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Dan Mullen says Kentucky “should be a ranked team”

Kentucky fans thought UK had Florida beat Saturday. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky fans today are obviously still trying to comprehend how the Cats got outscored 19-0 by No. 9 Florida in the fourth quarter Saturday night and lost 29-21.

It was a game Kentucky could have won so easily — and no matter what anyone thought of two key targeting calls against the Cats, UK did have a 21-10 lead and fourth down and one at the Florida 38 to start the fourth quarter.

Florida coach Dan Mullen reminded everyone after the game that last year the Gators had a fourth-quarter lead before Kentucky rallied to win — the opposite scenario from Saturday night’s game. However, Mullen also said other things that UK fans should note.

“Offensively, we killed ourselves with some penalties so that was kind of disappointing. But we found a way to win and we didn’t do that last year and that’s a big win,” Mullen said.

“That’s an excellent football team. Hard-pressed to tell me there’s 25 better teams in the country than Kentucky. They should be a ranked team.

“Mark’s done a great job with the program, I mean look at the talent, the guys they have out there on the field. They’re big, they’re physical, they play hard, they’ve got playmakers.”

One of the best playmakers was quarterback Sawyer Smith, who was making his first start in place of injured Terry Wilson. He was 23 of 35 passing for 267 yards and two scores but did throw three interceptions, including one on UK’s final play of the game.

Kentucky missed a 35-yard field goal that could have won the game and junior running back A.J. Rose, who was stopped on a crucial fourth down play to start the fourth quarter, said it was a “tough” way for the Cats to lose.

“You’re up in the fourth quarter and then not walking away with the W, it’s pretty hurtful. It comes down to a couple of plays we should’ve made and some things we have to get better on defense and change and you just have to move on to the next week,” Rose said.

Kentucky will play at Mississppi State, which was upset by Kansas State Saturday, this week.

“We just have to come in and watch film on who we have next week, prepare, get a game plan down, and just go into that game and take what we have from this game and come out with a W. We can’t go backwards; everything is about going forward,” Rose said.

He says younger teammates have to understand the loss was just one game, not a season.

“You win some, and you lose some. You can’t win every game and even though it was a tough loss and we should’ve won the game, things happen, and things don’t always go your way,” Rose said.
 

 

2 comments

  1. They are still Florida and we are still Kentucky. Is there any other team that does a better job snatching defeat than we do? We have mastered the art. This loss will have season altering and bowl implications. We have a coaching staff that continues to play not to lose and now it appears we may have a kicker that kicks not to miss. He must have inherited the deer in headlights look from Stoops. The DL played well at line of scrimmage but needed to get more pressure on QB and do a better job with outside contain. The OL did a great job protecting Sawyer but didn’t do a good enough job opening up holes up the middle. We could not find an answer for Reese and that is troubling. We had a chance to move deeply into the Top 20 and replace a team that probably really isn’t a Top 10 team, but we locked them in for at least another week. We have a secondary that now looks doomed for the whole year because they are so inexperienced, short on talent, and can’t cover and stay in area of responsibility. The last series before the half and first series second half should have been game changers but conservative play calling reared its ugly head. Why Gran/Stoops continued to pound the middle when nothing there all night continues to bewilder. We didn’t see much fire the first quarter and no SMOKE, and that is bewildering as well. It is also bewildering that we haven’t seen Rodriguez for 2 straight weeks because our esteemed offensive staff wants to keep him in doghouse. Wagner will continue to be our offensive MVP and we will be in good shape with Sawyer, but he will have to contain the intercepts. We do need to increase our consumption of Kaviosey. The new streak begins for Florida.

  2. This was a game we should have won, even though most thought we wouldn’t, including me. Now, we have to win all of our must win games to get a decent bowl game. Getting outscored 19 – 0 in the fourth quarter by a backup quarterback should set off alarms in every phase of our game. On to Miss. St. We won’t beat Georgia…get real, we just won’t. The rest of our games are winnable Miss. St., Missouri, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt are toss ups, the rest are should wins and MUST wins. If we win 2 of the toss ups and all 4 of the MUST wins, we can play a bowl game somewhere else than Nashville or Memphis.

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