Kentucky's 59-17 loss to Dogs disappoints Stoops


Associated Press

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — One week ago, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops found reason to be encouraged by the improvement he saw in his team's close loss to Vanderbilt.

Stoops offered no similarly kind words following an ugly loss at Georgia.

Kentucky gave up 21 points in the first nine minutes and never recovered as the Wildcats were overwhelmed in a 59-17 loss to Georgia on Saturday night.

Kentucky (2-8, 0-7 Southeastern Conference) lost its 15th straight SEC game. But this was uglier than most losses, including last week's 22-6 loss to Vanderbilt.

"It was a tough night all the way around," Stoops said. "We were not good enough in any area, starting with myself and the assistant coaches. It was not acceptable, and we didn't have a good enough effort or good enough preparation."

The Wildcats must beat Tennessee next week to avoid their second straight 0-8 finish in the conference.

"I think there is no mystery that we need some changes," said Stoops, the first-year coach. "We are working through this, but it's a tough night. No one likes to go through tough nights like this. We have been competitive and we have fought our way through games, but tonight is a game that I am not real proud of. I told the team that. It starts with me, and I didn't do a good enough job tonight."

It was a tough week for the Wildcats.

Stoops suspended defensive back Cody Quinn, defensive end Jason Hatcher and wide receiver Demarco Robinson for undisclosed rules violations on Thursday.

Then starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow (left non-throwing shoulder) and starting running back Jojo Kemp (ankle) left the game with first-half injuries.

"Everything is fine," Kemp said. "I've been having ankle problems since high school, so it was just a little scary. I'm good."

Whitlow left after throwing only one pass.

Maxwell Smith completed 10 of 16 passes for 149 yards with one touchdown.

Georgia (7-4, 5-3) scored its most points in a SEC game since beating Kentucky 62-17 in 2004. The Bulldogs had 35 first downs and 602 total yards. Kentucky managed only 10 first downs and 211 yards while losing three of six fumbles.

The Wildcats' worst loss?

"Yeah, definitely," Smith said. "This seems like the worst one of them all. The turnovers we had. Just the dumb things we were doing. I couldn't tell you why this was the worst, but it just didn't feel good at all."

Georgia lost senior quarterback Aaron Murray to a left knee injury late in the first half. Murray threw four first-half touchdown passes before the injury.

Propped up by trainers, Murray couldn't put weight on his left leg as he was taken to the locker room late in the first half of his final home game. It was a sobering sight for coach Mark Richt after Murray made his 52nd consecutive start.

"It's just sickening," Richt said. "I really had a hard time enjoying the rest of the game. ... It's kind of a crummy feeling when you think of what Aaron is going through right now."

Todd Gurley ran for 77 yards and had five catches for 90 yards, including touchdown receptions for 16 and 24 yards, for Georgia.

Murray threw touchdown passes to Rhett McGowan, Gurley and Arthur Lynch for a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Kentucky finally answered with Dyshawn Mobley's 69-yard touchdown run late in the opening quarter, but the Wildcats' only other first-half points came on Joe Mansour's 24-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Smith threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Javess Blue with 3:54 remaining in the game.

Despite the long run by Mobley, Kentucky netted only 62 yards rushing. Kemp had eight carries for five yards.

Murray left the game after he was hit by defensive end Za'Darius Smith following a pass that was intercepted by Khalid Henderson with 2:17 remaining in the half.

On a night he and other Georgia seniors were honored in a pregame ceremony, Murray completed 18 of 23 passes for 183 yards with four touchdowns, including two to tight end Arthur Lynch, and one interception.

Mason threw the 24-yard touchdown pass to Gurley with only 12 seconds remaining in the half. Mason, a junior who could replace Murray as Georgia's starter in 2014, completed 13 of 19 passes for 189 yards and had a 1-yard touchdown run.

Murray also holds SEC records for career completions and total offense. He added another milestone as he easily gained the 108 yards passing he needed to become the first SEC quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards in four seasons. Hawaii's Timmy Chang (2000, 2002-04) and Boise State's Kellen Moore (2008-11) are the only other quarterbacks to pass for 3,000 yards in four seasons.