Kentucky's defense never regained their composure after having Louisville pinned on their own one yard line on third down early in the first quarter. The Cardinal offense found sophomore receiver DeVante Parker down the right side for a long gain and from that point forward, Louisville was in control.
But amid the questions and the dominating performance, Max Smith played a pretty steady game, despite being often pressured and rarely having time to go down the field for bigger gains.
Smith finished 35 of 50 for 270 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
He attempted probably about 40 percent more passes than the Kentucky staff would like him to throw, but the Wildcats were behind from the get-go. So they were trying to make up ground.
Still, Smith made the right throws most of the time. He didn't try to force passes that he couldn't make and he found the open man, most often out of the backfield and a few times coming across the middle.
Aaron Boyd and Darryl Collins emerged as targets for the Wildcats, while senior LaRod King was his normal steady self. Smith also looked for the tight ends more often than his most recent predecessors, Morgan Newton and Mike Hartline. He target Tyler Robinson for a touchdown pass early on and Ronnie Shields also made a couple of catches.
Smith was able to do most of everything you'd ask for your sophomore quarterback to do. But there is still room for growth.
Along with the offensive line, Smith will need to better learn how to uncover the blitz packages of the defense. Smith will also have to make sure that ball security remains a priority.
Smith is still a young quarterback, so he's got time during his career to learn these things. And they will come for him with experience.
Unfortunately, the future is now for the Wildcats.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the program and the direction. The play of Kentucky's defense against arch rival Louisville make it appear, at least early this season, that the offense will have to carry the load.
Smith and his comrades will have to play mostly mistake free football and be very efficient in controlling the ball in order for the Wildcats to compete in the SEC at even a moderately successful level.
Can Smith learn the nuances quickly enough to help this team to a bowl game?
Only time will tell.