UK football delivers lesson in mediocrity

UK wide receiver Demarco Robinson runs the ball during the first half of the University of Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt University football game at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, November 16, 2013. Vanderbilt won 22-6. Photo by Tessa Lighty

By Joshua Huff

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As the final seconds ticked off the board on Saturday ending what was a lecture in mediocrity, the few UK fans who traveled the few hours to Vanderbilt Stadium left with a lesson on how to lose a football game.

Step one: Accept a delay of game during a crunch-time field goal, but waste a timeout on a punt.

Step two: Swap out a struggling Patrick Towles for Drew Barker only to replace him after he throws an interception. The result: Towles finished his second-straight game with less than 100 yards passing en route to a 10-26, 67 passing yards, one interception evening, while Barker incubated on the bench with one touchdown under his belt.

Step three: A pick six.

Step four: A Vanderbilt trick play that’s been done, and solved, in many junior varsity/Pop Warner leagues.

Step five: More dropped passes than Barker had completions (5-8, 60 yards).

Step six: Fail to score a touchdown from the one-yard line.

The key talking point pulled from the 21-17 loss, however, highlights the points off turnover statistic. The Commodores scored 14 points off UK turnovers. The irony of the situation is Vanderbilt fumbled the ball twice, but UK wasn’t able to convert any into points because of its bad offense.

Where UK goes from here nobody knows. The talent Stoops has infused into the program has failed to develop. The play calling, especially the 4th and 1 heave to a single-covered Blake Bone was atrocious. The continued swing passes against top-notch Southeastern Conference defenses is baffling and the play of the offense is as bad as ever.

With the Cats are playing as poor as they are, Saturday’s game against Charlotte is now not even a certainty.

The one positive, however, is the play of the defense. Vanderbilt notched just 301 yards of total offense and failed to score a point in the second half. The issue for UK though is that football is a team game. With just two games remaining in the season, the offense does not look like it will be able to steady the ship and no matter how good the defense plays, points win games.

The bright side of UK’s predicament is that as bad as this season has gone, should the Cats win out, they’ll finish the year 6-5, become bowl eligible and all will be forgotten. From here on out though the season hangs on just one more loss.

All that remains is determining whether the coaches right the ship with Barker or sink it with Towles.