Kentucky Football: Wildcats Upset by WKU 32-31 in OT

Nick NafpliotisCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2012

Sept 15, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers running back Antonio Andrews (5) runs for a touchdown against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium. Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

If University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips was on the hot seat before, than he's sitting in pure fire now. The Wildcats' were handed an embarrassing home loss against another in-state school, this time from the Sun Belt conference. Just about everything that could go wrong for the Cats (including giving up a two-point conversion in overtime on a trick play) did.

It looks like the Big Blue Nation is in for a very long SEC schedule.


The Good

  • With Raymond Sanders suspended (violation of team rules) and CoShik Williams suffering another injury, Jonathan George made the most of his opportunity to play. The junior often seemed to be carrying the entire offense by himself, gaining 105 total yards and scoring three touchdowns.
  • LaRod King (10 receptions, 82 yards) led a solid effort for the UK receivers. While their statistics weren't as gaudy as last week (and there were more missed routes and dropped passes), they still made plays that definitely would not have happened last season. 
  • Demarcus Sweat made an incredible catch and run with 24 seconds left in the game to tie up the score and send the game into overtime.


The Bad

  • Where to start...the Wildcats set the tone for an upset early by allowing the Hilltoppers to jump out to an early 17-0 lead in the first half.
  • Aside from George's performance, the ground game was terrible; UK rushed for only 41 total yards on the evening.
  • The offensive line's struggles didn't end there, either. Quarterback Maxwell Smith spent much of the second half under pressure or on the ground.
  • In addition to getting pounded late in the game, Smith struggled with accuracy more than anyone would have expected, going 37-of-60 with four interceptions (three of which were made by Jonathan Dowling).
  • The defensive line was manhandled for most of the evening, with WKU running back Antonio Andrews rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Most of his yards came in the first half.
  • The Wildcats were also burned through the air. WKU quarterback Kuwaun Jakes only threw for 120 yards but was 16-of-22, including a stretch where he went completed nine passes in a row. 
  • WKU crushed Kentucky in time of possession 36:07 to 23:53.




The Weird

  • ESPN showed a statistic during the game that would cause shock and dismay to any UK fan: The Wildcats have not scored a first-quarter touchdown since November 2010.
  • On the Wildcats' final offensive play in overtime, (which resulted in a Jonathan George touchdown), the fullback led in the wrong direction.
  • Does anyone remember back in November 2011 when UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart said (per an interview with Kentucky Sports Radio) that he would give Joker Phillips time to turn the program around? I'd say that tonight's game pretty much proved that goal has been accomplished, but in the wrong direction.


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