for 92. And don’t forget that Missouri beat Wyoming 40-13 last year.

Perhaps that puts what Stoops had to say immediately after UK’s win in a little different perspective.

“It’s always a good thing when you walk in and you win by 14 points and you’re frustrated in a lot of ways, but that’s okay. We’re striving to be the best we can. We left a lot on that field, but we also did a lot of good things,” Stoops said.

Or certainly a lot more good things than Tennessee, South Carolin and Missouri did.

6 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. I’m glad UK won and I saw some good things and some things that need to be improved; that is usually the take away from most games, but especially the first game.
    However, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Toledo had not lost their QB??

  2. Very well said Mr. Vaught…If we continue to build on what we showed the 2nd half we should be fine. We saw saw some good passing, great receptions, and outstanding running. Pass protection was good most of the time and would like to see much better D line penetration than we saw. The secondary was as advertised but did show some reasons for optimism. The was a lot of creative play calling on many of the TV games yesterday……unfortunately Gran didn’t get the memo….or maybe still Stoops afraid to open thing up.

  3. Love the article. The offensive coordinator and Tee Martin from TN looked lost in the box when the cameras were on them.

    1. And I know you loved every minute of that Sarah

  4. Old Fan made the question of the game and Mike made the statement of the game. We needed this win and will need the next one too. The secondary for the most part, held its own but them losing their quarterback helped that. The defense gave up more rushing yards than I thought they would. The offense showed some promise. When will we start playing to win instead of playing not to lose?

  5. As for the article, those 3 teams definitely took a step back last Saturday. If we can take a few big steps forward, all 3 of those games could be wins. This is where coaching, or the lack of it, will become evident. Just because those 3 lost and we won doesn’t mean anything at the present, other than we have a more realistic opportunity to play in a decent bowl game this year. There is no reason why we can’t play a complete game like we played the 3rd quarter…unless our coaches step in and prevent it with “game management”

Leave a Reply