I really don't know what to say. Some years are just like this, and there is really no way to explain it.
Congratulations to South Carolina. They exploited our weaknesses in the secondary due to injury, and managed to get UK to go to their backup quarterback, and UK just didn't have enough to overcome the setbacks. South Carolina did a really good job in the passing game, and even though they made a ton of errors that nearly cost them the game, they were able to overcome adversity and get the win.
For Kentucky, it is just one more in a seemingly endless line of "should have beens," not just against South Carolina but against almost every SEC team not named Vanderbilt. As a fan, I am so far beyond frustrated I thank heaven I have a laid-back psyche, because rabid UK football fans must be ready to commit seppuku in the face of yet another hard-luck loss by Kentucky.
But wasn't all hard luck, now was it? Who can explain Brooks' decision to let his second-string quarterback try to pass for the two-point conversion rather than run Randall Cobb in the Wildcat, the very thing that got them down the field and in a position to tie the game? Who can explain how Hartline, who hasn't been hit a dozen times this year and was having arguably the best game of his life, manages to get a freak knee injury? Who can explain how Kentucky, with a clear shot at Garcia and holding the Gamecocks to get the ball back with three minutes or so left managed to throw three bodies at him -- and miss?
None of it can be explained. It is deja vu all over again, second verse same as the first, been there done that. My explanation is that Steve Spurrier is actually the alien demon Cthulhu made flesh, capable of frightening even Lucifer himself. That, or he's just got Kentucky's number. Either way, the results are the same.
Anyway, here are my observations, for what they are worth:
- Overall, very good playcalling, but the three or four bad calls really cost us. The crazy fake punt, not giving Cobb the shot at the 2-point conversion, the inexplicable timeout that cost us a first down.
- A five yard punt? Really?
- Where the heck was Norwood? I know -- he was being de-cleated by John Conner. Maybe Connor really is The Terminator. Conner is the greatest blocking back I have ever seen on any Kentucky team at any time. Of course, I don't watch that much football, so that doesn't mean one heck of a lot.
- Great game by Hartline. He made virtually zero bad decisions. Made a couple of bad throws. A pity we won't be seeing him (most likely) for the rest of this year.
- Will Fidler has a good arm, but there is a reason he is the backup. That reason showed.
- Randall Cobb. Scary. We need much more Cobb.
- Another great game by Derrick Locke. The guy just makes plays.
- Injuries killed us, but they are part of football. I still want to bemoan our fate on that, though. Kentucky's football history is star-crossed enough without losing both starting corners and having your freshman backup burned repeatedly for touchdowns. Three of them, to be exact. Do you think that would have happened vs. Lindley? Not likely.
- Our lines are playing great football right now, on both sides of the ball. Our secondary couldn't tackle a tackling dummy
- What the heck was going on with our kickoff coverage?
- We won the turnover battle. Gotta give kudos for that. The forced fumble on Stephen Garcia was a great play. The INT was a stupid play by Garcia, and a good catch by Sam Maxwell.
- Lones Siber did another really good job. Maybe the boy has come around.
- Big plays cost the 'Cats, big plays that could have been prevented.
Another "moral victory." How nice. Just what I wanted.
On the bright side, Kentucky played reasonably well, and could have won the game, and it wasn't bad coaching or bad execution that cost them. The other team just made more plays, and took advantage of the circumstances that presented themselves. Despite major injury problems, we competed and had a chance to win. I suppose that will have to be enough, since a post-game forfeit by USC seems unlikely.
On to the Plains to meet a pretty mad Auburn team. Sounds like fun to me!