The Kentucky Wildcats are still the worst team in the Southeastern Conference. A 35-36 loss at the hands of Western Kentucky and Bobby Petrino ruined Mark Stoops’ debut as the Wildcats’ coach. The most embarrassing part for Kentucky happened right at the end when Petrino made sure the Hilltoppers got to kneel down and run out the last seconds.
On fourth-and-2, he took a timeout, then had his quarterback throw for a 17-yard completion to clinch the victory.
Other than senior linebacker Avery Williamson, who had 10 tackles and fumble recovery in the loss, the Kentucky defense has some serious problems. It surrendered 487 yards to the Hilltoppers, including 271 yards on 27 of 34 passing from new starting quarterback Brandon Doughty.
The Wildcats gave up 22 first downs and allowed Western Kentucky to control the ball for more than 35 minutes. If it hadn’t forced a couple of turnovers to end WKU drives, the defensive totals could have been worse.
Also troubling was the fact that new offensive coordinator Neal Brown’s “Air Raid” was anything but, yielding just 16 first-half passing yards and 203 for the game – most of them after Max Smith relieved starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow in the fourth quarter. Kentucky managed only 255 total yards through three quarters, and went three-and-out on four of its first nine possessions.
What to look for in Week 2: Signs of life. Surely, Smith will be the Cats’ starting quarterback and the opponent, Miami (OH), won’t be as good as WKU. Miami is 0-1 after being drilled 52-14 by Marshall. At this point, however, anything is possible (no matter how bad) for Kentucky.