The SEC is playing a conference-only schedule this fall, we know this. Ten games to decide the champion (11 with the SEC Title game). Kentucky’s chances of going 5-5 likely went down in flames in their overtime loss at home to Ole Miss.
Mental errors and underwhelming play in the secondary kept the Mississippi team in the game, despite the running power Kentucky put on display.
UK running backs, led by Chris Rodriguez, would rush for over 400 yards against this young Ole Miss defense. Rodriguez would end up with 133 yards on 17 carries with 2 touchdowns.
Quarterback Terry Wilson added 129 yards on 22 carries and 3 scores. Asim Rose added 117 yards on 12 rushes and 1 score. Kavosiey Smoke would be injured in the game but was able to add 29 yards on 5 rushes.
Not many mistakes in the passing game, but as usual, there were a lot of opportunities to stretch the field. Wilson was 14/18 (three of those were drops, and one was a throwaway) for 151 yards.
Josh Ali led the way 7 catches and 88 yards.
The flipside of that was the Kentucky defense, and how they were able to curtail the Runnin’ Rebs rushing attack. Holding their totals to less than 140 yards, although they did give up two scores on the ground.
Quarterback Matt Corral did have a nice day throwing the ball. He finished 24/29, 325 yards and 4 touchdowns, with no interceptions. The UK defense was able to get Corral down twice, but the secondary wasn’t doing enough to keep receivers covered.
The secondary has to get better. The defensive line can get pressure, but if there are open receivers down the field, the passer doesn’t have to hold the ball very long, and our rush cannot reach him.
The bone-headed plays, that led to another controversial call where it seemed as if our guy was in the endzone, but the touchdown was called back. Missing kicks at the worst times. These are more mental errors that can only be mitigated by time.
Ole Miss is young. Our experience in key spots should have been enough for us to get the win in our home opener. But it wasn’t. This Kentucky football team is just not ready to win the important games. Getting closer, but not quite there yet.
Kentucky has Mississippi State next week, Tennessee after that. Georgia after that. Then we finish up with Missouri before the bye week.
We said that we would know exactly what kind of team we had during the MSU game, and if the first two weeks have any indications, we already know.
We really needed to come away 4-2 before the bye, to get to 6-4 by the end of the season, but losing to Ole Miss has all but ended that result. At 0-2, heading into Mississippi State, likely to come away with a third loss.
We’ll go to Tennessee at 0-3. The way the Volunteers have been playing, that’s likely another loss.
Don’t get me started on Georgia. Missouri may be our first win of the year, and we will go into the bye at 1-5. Out of the bye, we begin with Vandy. That could be win number two for our Cats.
But then, it’s Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina.
Losing to Auburn and Ole Miss to start the season off has set us back, and I simply don’t see a way to achieve a 5-5 record.
Mental errors and mistakes by the secondary must be fixed. Let’s get some plays downfield. We have nothing to lose here. Open it up for Wilson. Now.
And, hopefully, we can get this season to at least look exciting. We have the physical talent. What we lack is mental. That comes from leadership and coaching.
The Kentucky football program really needs everyone to step it up.
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