Kentucky’s offense: A tale of two halves


at Kroger Field on Friday, November 4, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Olivia Beach | Staff

Roman West

Kentucky football lost a heart breaking 37-34, after blowing a 10-point second half lead to the Ole Miss Rebels. The loss dropped the Cats to 6-3 on the season and 3-3 in SEC play.

The Cats’ offense came out on fire, scoring two field goals and two touchdowns on their four drives in the first half, accumulating 107 yards on the ground and 159 through the air. Stephen Johnson was nearly flawless in the first half, going 15-16 with his only incompletion being intended for C.J. Conrad where there was a lot of contact but no call.

Benny Snell was also fantastic in the first half, gaining 66 yards on the Rebels while scoring two touchdowns.

Read: Offense’s bright spots lost in disappointing defeat

Kentucky took a 20-17 into halftime, then came out and scored a 46-yard touchdown pass to Conrad 2:28 into the second half.

Then, the tides turned.

The Cats had a 27-17 lead over the Rebels for almost 10 minutes in the third quarter, but it was anything but enjoyable. The wheels on the offense completely fell off.

After the Cats drove the ball 80 yards on the first possession of the second half, they were only able to put up another 10 yards in the quarter. They watched their lead slip away as they went three and out on four consecutive drives. The rebels were able to take advantage of the Wildcat’s struggling offense, taking a 30-27 lead.

“There was one drop in there that I remember that stuck out, and then we just got off balance,” offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said as a reason why the offense struggled.

Watch: Eddie Gran post game interview

It was a big difference compared to the first half, where the offense was rolling and scoring points on every drive.

“I thought we had them off balance. We had some formations that hurt them and we kept going back to those,” Gran said.

Kentucky got the ball back one last time on their own five-yard line after four consecutive drives of absolutely nothing productive. With 8:36 left in the game, and little hope left, the Cats’ offense looked again like the team fans saw in the first half.

Snell led the way with 77 yards on that final drive and capped it off with a one-yard touchdown run to give the Cats the lead again.

However, their efforts were wasted when Ole Miss came back and scored the game winning touchdown. The offense had some bright spots in the disappointing loss, but in the end, Gran feels the burden of the loss.

“I thought they did a great job coming out and scoring in the second half,” Gran said. “We had a couple more opportunities after that and we had to keep scoring. Our job is to score points.”