Kentucky football heads into its bye week looking to change the recent trajectory of the season.
Head Coach @UKCoachStoops is on the watch list for the American Heart Association’s 2023 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) October 17, 2023
Sitting at 5-2, head coach Mark Stoops and the Wildcats started the season off blazing hot, winning their first five games. The past two weeks, however, haven’t been as kind, losing by multiple scores to both Georgia and Missouri. Stoops talked about his team heading into the break.
The Wildcats opened their season with a 44-14 drubbing of the Ball State Cardinals, a signal of what was to follow the next few weeks. They held this pace with multiple-score wins over the next few weeks against Eastern Kentucky, Akron and Vanderbilt. Then came week five and a marquee SEC matchup against the 3-1 Florida Gators. Kentucky made a statement that game, beating the Gators 33-14 in a contest that never looked close.
Transfer quarterback Devin Leary was managing the games and helping lead an offense averaging 37 points. Their running attack looked unstoppable against Florida, with running back Ray Davis going for 280 yards and three touchdowns. Kentucky was riding high heading into a matchup against the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs. They then ran into a brick wall.
Georgia shellacked Kentucky, winning 51-13 in a game that looked very different from the five prior. The Wildcats were outgained in total yardage 608-183, an unfamiliar sight for the team.
If there was any silver lining, though, it’s that Georgia did that to most teams they’ve faced. Kentucky had a chance to get right against Missouri the following week. They didn’t.
The Tigers beat the Wildcats 38-21. The running game looked good again, with Davis going for 128 yards. Leary struggled, throwing for only 120 yards and two interceptions.
Throughout their two-game losing streak, Kentucky’s penalty problem has reared its head. Stoops discussed his feelings about the struggles.
Look to the Future
This week, Kentucky has a chance to put their struggles in the past and work on getting better ahead of their matchup next Saturday against No. 17 Tennessee.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) October 16, 2023
The team will need to see Leary contribute the way he did the first five weeks of the season and hope Davis and the run game can get going again.
Stoops talked about the fine line between winning and losing and the plays that need to be made.