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CATS Come Up Short on the Plains

Kevosiey Smoke scores for the CATS - SEC Pool Photo

CATS Fall to Auburn 29-13. Saturday’s game marked the first time since 1960 that Kentucky’s season-opener was against an SEC foe.

AUBURN – September 26, 2020 – Bradley Charles – Bluegrass Sports Nation

It was a tough day for UK football fans. Entering the game, much of the fan base believed that No. 23 Kentucky would go on the road and defeat No. 8 Auburn. Throughout the majority of the first half, it looked as though the Cats were on their way to doing just that.

Trailing 8-7, Kentucky had the ball deep in Auburn territory late in the first half, but ultimately threw an interception. On the play before the turnover, it appeared as though running back Chris Rodriguez got the ball into the end zone. The play was reviewed, but the Cats were not awarded a touchdown.

Following the game, UK head coach Mark Stoops was asked about the ruling that Rodriguez did not score. Stoops said, “I don’t understand it either. He was clearly in. … That was a big swing.”

After that sequence, the game never really felt the same. Despite that, Kentucky still had its chances. The Cats went into the fourth quarter trailing by just two points, 15-13. However, a fumble by UK quarterback Terry Wilson early in the fourth quarter gave Auburn the ball at the UK 23.

The Tigers took advantage of the turnover with a four-yard touchdown pass from Bo Nix to Seth Williams. Auburn led 22-13 with 10:21 to play.

On the ensuing possession, the Auburn defense stood strong and forced the UK punt team onto the field. Needing five yards to extend the drive, Kentucky punter Max Duffy attempted to run for the first down but was tackled for a three-yard loss. The Tigers scored a TD in just two plays and cruised to a 29-13 victory.

After the game, Stoops gave a lengthy comment about the fake punt. Ultimately, Stoops took the blame for a communication breakdown on the play.

Interesting Stats from the Game:
Kentucky ran 78 total plays, while Auburn had just 57.

The Cats’ Josh Ali hauled in nine catches on 13 targets for 98 yards.

UK running back Kavosiey Smoke had seven carries for 62 yards and a touchdown. The sophomore averaged 5.7 yards more per carry than any other UK rusher.

Interesting Facts:
Saturday’s game was Kentucky’s latest season-opening date since 1941.

The Cats are now 88-37-5 all-time in season openers, which includes a 5-3 record under Mark Stoops.

UK is 1-15-1 against a ranked Auburn team.

Since 2015, Kentucky is 5-7 against ranked opponents.

The Cats’ last victory over a ranked SEC opponent took place in 2018 against No. 14 Mississippi State.

The UK defense allowed just 91 rushing yards on Saturday, which is the fewest they have surrendered on the road against a top-10 ranked opponent since 1999 against Mississippi State.

What’s Next?
Kentucky’s next game is scheduled for Oct. 3 against Ole Miss at Kroger Field. The game will kick off at 4:00 p.m. and will air on the SEC Network.

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