Kentucky football: Night of horror in blowout loss leaves season in serious flux

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports) /
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839. Final. 6. 833. 44

The Kentucky football team had sky-high hopes entering the season wanting to play for the Southeastern Conference East title, but going to Rocky Top the Wildcats were embarrassed 44-6 by No. 3 Tennessee, and finishing above .500 is now a concern.

Let’s just call it the Rocky Top Horror Show.

Kentucky (5-3, 2-3) even had a bye week to prepare for the potent and top-ranked offense in the country and yet completely mailed it in looking like a team that was reeling instead of prepared. Instead of taking steps forward, the Wildcats look like they are regressing much like the last season.

Wins over Florida and Mississippi State no longer look glamorous and losses to Ole Miss, South Carolina and now Tennessee leaves them in fourth place in the SEC East. They are actually tied with South Carolina, but since they lost to the Gamecocks that puts them in fourth.

Going to Missouri next week looks scarier now and No. 1 Georgia in two weeks is frightening. That only leaves Vanderbilt whom the Cats never play well against and a Louisville team that blew out No. 10 Wake Forrest earlier in the day after trailing 14-13 at the half but rolled with a 35-point third-quarter outburst.

What is clear is that Kentucky fans are not very happy right now as the freak show that is the kicking game was on display once again; the offensive line was woeful and the dreadful playing calling of offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello is becoming a hot topic of what a bad hire he was.

Quarterback Will Levis was set to duel Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker in front of representatives of some 17 NFL teams, but Levis had one of the worst performances of his career completing just 16 of 27 passes for a paltry 98 yards and throwing three interceptions.

He doesn’t deserve all the blame that also falls on poor play calling, dropped passes, and a bad game plan, and Levis just doing all he can to try and win and forced some throws.

Here are my quick takeaways from the Rocky Top nightmare.

No. 1 Mark Stoops football teams are not prepared after bye weeks

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, genius, or football aficionado to know that teams should use their bye weeks to get healthy, refocus and take the extra week to prepare for your next opponent who normally doesn’t get that same week off.

For some reason coach, Mark Stoops doesn’t seem to have much success in this category. Why not is something he clearly needs to take a look at and explain? Looking at the past 10 seasons his teams are 5-5 including this year.

However three of those wins were against Vanderbilt – barely and a four-point win over Arkansas and two points over Mississippi State. Three of the losses were basically blowouts.

2022 Game 8 lost 44-6 to Tennessee

2021 Game 5 lost  22-19 to Mississippi State

2020 Game 7 beat Vanderbilt 38-35

2019 Week 6 beat Arkansas 24-20

2018 Week 7 beat Vanderbilt 14-7

2017 Week 7 lost to Mississippi State 45-7

2016 Week 7 beat Mississippi State 40-38

2015 Week 6 lost 30-27 to Auburn

2014 Week 4 beat Vanderbilt 17-7

2013 Week 4 lost 24-7 to Florida

There is no excuse not to be prepared to at least put up a fight against the Vols or have such close games in the past season. You and your staff have 14 days to get ready and everyone knew exactly what Tennessee would bring – and they did.