Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

October 3, 2009

Cats can't hang with big boys

Kentucky was right on the verge. Not of winning the game, necessarily, but of taking the lead and the ball on a play that could have changed the outlook of the remainder of the game.

A second failed opportunity by the UK offense in Alabama territory set up a second punt by Ryan Tydlacka to inside the 5-yard line.

With Alabama leading 7-6, Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson took the handoff and was slammed down in the end zone by two Wildcats.

Safety! Two points and the lead! Right?

Nope.

Forward progress was Richardson’s friend, which led to the fact that teams atop the SEC cannot be Kentucky’s true enemies.

That’s because the Wildcats just won’t be able to hang with the conference big boys this season.They did improve upon last week’s 41-7 shellacking to Florida, but road games against South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia stand as near-automatic losses right now.

If that’s the case, out of the games against Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt, two of those are must-wins to get back to a bowl game.

Alabama seized the opportunity deep in its own territory by turning a two-yard loss by Richardson into a 13-play, 97-yard drive that ate up 6:50 minutes of the clock.

That led to a quicker downfall than Billy Gillispie’s popularity after the basketball team’s NIT bid last season.

The Tide rolled to two scores in less than 20 seconds, as Colin Peek caught a touchdown pass from Greg McElroy and a fumble by Derrick Locke was returned 45 yards to paydirt.

Locke had difficulty shedding the memory of the fumble.

“I felt like I let my team down,” Locke said. “I have no idea what the outcome of the game would have been had I not lost the ball.”

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