Kentucky coach Mark Stoops says loss to Tennessee left entire team frustrated, baffled
Kentucky outgained Tennessee by 31 yards and doubled the Volunteers in time of possession. The Wildcats didn’t lose the turnover battle either, but somehow, Tennessee still won, 17-13.
The loss left Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops searching for answers the rest of the weekend. Because of multiple injuries, Stoops has been forced to turn to wide receiver Lynn Bowden at quarterback, but Kentucky’s has turned into a dominant option-running team.
Against Tennessee, Kentucky rushed for 302 yards. In the final 21 and a half minutes, the Wildcats outgained the Volunteers, 137-26.
“Every week, we look at the best opportunity to win, and if you look at a big portion of that game, and you just look at the drive chart, it frustrates or baffles all of us how you lose a game like that,” Stoops said in his Monday press conference.
Despite not really having a quarterback, Kentucky moved the ball throughout the day. The Wildcats ran at least nine plays on each of their final three drives, but they came up with zero points on those possessions. Each one ended in a turnover on downs.
The last drive stalled at the Tennessee 2-yard line.
“You look at the possessions and you look at where we went, we had one three-and-out all day,” Stoops said. “We only had one three-and-out. After that, we only had three more drives.”
“That’s a lot of good against a good defensive team. It’s just a matter of finding some explosive plays.”
The loss to Tennessee has left many to wonder if Kentucky will stick with Lynn behind center. The Wildcats only recorded 25 yards on seven pass attempts.
Stoops sounded like he wished he given graduate transfer Sawyer Smith move of a chance at signal caller Saturday, but he also acknowledged its easy to play ‘Monday morning quarterback.’
“When you have nine possessions in a game, it’s a lot easier to say after the fact, ‘Hey, give Sawyer three series.’ But every play, every series is so important, and again, with Lynn, we’ve been very effective moving the football.”