UK football reaches new low in blowout loss to Florida

A frustrated Cats fan overlooks the field during the Wildcat’s game against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Commonwealth Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Anthony Crawford

If anyone thought that UK football had reached its lowest point of the young season in last week’s collapse against Southern Miss, they were quickly reminded of UK’s astounding ability to make bad situations worse in the 45-7 beat down they received at the hands of the Florida Gators.

And what’s great is the Cats have 10 more games left in the season, giving them more than enough opportunities to keeping digging past rock bottom, including a trip to Tuscaloosa in three weeks to face No. 1 Alabama and a trip to Louisville the last week of the season to face the Cardinals who have the closest thing to an unstoppable offense with the combo of quarterback Lamar Jackson and head coach Bobby Petrino at the helm.

At this point any drop of hope has dried up and the narrative surrounding UK in head coach Mark Stoops’ fourth season is as sad and disheartening as when he took over following the 2012 season.

That 2012 season contained by most accounts one of the lowest points in recent UK football history in the 40-0 home loss to Vanderbilt en route to going 2-10 on the season. While the loss was in no way justified, at least fans could rest easy on the explanation of just an overwhelming talent gap.

The same talent gap became more present in Stoops first season as the Cats would once again go 2-10. But the revamped recruiting efforts Stoops in his staff have made in the time since was supposed to fill that gap.

What can be looked at the most disappointing aspect to UK’s 0-2 start this season is the fact that the team has still found a way to regress even with the amount of talent on the team.  

The defense was thin heading into the season but still boasted a secondary that was heralded as one of the top units in the SEC. The same group allowed Florida’s first-year starter at quarterback Luke Del Rio to throw a casual 320 passing yards and four touchdowns while he had his choice of open receivers in most cases.

It was actually on the ground though where the Gators found their bread and butter as they run the ball virtually at will, and it showed as they went 14-for-20 on third downs with most being shortage yardage situations.

The defense couldn’t keep Florida’s offense off the field, which was ironic because UK’s offense excelled at putting it there.

UK’s first offensive play ended with quarterback Drew Barker being violently sacked and it didn’t improve much after that.

From then on, the shell-shocked Barker completed more passes to the Florida defense (three interceptions) than he did to his own team (2-for-10 passing on the day).

UK’s most productive player in the game was running back Stanley “Boom” Williams rushed for 66 yards on 12 attempts. But apparently giving him more snaps was not in the cards for UK and it didn’t matter much when considering the lack of consistency from the offensive line.

Obviously expecting to snap the 29-year losing streak to Florida in Gainesville, Fla. was completely unfair, but the team still owed fans more than the effort they gave in the blowout.

Now it seems the only fun left in the season for the fans will be trying to guess how the Cats can disappoint next.