First to my random thoughts....
Let me get this straight. We're playing Ohio. It's the first Saturday night in October. The game is at 7? I say screw the new jerseys and instead spend the money on 60,000-plus new winter coats.
The cheerleaders just arrived in their throwback uniforms, as well. Upon further review, maybe we should keep this tradition alive.
I can freeze.
Now to the game....
True Testament No. 1: Perhaps no series was more indicative of UK's season or the questionable play-calling of Ron Hudson than the first offensive series against Ohio.
Coach Hudson's response?
A ridiculous roll-out attempt to Scott and three straight running plays that totalled zero net yards. Included in the bunch, a key third-and-3 in which Hudson called a draw to Arliss Beach that went for a loss of 1.
If Coach Hudson is hoping to keep his job, he'd better learn his personnel. If you're going to run the draw on third down, at least give the ball to one of your faster backs, not Beach.
True Testament No. 2: Looking for the first signs that UK wasn't ready or cared about its football game against the Bobcats? Look no further than the illegal procedure call on Begley's 26-yard field goal.
An illegal procedure call on a field goal attempt is as rare as it gets. That's because a field goal unit has no procedure. They head from the sidelines to the field. The fact that the unit was confused as to whom was on the field goal unit showed that this staff did not prepare the kids for the game and the heads of many individual UK players were not in it from the start.
Not to be taken away from such a poor performance was the arrival of Ricky Abren, who forced the fumble after Begley's missed field goal. For a guy who has been relatively quiet, he sure came to life and was one of the few players who came to play, finishing with six tackles, including five for loss. For the game, he tallied an incredible 22 yards for loss.
On Ohio's drive to respond, Raymond Fontaine made four tackles; all of which were made 4 to 5 yards downfield from where he'd been beaten in the first place. Kentucky might be deep at linebacker but it lacks the run-stopping linebacker needed to play across from Durrell White.
On the third down preceeding an Ohio touchdown, Rich Brooks nearly had a heart attack screaming at the officials. Ohio had only six men on the line when the ball was snapped. A no-no that should have been called and instead gave Ohio a fourth-and-1 that it took full advantage of.
Jon Sumrall finished the game with a game-high eight tackles, but Ohio ran to his side the entire game. While Sumrall is one of the brightest and most disciplined players on the team, he still lacks speed and it was the difference in the three third-down conversions Ohio had on its touchdown drive at the end of the first quarter.
Did anyone else notice how fast the quarter went? That's because Ohio's drive lasted almost 6 minutes and all but one series of downs went to third-and-short. Another indicator that the defense did not come to play.
The second quarter arrives and so does Andre Woodson to the playing field. After a year-and-a-half of telling everyone from watching practice, I can finally have some validation with the home crowd having a chance to see with their own eyes; he's not ready.
Two running plays and a poor decision to run on third-and-long, causes a three-and-out.
Key point in the game at a very early juncture? I thought so. Why take Shane Boyd out of the football game. He leads Kentucky down the field before a missed field goal and then returns to lead the Cats to a touchdown. Now with Boyd on the sidelines, the offense loses whatever rhythm it had for an absolute waste of a series. Poor decision that I question.
Did anyone else think Ohio's next series looked like the Mumme years reincarnated? Third-and-12 and Third-and-5. The final results? A 16-yard dump pass for a first down. And a 44-yard touchdown. Is that Ryan Hawk at quarterback or Brett Favre? I couldn't tell.
Shane Boyd back in the game and the Cats respond with a first down.
Proving critics right, the bubble screen is run for a loss of 25. For the year, the Cats have now netted a total of 5 yards on the infamous play of champions.
Moving forward to the Cats final possession before the half. With 5:02 left on the clock, the Cats show their aggressive offense (cough, cough). Six rushes and five pass attempts later, the Cats run out of downs and options from the 11 yard line.
Onto the second half.