Congratulations to the Mississippi St. Bulldogs. They did enough to win this game, and Kentucky continues to do just enough to lose. But the Bulldogs deserve credit for getting in there, fighting off the Kentucky Wildcats, and claiming their 7th win in 9 tries.
I have to be fair and say that the defense did not lose this game, as they have so many others. This time, the offense helped quite a bit. Dropped passes at critical times, an uncharacteristically jittery Mike Hartline, and overall lack of performance by the offensive line were big contributors to the loss. But credit MSU with some really good defensive play, particularly on the Hartline pass near the end of the first half, and getting in Hartline's face all night long.
I have to say that the defense stepped up overall tonight, and played a pretty good game by this year's standards. They still gave up three big plays, and were unable to make a stand when UK really needed it, but at least they did all they could to redeem themselves by holding the Dawgs to a 3 and out when they could have easily rolled over and died.
It's frustrating to be a Kentucky fan this year. This football team has so many weapons, yet they are incapable of sustaining effort throughout an entire game. For the defense, that is understandable -- they are very young, and youth is punished in the SEC. But the offense had a chance to win this game, and failed utterly by error, not by overwhelming opposition.
I suppose I should wax pragmatic and point out that losses on the road are expected in the SEC, especially against ranked teams. With that said, the fan in me wants to pull out my hair, swear bitterly, and stomp around the house in frustration. All of which I did tonight, and I'd be willing to bet that I wasn't the only one.
- This may have been one of Randall Cobb's best performances ever. Statistically, it was only so-so, but he made so many huge plays that looked small, I lost count.
- Mike Hartline was not sharp tonight, and I think he has been reading his press clippings. He simply did not take advantage of opportunities, and seemed awfully timid about the rush.
- To be fair, Mike had a lot of help. La'Rod King dropped a potential touchdown. Nick Melillo dropped a first down. Chris Matthews made a bad play and allowed an INT. It was a team effort in offensive failure.
- CoShik Williams really made an impact late in the game. Well done.
- Great job by the D on the last MSU possession. MSU had been moving the ball pretty well and had great field position, but this time the defense stood up and said, "This far, and no further." Good for them.
- UK could have used a couple of missed calls. But MSU probably had a couple too, so I don't blame the officiating.
- UK did not kill itself with penalties this time. But turnovers continue to plague the Wildcats. Kudos to Phillips for not jerking Raymond Sanders after his fumble. That was a good call.
- What the Hell is this suspension of players for a quarter or a half? This does more harm than good, in my view. Run them 'till their tongues hang out or sit them the whole game. Good grief.
- Punt coverage sucked tonight.
- Safety play was really weak tonight.
Well, just like the rest of you, I'm disappointed. Once again, UK surrendered a winnable game and it just makes me want to ... throw things. Fortunately, I know better than to do that, but I wish I were in a large warehouse with a concrete floor and lots of breakable items I could throw and hear a satisfying shatter.