It seems almost impossible to break someone's heart twice.
However, Kentucky fans will tell you it's not. With a last-second loss to Florida earlier this season, Kentucky experienced another last-second debacle from their defense Saturday night. The Ole Miss Rebels, who trailed 27-17 at one point, outscored the Kentucky Wildcats 10-7 in the 4th quarter to win 37-34.
Rebels Quarterback Jordan Ta'Amu threw the game-winning touchdown with just five seconds left to ultimately seal Kentucky's fate. The Wildcats fall to 6-3 on the season, with two home debacles to 4-5 teams. It may seem impossible to find something positive following this kind of loss, but somehow I've managed to do so.
Snell couldn't have had much better of a game. For what felt like a slow start to the season for Snell, he’s been highly productive in Kentucky’s last two outings. Saturday night he had 28 carries for 176 yards & 3 TDs. Look for the Cats to pound the ball with Snell more down the stretch.
Coming off a game with four fumbles against Tennessee, Kentucky went the full 60 minutes without a turnover. Though forcing one on the final drive would've sealed the game, not committing one is still an improvement. Ball security will be essential down the stretch as they face more challenging defenses.
Getting Conrad Involved
I couldn’t be more critical of Eddie Gran for not involving Conrad more through these first eight games. However, Saturday night Conrad had five catches for 75 yards, including a touchdown catch that came from a play-cation pass from Stephen Johnson for 46 yards. Having Conrad involved, Kentucky’s biggest pass catcher & red zone target, will be crucial as the season goes on.
This has been my biggest issue with Kentucky all season. I've never seen an offensive coordinator go so conservative after getting a big lead. Eddie Gran is a good coach but has become like Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers when it comes to calling a game with a lead. All conservative, no stepping on the throat of his opponent. Kentucky has let their opponents get back into every single one of their games this season & it finally caught up to them. Playing with fire leads to burns and that's exactly what Kentucky got Saturday night. If the Wildcats want any chance at winning down the stretch, play-calling will most certainly have to improve.
The secondary gave up multiple big plays to the Rebels offense all night long. They could never get off the field, either. Though Ole Miss’s offense is certainly talented, it’s nothing like what Kentucky will face against Nick Chubb & Georgia, followed by Lamar Jackson & Louisville. Fixing big plays in practice, along with not missing tackles, should be two key points this week.
Kentucky goes to Vanderbilt next week for their 10th game of the season. At 6-3, they'll face a team coming off an impressive win over Western Kentucky University. Kick-off is set for 4 P.M. EDT in Nashville. The Wildcats currently have a 52.5% chance to win according to ESPN's Power Index.
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