If you had to encapsulate UK’s season in one sentence, the age-old adage “home is where the heart is” fits perfectly as a summation of how the year played out for the Cats.
The biggest collapse of the 2014 season came from UK’s special teams, especially during the second half of the season. The special teams’ play was so disheartening that whenever it came time to kick off or punt the ball, The Big Blue Nation collectively held its breath until either the ball was out of bounds or the returner was safely on the ground.
During his time at Arizona from 2004-2009, Stoops turned a defensive unit that was 109th in the nation in total defense to a highly-ranked squad by the end of his term.
With incumbent Jojo Kemp coming off a freshman season in which he rushed for 482 yards on 100 carries, and the additions of Nebraska transfer Braylon Heard, true freshmen Stanley “Boom” Williams and Mikel Horton, the expectations of the backfield far exceeded that of any other position on the offense.
Behind Towles, UK started the season off in torrid fashion outscoring its opponents in its first six games 235-106. Towles was masterful in his first start against UT-Martin, going 20-29 for 377 yards and one touchdown. He fell back down to earth against Ohio but bounced back against Florida where he put up 369 yards and three touchdowns despite a heartbreaking loss in overtime.
He was thrust into the national spotlight against South Carolina when UK downed the Gamecocks behind his efficient 20-29 for 208 yards game.
Unfortunately for Towles, his fall from grace began after the Louisiana-Monroe game when the Cats bore the brunt of a tough SEC slate. UK never recovered from the 41-3 thumping from LSU, losing five straight games and played themselves out of contention for a bowl game.