By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky’s defense certainly played well enough for at least three quarters to give the Wildcats a chance to win at No. 10 Georgia Saturday night. However, no offense made it impossible for UK to win as the Cats fell 21-0 to Georgia.
Quarterback Lynn Bowden ran for 99 yards against a Georgia defense stacked to stop the run because he was only 2-for-15 passing for 17 yards — and both completions came after the Bulldogs had a 21-0 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Sawyer Smith, who started three games at quarterback after Terry Wilson went down with a season-ending knee injury, didn’t play for the second straight game. He did warm up on the sideline and Stoops said during the week he would be available, but he never played. ESPN also noted during the game that Smith had a “fractured wrist,” a diagnosis Stoops had never given when detailing Smith’s physical woes the last few weeks, including the bye week.
“It’s tough for me to continue answering questions about this with you all (in the media), you know what I mean,” Stoops said after the game. “I’m not trying to withhold information, you know me. I’m very up front and try to be as honest as I can.”
Stoops said Smith was “close” to being ready. If he could play, Bowden could return to receiver — the spot he has played at UK for 2 1/2 years before starting at quarterback last week in a win over Arkansas.
However, Stoops said on a “cold, rainy, miserable” night it was tough to take a chance with Smith.
“He would go. You saw him play in the South Carolina game. He would go if his arm was falling off,” Stoops said. “I can’t do that to him again.”
That’s Stoops basically admitting that Smith should not have played against Mississippi State when he could barely throw or run.
“He would go and then maybe take one more hit and be out another four to five weeks. We were in a tough spot,” Stoops said.
The Kentucky coach said it knew going against Georgia’s defense in any conditions would be a “tough grind” for his team.
“We did what we did. We gave ourselves the best option we felt like we had at that point,” Smith said.