The Cats fell to 0-1 this weekend after suffering a tough 29-13 loss to the hands of No. 8 Auburn. UK was down just 8-7 at halftime, but lost control in the second half as the Tigers went on outscore them 21-6 through the final 30 minutes of game time.
Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops acknowledged that the team fell short of a complete performance on Saturday, and said they have to clean up the many mistakes that they had in the half and show more balance in order to win.
“We have to be balanced and good across the board, and we didn’t play good enough across the board in the second half,” he said.
The three unforced turnovers that UK had played a big part in the game, but also Auburn wideout Seth Williams was a difference-maker as he had a monstrous performance, finishing with six catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns. The UK DB that was matched up with Williams most of the game was sophomore Kelvin Joseph, who got “moss’d” in in the receiver’s second touchdown that gave the Tigers a 22-13 lead.
Stoops knows Joseph was outplayed, but still has confidence in his ability to cover and is willing to go to battle with him in every game.
“He’s a competitive son of a gun, and I can work with Kelvin,” he said.
Coming up this Saturday, UK will open their home slate against Ole Miss, who lost their season opener to Florida 52-35. Even though the Rebels lost, they did not struggle moving the ball as they finished with 613 total yards.
Leading the Ole Miss offense is QB Matt Corral, who finished with 395 yards and three touchdowns on 22-31 passing. Stoops knows he is talented, and the Cats will have to slow him down to win.
“Big time arm talent, can throw it all over the place,” he said describing Corral.
Kentucky obviously plays at a slower pace, often times controlling the clock to ensure victory. But if the game does indeed turn into a shootout, Stoops is ready to adjust.
“We have to adapt to any situation,” he said.
Looking further into the schedule, this game could be a must-win for Kentucky if they plan on gaining some momentum and finishing with a proud record. The Rebels are a tricky opponent, however, and just like every game in this season, UK will have to show up to be victorious.