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Kentucky Football: Takeaways from the loss to Georgia

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Kentucky’s loss was heartbreaking, but here are some takeaways that aren’t entirely negative.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the SEC East dream was fun while it lasted.

The 27-24 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs spells the end of Kentucky’s SEC East hopes, which means it’s now on to becoming eligible. The Cats are still just one win away from making a bowl game. Kentucky’s loss was unfortunate, given the excitement with Commonwealth Stadium being sold out. The receivers struggled, the playcalling was questionable at times, and the SEC East is likely out of the question now. However, the Cats had a great environment to play in, and Benny Snell and Boom Williams were spectacular when used. Here are some takeaways from the loss.

The environment was great

I’ll start with the biggest positive; Commonwealth Stadium’s environment was probably the best it’s been in years. They sold out, they had pom-poms, the crowd was loud, the whole nine yards. The sell-out crowd would’ve preferred a win (obviously), but it’d be great to see the Commonwealth Stadium environment like that for the remaining home game against Austin Peay.

The receivers had some dreadful moments

Jeff Badet’s dropped-touchdown-turned-interception was perhaps the most crushing moment of the game, and it was just one of multiple big drops. The receivers were praised constantly about how much more consistent they’d been early on in the year, but the receivers struggled mightily this week, and it was one of the crushing factors in this game.

The playcalling was questionable

Kentucky’s offensive playcalling wasn’t perfect by any means. The wildcat is great with Benny Snell, but you can only run it so much before the defense breaks through. Running that formation too many times on the goal line wasn’t the best idea, and it resulted in Kentucky choking away a chance at the lead (potentially a game-winning lead). On top of that, Snell awkwardly disappeared for a certain stretch of the second half, which didn’t really make any sense. He had the hot hand for most of the night as usual, but didn’t get the ball enough in the second half.

The offense couldn’t stay on the field

This may have been partly due to playcalling, but the offense put the defense in a bad situation by not being able to stay on the field. A couple bad drives had the defense out on the field way too much, and they were gassed. In the second half, Kentucky had five drives that ended on the first set of downs. As a result, Kentucky’s defense was tired and allowed Georgia to go 67 yards and score on each of their last two drives.

Benny Snell was still great

Snell may not have been used perfectly tonight, but he still went off. He had 21 carries for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns, so it was a normal day at the office for him. He had some great third down runs, and powered into the end zone ass he often does. Had he been a bigger impact in the second half, Kentucky would’ve had a much better chance at the win.

By the way, here’s an example of Snell running hard on third down.

The SEC East is pretty much out of the question

Like I said, the dream was fun while it lasted. A win would have put the Cats at No. 1 in the SEC East, but with a loss, Florida has to lose out and Kentucky has to beat Tennessee. It’s going to take a miracle and then some, but I suppose we shouldn’t lose hope just yet. Nonetheless, the Cats are now more focused on becoming bowl eligible, which will hopefully be the case after they play Austin Peay in a couple weeks.