By LARRY VAUGHT
In seven games, Kentucky has 18 turnovers — 11 fumbles and seven interceptions. In those same seven games, UK foes have given up seven interceptions and only two fumbles.
Yet despite the minus nine turnover margin, Kentucky is 4-3 going into Saturday’s game at Missouri. Coach Mark Stoops knows the turnovers — UK has given up a defensive touchdown on a fumble return in three straight games — has to stop.
“With our margin for error. It’s been tough. I think a big piece of that – we’d like to stop turning the ball over, obviously, you’d like to see us win the turnover margin, that’s for sure – it is unheard of, but we like to put a little drama in it,” said Stoops.
“It can’t happen. We make light of it, but our players know. We’ve harped on it. We’re going to continue to harp on it. We didn’t have any fumbles or put the ball on the ground from a wide receiver or a back Saturday (against Mississippi State).”
Quarterback Stephen Johnson had two fumbles against State — he has eight this season — and the second one was returned for a score.
“What we have to be smart about with Stephen is physically he still has some work to do in the offseason with getting stronger and things like that too. So with him having the balls in his hands down in those situations we’ve got to be smart about that,” Stoops said.
Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran can’t remember being on a winning team with a turnover ratio as bad as the one UK has now.
“It says a little bit about our team in terms of how we’ve been able to overcome that. It’s like I told them the other day, how good we actually could be in putting people away. That’s got to get fixed if we want to meet our goals and do what we have to do and finish. And that’s all I’m going to say about it,” Gran said.