Stoops confirms Conrad will miss remainder of season


Head coach Mark Stoops of the Kentucky Wildcats high fives UK fans during the Cat Walk prior to the game against Vanderbilt University on Saturday, November 11, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Jacob Heheman

For the first half, UK football was holding its own against the Bulldogs. As the second half progressed, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel proved why they are one of the country’s top rushing pairs.

Chubb and Michel combined for 238 rushing yards and five touchdowns as Georgia defeated Kentucky 42-13. The loss dropped Kentucky’s record to 7-4 as they enter the final week of the regular season. 

The Cats’ 4-4 SEC record gave them back-to-back .500 conference records for the first time since 1998-99.

Head coach Mark Stoops said the team struggled with fundamentals and did not always play and execute at a high level.

“I think we took a step back at times in that game and also some missed opportunities, some mistakes and that can’t happen,” Stoops said.

One of those mistakes came midway through the first quarter when Lonnie Johnson ran into Georgia’s punter after Kentucky’s defense stopped the Bulldogs on third down.

The penalty gave Georgia a first down and the drive ended with an eight-yard touchdown run by Chubb. Stoops said the penalty cost his team some momentum. 

“That’s a big mistake,” Stoops said. “It’s a big momentum swing right there. To go in knowing you have to play a very good football game and then making mistakes like that does not help you.”

Not only did the extended drive result in Georgia points, but it also led to a Mike Edwards injury. Other injuries suffered during the game included Quinton Bohanna and C.J. Conrad. 

While Edwards and Bohanna should be ready to go against Louisville this week, Stoops had some bad news regarding Conrad’s injury.

“Unfortunately, C.J. will be out for the remainder of the year,” Stoops said. “He has a mid-foot injury, a lisfranc. Will require surgery tomorrow morning.” 

The surgery will also require Conrad to miss Kentucky’s bowl game. Conrad had 16 catches for 286 yards and four touchdowns this season.

Conrad’s injury gives one less weapon for Stephen Johnson, one of the players celebrating Senior Day this week at Kroger Field.

A win on Senior Day would give the Cats the Governor’s Cup for the second consecutive year and its first regular season with eight wins since 1984. A UK victory would require them to beat Lamar Jackson again, last season’s Heisman trophy winner.

Stoops said Jackson is still one of the best players in the country and it will require a great effort from his team to beat Louisville two years in a row.

“I said it in here in my Monday press conference last year that I thought he was the best player in the country,” Stoops said. “He absolutely should be in New York because you’d be hard pressed to find a more talented guy than him.”

The Cardinals and the Cats will renew their rivalry Saturday at noon on the SEC Network.