Heading into Saturday’s game at Auburn Mark Stoops’ Wildcats looked to make a season opening statement. Picked by many including Last Word On College Football as a trendy upset pick the Cats played well for most of the first half. However a questionable call turned the tide and an old nemesis, the turnover, helped Auburn pull away. Let’s recap the action as Kentucky falls at Auburn 29-13.
Kentucky Falls At Auburn 29-13
A Game Changing Call
Late in the second quarter trailing 8-7 Kentucky marched down the field appearing to get the go ahead score. However Christopher Rodriguez was ruled down short of the goal line.
For those who missed it live: This was called not a touchdown for Kentucky. Then the refs went to review, and STILL decided it wasn't a touchdown. Not exaggerating: It's one of the worst calls I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/IGCvw119Xn
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) September 26, 2020
On the next play Terry Wilson threw what appeared to be a 100 yard pick six by Roger McCreary. However a targeting call brought the play back. As a result the Cats went into the break down one instead of up six.
Mistakes Haunt The Cats
Just before the end of the third period a pass from Wilson to Akeem Hayes cut the lead to 15-13. However the Cats went for two and Wilson threw the ball away, something you can’t do on a two point conversion. Kentucky would get no closer as Wilson fumbled on the next possession leading to a Bo Nix to Seth Williams touchdown. On the next drive the Cats went for a fake punt deep in their own territory. Max Duffy was stuffed leading to the Tigers’ final touchdown. Overall Kentucky dominated the stats except for turnovers and that’s why Kentucky falls at Auburn 29-13.
Total yards: UK 384 Auburn 324
Passing yards: UK 239 Auburn 233
Rushing yards: UK 145 Auburn 91
First downs: UK 21 Auburn 16
Time of Poss: UK 36:30 Auburn 23:30
Turnovers: UK 3 Auburn 0
— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) September 26, 2020
An Up And Down Return
In his first game in over a year Wilson did some good things for Kentucky completing 24 of 37 passes for 239 yards. In addition he ran for another 42 yards. However there were the two turnovers. We mentioned in our preview if Wilson threw a high number of passes then it could spell trouble for the Cats. Expect Wilson to get better and better with each game.
Many thought Kentucky would run for large chunks of yardage against a new Auburn defensive line. It didn’t quite turn out that way as the Cats ran for only 145 yards on the day led by Kavosiey Smoke’s 62. However 35 of that came on one touchdown run. The Cats need to get back to their strong running game against Ole Miss.
Bad Day For The Secondary
Heading into the season Kentucky’s group was considered one of the best in the league. The combination of Nix and Williams made the group look rather ordinary on Saturday. Nix threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns, 112 yards and two of the scores went to Williams. The group is going to have to step it up next week. This is a game Kentucky could have won, as Auburn isn’t 16 points better than the Cats.
As mentioned previously, there’s no time in 2020 to dwell on a loss with every game being in conference. Next Saturday the Cats host Ole Miss in a 4:00 pm start in the home opener. The Rebels dropped a 51-35 game at home to Florida on Saturday. Kyle Trask tied an SEC record with six touchdown passes for the Gators and 416 yards. Four of the scores went to star tight end Kyle Pitts spoiling Lane Kiffin’s debut.
As for Gus Malzahn’s Tigers they go to Georgia for the latest game in the Deep South’s oldest rivalry. The Bulldogs actually trailed Arkansas by the odd score 0f 7-5 at the half before outscoring the Razorbacks 32-3 in the second for a 37-10 win.
Again Kentucky falls at Auburn 29-13 in a game they easily could have won. The Tigers have now won 18 of the last 19 against the Wildcats. Thanks for checking out our recap here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll be back later this week with updated bowl projections and then a preview of the Ole Miss game.