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 Head Coach Mark Stoops /

Mark Stoops was more aggressive than normal – maybe a bit too assertive

Stoops is not one to typically take a lot of chances, but he did late in the first half that cost the Wildcats a tie and the momentum.

Then in the closing Kentucky drive, he let his emotions get the better of him, and when he lost his mind and one of the officials flagged him for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike play.

I’ve said it all along someone in the UK media team needs to put together a montage of Stoops storming up and down the sidelines giving officials quite the earful.

With the first half winding down Kentucky got the ball with 1:16 to play and instead of killing the clock and going to the locker room tied at 21-21 Stoops and Liam Coen decided to run the offense knowing they would get the ball to start the second half.

That didn’t work and stalled after eight plays and covering just 36 yards giving the ball back to the Vols late and they capitalized.

"“Yeah. I wish I’d have punted it. Huh? You know, that’s why I punt normally. But I didn’t. But I thought we’d convert. And I thought it was calculated, again, the way we were not playing great defense, trying to be aggressive, trying to get some points there at the end of the first half. At the worst case scenario, I wanted to go in 21-21 because we were getting the ball to start the second half, and we’d been moving the ball very effective. And bad decision.”"

The Vols took over at the UK 39 and moved downfield with one timeout left. The killer blow was a Hooker pass to Cedric Tillman on the sideline with two seconds left going out of bounds at the Kentucky 26. That allowed Chase McGrath to knock a 43-yard field goal and the 24-21 halftime lead.

It backfired because UK for some reason pooch kicked the kickoff and the Vols started at midfield. A couple of plays later and a missed tackle gave up a 37-yard TD run by Jabari Small.

On the final drive of the second half, Levis appeared to get face masked and it wasn’t called sending Stoops into a frenzy. Coupled with the sack and a 15-yard penalty the Cats were desperate. Cummings thankfully came to the rescue with a great catch.

"“Number one, I don’t want to say anything about the missed call or any call, whether it was a missed call or not. But for myself, that’s still no excuse. I can’t do that. I can’t put that on our team in that situation. Thank God they bailed me out because we wouldn’t even have ran that play had we not been in that situation. That was only for desperation that type of play. So we got that back and got back to first down. Had our opportunity from there. So I appreciate the team bailing me out on that. But I can’t do that. And as far as, you know, the call or not call, things are going to happen. We have to overcome it and deal with it. I’m not going to sit here and give any headlines.”"

We love the fire coach, but that ate up valuable yardage we had to get back. Nor will we the poor clock management at the end of the first half.