Kentucky vs. MSU: Injury Bug Bites UK Hard in 27-14 Loss to No. 20 Bulldogs
The talk centered all week on how true freshmen quarterbacks Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow would handle significant playing time against the Mississippi State University Bulldogs. Surprisingly, both played very well, but injuries and some bad breaks meant that it wasn't enough to give the Wildcats their first SEC win of the season.
- Patrick Towles completed the first five passes of his collegiate career, finishing off the best Wildcat drive of the day with a 32 yard touchdown pass to La'Rod King. He looked comfortable and confident in the pocket, giving Wildcat fans hope that the home state star could turn things around.
- When Towles had to leave with in an injury on his third offensive series (yep, that's how it goes for the Cats), Whitlow came back in and was still decently effective. Despite being only 10-21 for 73 yards through the air, he often was able to make plays with his legs, including a three yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
- The Wildcat defense was able to hold the Bulldogs to 155 yards rushing on the day; not a great number, but not terrible, either (yards through the air, however, were another matter).
- The Wildcats recovered their second onside kick of the year (but once again, failed to turn it into a scoring opportunity).
- Patrick Towles came in and looked like the savior of Kentucky football that the Big Blue Nation had been waiting for. Then on his third offensive series, he twisted his ankle while being sacked. Towles did not return for the rest of the game. As of this article being published, there is no word on how how serious the injury is.
- What what happened on Towles' second offensive series, you might ask? Three straight handoffs up the middle for a three-and-out; not a good following to an incredible scoring drive by a talented young quarterback.
- The Bulldogs threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns against the Kentucky secondary.
- The Wildcats struggling secondary became dangerously thin when Martavius Neloms had to leave the game with what looked like a hamstring pull and safety Ashley Lowrey left with concussion-like symptoms.
- The Kentucky running game was not nearly as effective as it looked last week; Raymond Sanders carried 13 times for only 43 yards.
Would the Wildcats have won the game if Towles had not gotten injured?
- Kentucky extended their odd/depressing streak of not scoring a touchdown in the first quarter to 19 games.
- There were only three penalties the entire game for both teams.
- According to WMYT's Josh McKinney, University of Kentucky Athletic Director (and normally very reserved) Mitch Barnhart lost his cool a bit when someone told him a coaching change was needed, shouting "shut up" in the press box. With this only being Week 6, Barnhart will probably have to hear a lot of the same sentiment for a while.
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