Kentucky Football: Wildcats loss to Vols hard to swallow in so many ways

Kentucky wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson
Kentucky wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson /
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Kentucky football
Kentucky’s Izayah Cummings /

The Kentucky football offense had been MIA, but resurfaced with a fight

Tired of hearing all the negatives about their turnovers, poor execution, and failure to catch balls quarterback Will Levis, Chris Rodriguez, Kavoisey Smoke, and Wan’Dale Robinson were back with something to prove.

The execution that had been lacking was there. The fumbles were not. An interception proved costly. Rodriguez ran with a vengeance. The offense played with a purpose and chip on its shoulder, and the tight ends had balls thrown their way finally.

It’s honestly hard to put much blame on this group. They truly played their hearts out.

Rodriguez carried it 22 times for 109 yards without losing any, while Smoke spelled him and churned out 53 yards on 11 carries and a 9-yard touchdown.

Instead, it was  Levis back with confidence and the will to win much like Gene Hackman told Shane Falco in the Replacements. “Winners always want the ball.”

Levis did it on the ground and in the air.

On the ground, he tucked it 15 times and ran for 72 yards including two touchdowns, one that was acrobatic and phenomenal to watch as he thrust himself over the defense at the goal line and into the endzone. Shades of another UK quarterback hurdle from Stephen Johnson against the Vols.

Levis found 7 different receivers in the game with at least one catch finishing 32 of 50 for 397 yards with Robinson, Izahah Cummings, and Justin Rigg each pulling one in for a touchdown. Levis himself even caught a 15-yard pass from receiver Chauncey Magwood.

With this effort, they honestly deserved a better outcome and Stoops praised the fight they showed.

"“Yeah. That. I think it was obvious, you know, during the game, time of possession was kind of meaningless because we weren’t getting stops. And then when we did get a stop or two, we just — we’ve got to be good enough to go down and score right there at the end. And we were close. We were close. We were really, really close to getting it — finishing it off. And I love the way our team fought back on those.”"

Levis at the end showed just how much the loss hurt as he hung his head on the sideline as he watched Tennessee run out the clock.