The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: UK-Arkansas

In this edition of "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly," we break down the highs and lows from Kentucky's weather-shortened 49-7 beating at the hands of the Razorbacks.


"Throw the damn towel!" If only the SEC officials who were in charge of making the decision to call Saturday's game due to dangerous weather conditions could have been ringside in Rocky IV, poor ol' Apollo Creed may have never died at the hands of chemically-enhanced Soviet punching machine Ivan Drago. In this case, Drago was Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, and UK defensive coordinator Rick Minter was wearing the Uncle Sam boxing shorts and a look of befuddlement we haven't seen in these parts since Mike Major was roaming the sidelines. Said Wilson: "I must break you… with 372 passing yards and five touchdowns in less than 40 minutes of play." I can't recall a game in recent UK memory that was in bigger need of a mercy call. Thank you, Mother Nature. Thank you, SEC. Time for the Cats to go train in Siberia.

Whitlow's First TD Pass: It's always difficult to list anything in the "Good" category in this type of game while keeping a straight face, and while it may not have made UK fans feel much better, you can bet freshman quarterback Jalen Whitlow got a bit of a lift from his first career touchdown pass, a 61-yard connection with La'Rod King just moments before the game was called off in the third quarter. The UK staff has told us since mid-summer that Whitlow is a not just a "Wildcat" quarterback, that he possesses a big-time arm and should be considered a true "dual threat." That downfield strike to King was the first evidence we've seen to date and perhaps something to build upon moving forward.


Whitlow Accuracy: While UK's freshman quarterback closed on a high note with that nice connection with King, he finished 2-for-10 on the night and saw his season completion percentage drop to 42 percent (25 of 60). That's an eye-popping 27 points lower than what sophomore Maxwell Smith was completing prior to his season-ending ankle injury against South Carolina. And perhaps the most frightening thing about those numbers is that seldom are many of Whitlow's passes traveling more than 10 yards down the field.

UK's Playbook: Watching UK attempt to play offense these days is something akin to playing Tecmo Bowl back in the day. You have two run plays and two pass plays on the screen. That's it. I don't know if that's all the coaches think the players can execute, but you get the sense from the Cats' body language that they know their coaches have no faith in them. If the Cats can't do anything but standard run plays and horizontal passing plays against a defense ranked No. 92 in the country and giving up 31 points per game, why not scrap that plan and go to a "Wildcat" approach like the Cats used against Tennessee last season?

The Week Ahead for Barnhart: I'm not sure I've ever sensed as much anger and frustration in the UK fan base as exists right now. The one thing Joker Phillips had to do this season in order to have any chance of winning the fans back was be competitive in every game and avoid this type of embarrassing defeat. Not only did the Cats lose 49-7, but they lost by 42 to a team with a losing record and had itself lost at home to UL-Monroe and Rutgers. Remember, Alabama and Texas A&M defeated Arkansas by a combined margin of 100 points. The Hogs had been a train wreck this season, and they beat the living daylights out of the lifeless Cats. There will be significant pressure on UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart to step up and address the elephant in the room this week. Fans want answers about the direction of the program and whether UK is committed to fielding a competitive team in football. If that doesn't happen – or even if it does – the crowd for Saturday's homecoming game against Georgia may be lucky to break 30K.


By The Numbers:

1 – The number of times the UK offense crossed midfield until the Cats' final play of the night, the TD pass from Whitlow to King.

6 - UK first downs.

7 - Arkansas touchdowns.

15.35 – The average number of yards per play by Arkansas in the first half.

43 – The number of national Division I units ranked worse than Kentucky (No. 77) in total defense. How is this possible, you ask? I have no idea. Dark days for defense.

67% -- UK went three-and-out on six of its nine possessions in the game.

113 – The Cats' new total offense standing out of 120 Division I programs.

307 – Arkansas yards in the first quarter.

387 – Punting yards for UK's Landon Foster.

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