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Stoops after loss: “Our fans deserve better and I get it.”

By LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON — Pick out the worst possible scenario you can imagine for Kentucky to start the football season. But even if you do, it could not be as bad as what happened here Saturday night.

Kentucky blew out to a 35-10 first-half lead over Southern Mississippi. Quarterback Drew Barker looked like a Heisman Trophy candidate. Receivers were running free. The defense got two big-time interceptions from J.D. Harmon.

Kentucky fans who blamed offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson for much of last year’s woes were happy because he’s now the offensive coordinator at Southern Miss.

But starting with a touchdown pass in the final minute of the first half, Southern Miss started dominating the game and WON 44-35. The visitors scored 34 unanswered points and dominated the second half.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops made no excuses for his team after Southern Miss ran 92 plays.

“As tough as it gets. All the work we have done about finishing games, very difficult. Same thing happened last year when we ended the season in this stadium (blowing a 21-0 lead to Louisville),” Stoops said. “They outcoached and outplayed us. It hurts our team, our fan base, our administration.”

Stoops said he did not remember apologizing to fans for his team’s play before, but he did that after Saturday’s loss and asked fans “not to bail on us” but he understands the frustration.

“That’s a tough pill. Our fans deserve better. I will tell you this — we will play better,” Stoops said.

“I know everybody has every right to question what we are doing, but we will stay the course. You saw how we can play and  ill play. The guys knew what they were doing and executed and made plays.”

However, Stoops said the TD pass to end the half was the “punch in the gut” that his team could not handle.

“We gave up a home run punch in the gut. We had to move on and we didn’t,” Stoops said. “Once again, I apologize. Our fans deserve better and I get it.”

6 comments

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  1. Mike

    Stoops should probably man up and resign in DISGRACE. It is hard to believe that he will recover from this. The combo of STOOPS/ELIOT as HC/DC has got to be the worst in D1. The
    man can not motivate, develope, or coach, but he does deliver a good halftime speech. How many of you still think he deserves another year? My guess is that maybe even Larry the Pup is ready to abandon ship.

  2. Andy

    The team’s morale has probably sunk at this point. Stoops does not seem to know how to manage this team. This team collapsed in the 2nd with no fight and Stoops has probably lost most of the fan base at this point. I would hate to be in Barnharts shoes right about now.

  3. Larry Pup

    Stoops should have kept Dawson and fired Eliot. Worst defense I have ever witnessed, in the second half especially Couldn’t stop a Conference USA team from running the football up and down the field from start to finish, and in their own stadium. Two USM backs go over 100 yards. Then USM runs over 90 plays, 95 I think. They held the football the entire second half it seemed. Unbelievable!!. Stoops wanted Dawson to run the football more last year, well he did tonight. Didn’t see anything wrong with his play calling tonight.

  4. OldFan

    So much for being better on defense. Since Stoops has been here the lack of defense has been the biggest disappointment. UK’s D line couldn’t stop a good high school from running the ball. I guess we get another year of excuses. How can a team be “young” for 4 years??? For those fans that keep saying UK should move to another conference, which one?? There is not a conference in America bad enough for UK to be successful. When your offense scores 35 points, your defense should allow you win most games. Bottom line, big changes need to be made on the Defensive Coaching Staff. If not, Stoops doesn’t belong here beyond this year.

  5. Mike

    We were told that Conrad would be targeted more this year and that the OL would be one of our main strengths. We do have some good talent on the field but marginal overall, and our coaching is a ZERO. The real irony is that we NOW have one of the best facilities in all of football while, at the same time, having possibly the worst coaching staff in all of football.

  6. Norman Einstein

    Pathetic

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