Kentucky managed just three points and 217 yards of total offense in its 38-point loss to LSU in Death Valley Saturday night. The offense did not look sharp, but LSU’s defense was also playing as fast and ferocious as it has all year, making Kentucky’s offense look even more inept. The Tigers front seven swallowed the Wildcats run game, limiting the Cats to just 71 yards on 27 carries, an average of 2.6 yards per carry. Quarterback Patrick Towles barely completed 50 percent of his passes (19 of 36), and averaged fewer than 5 yards per completion. Kentucky was just 5 of 17 on third downs, and lost the time of possession battle by more than five minutes. The lone bright spot for the Cats was their zero turnovers on the night, but the lack of turnovers didn’t keep LSU from dominating the game from start to finish.


The numbers say Kentucky’s defense was horrendous Saturday night, and while the defense certainly didn’t play well, it also got a bit of a raw deal. The Cats’ special teams gave LSU short fields time and time again, and the offense failed to alter field position or sustain drives to give the defense a breather. With that said, the defense still allowed LSU to run up 308 yards on the ground at six yards per carry, allowing the Tigers to maintain a deliberate advantage for most of the night. LSU threw for just 120 yards, committed 10 penalties for 79 yards and even committed a turnover (a Marcus McWilson interception), yet it still controlled the game from start to finish. The Wildcats’ defense was its best unit in a losing effort, and it did some nice things, but like the rest of the team it was overmatched from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.


The defense looked shaky, the offense was even worse, but neither unit was anywhere near as bad as Kentucky’s special teams were all game long. The Wildcats allowed LSU to return the opening kickoff beyond midfield (with help from a facemask penalty), and that return set up a touchdown on the opening drive. LSU also ran a punt back for a touchdown in the first quarter, and recovered a bizarre onside kick late in the half to tack on three more points before the break. Kentucky started too many drives inside its own 15 yard line, and didn’t break a long return all game. Even normally solid punter Landon Foster averaged just 40 yards per punt on eight attempts, failing to land a single kick inside the Tigers’ 20 yard line. There wasn’t a single bright spot on Kentucky’s special teams, and it held back the team’s offense and defense as well in a deflating loss. This is Kentucky’s first F in any area this season, but it’s justified.


Kentucky had a lot of obstacles in its way Saturday night, bringing a young team into a hostile environment under the lights in Death Valley. But the Kentucky coaches did not do a great job of preparing the team for what it faced in Baton Rouge, as the Cats looked overwhelmed and lacked composure for most of the game. LSU routinely beat Kentucky to spots on the field, and while the Cats looked lost the Tigers appeared more prepared than they had in any game this season. To be fair, this was Mark Stoops’ first game as a head coach in Death Valley, but the Cats’ deficiencies were more than the result of a lack of talent. These two teams are not far apart in terms of talent, but one looked far better prepared and far more confident than the other. Kentucky’s coaches must do a better job of preparing the team for its final five games against four SEC foes and arch-rival Louisville.


Kentucky lost 41-3 to an unranked team, and was beaten in every phase of the game in the process. The Cats have few positives to lean on going forward, justifying it’s D performance grade. For the first time all season, the Cats were out-played by an opponent, and it had an obvious effect on the team as the rout progressed. Kentucky’s showing in Baton Rouge wasn’t a complete failure, but it was close.