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4 more thoughts and postgame notes from Kentucky vs. Texas A&M

Kentucky came up short on the road in a tough environment.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Texas A&M John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

This on stings to say the least. Kentucky made the trip to College Station for a chance to become bowl eligible before the BYE week and to get off to a 6-0 start (4-0 SEC).

Unfortunately, the Cats came up short in a very tough environment.

The Cats’ defense had to play the first half of this one without linebacker Kash Daniel due to a targeting penalty that happened a week ago.

Out of the gate, the defense showed that it has enough depth to be able to handle Kash being out for a half, as they held the Texas A&M defense in check for majority of the half.

However, Kentucky’s offense wasn’t having the same success we have seen this season, as they fumbled the ball twice, but luckily they were able to pounce on them.

On the Cats’ third possession, they went 68 yards in 5 plays capped off with a 54-yard TD pass to Lynn Bowden to give the Cats a 7-0 lead on the road.

The defense did a good job all half, but with around 1:14 left in the half the Aggies were able to drive down the field and punch it in to make it a 7-7 ballgame heading into the locker room.

After the break, the defense continued to be outstanding throughout, but the offense never got it going and looked like a deer in headlights.

Kentucky’s offense only had 62 yards of offense in the second half and didn’t run a play in Aggie territory in the half.

Each team shut down the opposing offense until a lucky tip drill for the Aggies resulted in a TD to give the Aggies a 14-7 lead.

With the offensive struggles, the defense did the scoring for the Cats as Darius West picked up the Aggie fumble and returned it for a TD to make it 14-14.

Unfortunately in OT, Kentucky had a field goal come up just short and the Aggies punched it in to go on and win it 20-14.

Thoughts on the game

Benny Snell MUST get the ball!

All season what have we been talking about? Benny Snell Heisman chances. We have one of if not the best running backs in the country and on a third and two in OT the staff decides to not give him the ball.

After the game offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said, “Looking back on it, I should’ve probably handed 26 the ball.”

Benny was only given 13 carries on the night and had a season low 60 yards. He is averaging over 25 carries a game and giving him the ball got us to 5-0 and when we go away from that we lose.

Also, Benny was averaging 4.6 yards per carry and that is good enough to rack up first downs. Benny is our best player on offense and we need to give him the ball every chance we get.

The defense was outstanding

All season long Kentucky has shut down opponents with their great defensive play and that continued tonight. Texas A&M had the ball for over 34 minutes of play, but the defense stood tall and gave the Cats a great chance to win it.

The defense forced two turnovers and one was taken to the house for a TD and did their job all night holding A&M to just 14 points in regulation.

While the game goes down as a loss, this was one of, if not the best defensive performance we’ve seen from a Mark Stoops team at Kentucky. For them to play as well as they did for as long as they did while getting no help from their offense while also making the game-tying play, this was truly a special performance.

The missed holding penalties are getting ridiculous

Josh Allen is the best OLB in the country and no one has an answer for him off the edge. Nearly every play he is held in order to prevent the sack. However, the problem is they do not get called.

Multiple times tonight Allen was begging the officials to call holding and they didn’t call a single one all game. It doesn’t matter if they hold every play, the rules are the rules and they must call it when it happens to make it stop.

The offense...

All night, the offense looked like they were confused and were bullied throughout. Kentucky managed only 178 total yards, and 54 of those came on one play, the TD by Lynn Bowden. They had 108 passing yards and just 70 rushing yards.

Kentucky had just 8 first downs and Terry Wilson struggled the whole night with his decision making. Especially in OT, he must do anything to avoid a sack on third down, but he tried to do too much, and it costs them big time.

One positive note from the offense is they didn’t turn the ball over any, and that is something to build off, though they did have several fumbles they were able to recover.

Now, the Cats move to 5-1 on the year and will now enter their BYE week which is a necessity at this point to get players rested, healthy and to work on the issues that showed themselves in this one.

Now, here are the postgame notes, courtesy of UK Athletics:

Team Records and Series Information

  • Kentucky is 5-1, 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M is 4-2, 2-1 in the SEC.
  • Texas A&M leads the series 2-1. The teams had not played in 65 years, since the 1952 and ’53 seasons.
  • Next for the Wildcats: UK has an open date before playing host to Vanderbilt on Oct. 20.

Team Notes

  • This was UK’s first overtime game since defeating Eastern Kentucky in OT in 2015.
  • UK has allowed 83 points this season, fewest in the first six games of a season since 2008.
  • UK has allowed 53 points in four SEC games this season, fewest in the first four SEC games since 1977.
  • UK has allowed 20 points or less in all six games this season, first time since 1975 that UK has allowed six straight opponents to 20 or less.
  • UK had four quarterback sacks tonight, tying the season high.
  • UK had a season-high nine tackles for loss.

Player Notes

  • UK’s game captains were RB Benny Snell, OT George Asafo-Adjei and TE C.J. Conrad.
  • Sophomore quarterback Terry Wilson completed 65 percent of his passes (13 of 20) for 108 yards and one touchdown.
  • Junior running back Benny Snell Jr. led the Wildcat ground game with 13 rushes for 60 yards. He added four pass receptions for 18 yards.Has 3,123 career rushing yards, remaining in third place in UK history.
  • Sophomore wide receiver Lynn Bowden caught three passes for 55 yards and one touchdown.His 54-yard TD reception in the first quarter tied his career long, which came earlier this year at Florida.
  • Senior safety Darius West had a magnificent game, scoring a touchdown on a 40-yard fumble return, grabbing an interception, and leading the Wildcats with 10 tackles.He collected his third interception of the year early in the fourth quarter.
  • All three pickoffs have come in SEC games, also Florida and South Carolina.
  • Senior safety Mike Edwards had nine tackles, including three for loss.
  • Senior WR David Bouvier and freshman LB Chris Oats made their first collegiate starts.Oats got his first collegiate sack in the second quarter and ended the game with four tackles, including 1.5 for loss.