By LARRY VAUGHT
NASHVILLE — Kentucky junior defensive end Bud Dupree had a possible explanation for his team’s often lackluster play in Saturday’s 35-26 loss to Western Kentucky that started the Mark Stoops era the wrong way for the Cats.
“We got a good wakeup call,” said Dupree even though Western beat UK in overtime last year and nearly beat the Cats in 2011. “We were too overconfident. We started off terribly. We played pretty terrible. We could have played a lot better. It’s not how we practiced or how we prepared for this game.
“It was very disappointing. We wanted to set a tone for rest of the games we have coming up.”
Dupree admitted some players may have tended to panic when Western got an early lead that it never relinquished.
“Everyone probably that thought in their mind with it being Western Kentucky. We should have just played like we practiced. It was our fault,” Dupree said. “After the game, the coaches did a good job letting us know they are still behind us.”
Kentucky’s hyped defensive line struggled to stop Western Kentucky which rushed for 216 yards on 41 carries. Dupree was in on only three tackles and Za’Darius Smith just five. Starting tackle Mister Cobble didn’t have a tackle and the other starter, Donte Rumph, had just three stops.
“They pretty much gashed us. We stopped the run through training camp. It’s all on us,” Dupree said. “I just don’t think we were focused. We should have played our keys better than we did and trusted our coaches.”
Now Dupree just hopes Kentucky fans come to see the Cats play Miami (Ohio) Saturday.
“It will mean a lot knowing the fans are still behind us after this loss. We will turn this things around next week and make sure we get on a streak,” Dupree said.