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  • Brutal Loss to Ole Miss

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    Freshman receiver Isaiah Epps had his most productive game at Kentucky Saturday against Mississippi.

    Epps had two catches for 24 yards in Kentuckyís first eight games. He didnít figure to be the player to make a game-changing play but he did exactly that in the final seconds of the first half when he outfought an Ole Miss defender to make a 28-yard catch at the UK 1-yard line that set up Benny Snellís touchdown.

    It enable UK to take a 20-17 halftime lead that was extended to 27-17 on UK's first series in the second half. That should have propelled UK to it seventh win. Instead, the Cats collapsed first on offense and then defense and lost 37-34.

    "Itís a tough loss. We played well the whole game. I mean, we were up by a pretty decent amount and then just little plays down the stretch just slipped away from us at the end. But I think weíll come back ready for the next one," Epps said. "Definitely thought we had the game won and even on that fumble (by the Ole Miss quarterback), that was ruled a fumble on the field, we thought that would seal the deal.Ē

    Tight end C.J. Conrad had gone four games without catching a ball. He not only had five catches for 75 yards, but one was a 46-yard touchdown. But again, there was no reason for Conrad to feel good about it because UK lost.

    ďNo doubt, itís crushing, but every lose hurts and weíve got to get over it and get back to work," Conrad said. "It hurts to lose that way, but at the end of the day its one loss. Itís the same as losing to Mississippi State, we got to watch some film, move on and get better.

    "This is a league where you canít hold your head down. I mean, you have to keep your head up because itís a grown manís league and you canít pout. We have to get over it. Itís going to suck tonight, tomorrow, but come Monday we got to watch some film and get back to work because we have a great opponent come next Saturday (at Vanderbilt). So we have to get this off us right away.Ē

    Linebacker Josh Allen said losing on the final play of the game like UK did hurts because the Cats practice on situations just like that daily.

    "That guy (receiver D.K. Metcalf) made a heck of a catch," Allen said. "Next week is a big game for us. Itís a game we have to win. Itís a conference game so we can go 7-3. We are going to have to start tomorrow. Everybody gets treatment so that when Monday comes we can roll around and get it started over again.

    ďI think we are a strong team. We are built for this. Like I said last week, this is new Kentucky ... we arenít like old Kentucky. We are here to make changes and compete our butt off every week. Next week we are giving it everything we got because we have to get it done.Ē

    Josh Allen is wrong about one thing -- Saturday night was like "old Kentucky" turning a near certain win into a loss. And remember UK almost did it a week earlier, too, when Tennessee's Hail Mary pass that would have won the game came up just a few yards short of the end zone.

    That's why it was surprising what sophomore running back Benny Snell, who had a great game with 176 yards rushing and three scores, said after the game. Or at least it was to me.

    ďNot that crushing. Every loss is the same to me," Snell said about the loss. "Next week Iím going to try to do even better than I did this week, just like I did before. Losses are hard on us and on me especially, but (coach Mark) Stoops is going to get us together and we are going to learn and win next week.Ē

    But quarterback Stephen Johnson, who blamed himself for the loss despite playing in obvious pain the second half, made it clear that Snell took the loss a lot harder than he maybe showed.

    ďBenny did incredible. Iím so proud of him," Johnson said. "I talked to him afterwards and told him to keep his head up because he puts his heart and soul into it. You can tell that this loss hit him the hardest even though he did so well. I told him to keep his head up.Ē

    Linebacker Courtney Love tried to tell the defense the same thing. I'm just not sure UK fans will quite understand his message.

    ďItís football. Youíre going to have those days where maybe your pass defense isnít as great or your run defense isnít as great, but we have to rally together as a team and just get stronger," Love said after UK gave up 473 yards and an average of 7.1 yards per play.

    So what can the defense do to fix the problems?

    "Maybe playing harder on a play or seeing our coverage, just stuff like that. We need to start doing the things that we know we can do. Itís nothing in particular, itís just football and we have to get better at what we do," Love said.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Brutal Loss to Ole Miss started by Darrell KSR View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. kingcat's Avatar
      kingcat -
      Feel sorry for those young men. Tough loss
    1. Catfan73's Avatar
      Catfan73 -
      Win three, lose one, win two, lose one, win one, lose one....What's next in the progression? Win zero, lose one. Hello Liberty Bowl.