Johnson’s rough game came at a rough time for team


Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson walks off the field for the final time after the senior day game against Louisville on Saturday, November 25, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Louisville won the game 44-17.

Peyton Barnhill

In last season’s matchup between Kentucky and Louisville, Stephen Johnson performed well enough to pull a 41-38 victory over the Cards. However, in the 2017 rematch, a 17-44 loss, Johnson seemed to be virtually nonexistent.

After Johnson went 0-4 throwing the ball with no interceptions, the senior quarterback completed his first pass at the 7:33 mark of the second quarter. He went 5-8 while accumulating 70 total passing yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions in the second quarter. Things were still not bright for Johnson in the second half, when he only threw for 40 more yards.

Throughout the game, Johnson was unable to have much time in the pocket thanks to the Cardinal pass rush led by Stacy Thomas, James Hearns and Trevon Young.

Head coach Mark Stoops updated media on the status of Stephen’s mental and physical state. He said that, in terms of health, Johnson was “okay.” He was unaware if anything was bothering him.

Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran noticed that Stephen looked a bit inconsistent.

“I saw a couple of his balls that looked like great passes that just sailed,” Gran said.

He ended with nothing but positive words when asked about Stephen Johnson.

“A story that you can’t script,” he said. “He became a leader, the silent leader that he is and I think he’s a great ambassador for this university.”

“Yeah, it definitely hurt to lose like that, but we have to move on from it,” Johnson said after the game.

He wasn’t hesitant to give running back Benny Snell Jr. praise for his performance and ability to make up for some of the faults in the passing game.

“Obviously, Benny is an incredible back,” he said. 

It’s without question that Johnson was outshined by 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson in the game and even Benny Snell on the Kentucky sideline. Blame can be handed across the board for the Wildcats’ 44-17 loss to the Cardinals, but Johnson’s inability to consistently make plays and create positive chunk plays all but helped the Cardinals secure the victory in Lexington.

Although Snell had a career rushing game, the offense has to be able to become more balanced if Kentucky wants to reach its eighth win of the season during its bowl game.

This month of preparation will likely consist of Johnson recovering from his miscues from the loss today. No, Johnson wasn’t the same player from the Louisville game last year; however, there is plenty of time for him to reset and prepare for the bowl game in the coming weeks.