Wildcats need the bye week as season slips

An already tough season has reached disastrous territory for the Wildcats as they take a bye week away from the rigors of Southeastern Conference play.

An already tough season has reached disastrous territory for the Wildcats as they take a bye week away from the rigors of Southeastern Conference play.

Kentucky lost its fourth consecutive game while being drubbed, 54-3, by South Carolina on Saturday in one of the worst displays in program history.

The Wildcats allowed 639 yards and gained only 96 yards, had the same number of completed passes (four) as interceptions and the same number of first downs (six) as turnovers.

It was also the third consecutive beating put on the Wildcats by a conference opponent.

Kentucky was outscored, 137-20, in a three-game stretch by Florida, LSU and South Carolina.

"Embarrassed is probably the best way to put it," quarterback Morgan Newton said after the South Carolina loss. "I don't know that I've ever been beaten this bad."

Kentucky (2-4, 0-3) has two weeks to try to find some answers for its poor play before it meets Jacksonville State on Oct. 22.

A lot of focus will be on the offense, which has been horrible most of the season. The Wildcats rank 119th in the nation out of 120 teams in total offense at 229 yards per game, 118th in scoring offense at 13.0 points per game and 116th in passing offense at 119.0.

"We have a much-needed, two-week break that we've got to try to figure out some of those answers," coach Joker Phillips said. "Our passing game is a lost part of our games. It's one of the things we've done around here really well, throw and catch the ball, and we've yet to execute a passing game the last couple weeks that even looks like one."

The breakdowns weren't solely on the offensive side of the ball. The Wildcats allowed 639 yards.


--Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said he wasn't mad that South Carolina tacked on a final touchdown with eight seconds left instead of taking a knee. But perhaps Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier was relishing pouring it on after losing to the Wildcats last season for the only time in 19 games against the Wildcats.

After Saturday's victory, Spurrier threw in the following comment: "Kentucky has a heck of a punter, I know that." Ryan Tydlacka punted nine times for a 44.2 average.

--The 96 yards by the Wildcats were the fewest since gaining only 67 against Florida in 1996, when Steve Spurrier was the Gators' coach.

--LB Danny Trevathan had 13 tackles to raise his career total to 303, becoming the 18th player in Kentucky history with 300 tackles.

KEEP AN EYE ON: DE Mike Douglas -- The redshirt freshman had two tackles for losses, including a sack, while starting his second straight game for injured Collins Ukwu. With the season going nowhere, look for the Wildcats to give Douglas ample playing time even when Ukwu returns to good health.

LOOKING GOOD: LB Ridge Wilson recorded two sacks and S Winston Guy had two tackles for losses among a game-high 14 stops. Craig McIntosh improved to 5-for-6 on field goals, including a 28-yarder that represented Kentucky's only points.

STILL NEEDS WORK: What doesn't need work after the latest setback? QB Morgan Newton was only 4-for-20 passing for 17 yards and backup Maxwell Smith went 0-for-4 with two interceptions as the Wildcats continued to struggle while throwing the football. Newton is completing only 45.7 percent of his passes. The running game didn't fare much better, as the backs who carried the ball combined for 24 yards on 12 rushes. The defense was terrorized by South Carolina sophomore Connor Shaw (311 yards, four touchdowns), who was starting in place of struggling Stephen Garcia. The Wildcats gave up 351 yards through the air and 288 on the ground.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I didn't think it would be this much of a struggle. We've got to find ourselves as an offense." -- Kentucky QB Morgan Newton, after the latest poor offensive showing.


--S Winston Guy had a team-high 14 tackles and has nine double-digit games in his career. He has a team-leading 8.5 tackles for losses among his 67 tackles.
--OLB Danny Trevathan had 13 tackles and has 72 this season as he continues to lead the SEC. He has had 10 or more tackles in 14 of the last 15 games.
--WR Matt Roark blocked an extra point against South Carolina, tying the school record with the seventh of his career. Roark has blocked six extra points and field goal during his career.


--RB Raymond Sanders (knee) returned for the South Carolina game and had only eight yards on four carries. He has missed the previous three games.
--DT Mark Crawford (shoulder) played against the Gamecocks despite being injured seven days earlier.
--DE Collins Ukwu (knee) has missed three consecutive games.
--OLB Danny Trevathan (shoulder) was banged up after the South Carolina game but will be ready when the Wildcats return to play Jacksonville State on Oct. 22.

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