Kentucky moaning and groaning

Marvin Westwestwords

Did you hear the moaning and groaning? Did you see or feel the tears flowing down I-75? Kentucky had a hard time with the Tennessee blackout, the 44-6 romp over the Wildcats.

They had talked themselves into believing their team is good. They actually thought they might upset the Volunteers.

They now think all is lost. Their coach isn’t as good as our coach. Their quarterback is destined for NFL fame and fortune but our quarterback is a much better player.

Their star runner, Chris Rodriguez, led the first-quarter drive and mostly watched thereafter. Injured? Tough game!

Mark Stoops told the truth. He said the better team won.

It was a devastating experience. Kentuckians felt they had been kicked back down the ladder. In his second year, Josh Heupel is delivering the magical season the blue people believed belonged to them.

This is Stoops’ 10th year.

The 38-point margin was the largest by one ranked Southeastern Conference team against another since 1990 – Tennessee 45, Florida 3.

Stoops told his players this was no accident.

“They beat us in virtually every area, outcoached us, outplayed us.”

The college football world is getting the message. The 8-0 Vols are tied with Ohio State for second place in the AP poll.

In Lexington and Louisville newspapers and on assorted websites, Kentucky fans expressed heartbreak and deadly disappointment. They saw Wildcat failures instead of Vol improvement.

  • “Kentucky looked completely unprepared.”
  • “Kentucky is overrated. The offensive coordinator is inept. The offensive line is awful. The team had no desire to win.”
  • “Looked like men over boys. Just pitiful.”
  • “Coaches should be arrested for fraud. Kentucky really is a basketball school.”
  • “Quitting was highly disappointing. The cats had no fight.”
  • “All aspects of this team are failures.”

Chuckle, chuckle, laugh, laugh.

Vol fans would never talk like that. They were not so blunt even in the time of Derek Dooley, Butch Jones or Jeremy Pruitt.

It was a brutal night for Kentucky’s offense. The Cats only mustered 98 passing yards against a Tennessee pass defense that ranked No. 114 out of 131 coming in.

What UK fans saw as offensive disaster, Heupel saw as defensive development. Will Levis was blamed with three interceptions. In fact, Doneiko Slaughter caused one with a vicious hit and took another from a receiver.

Levis was sacked four times. Byron Young, De’Jon Terry, Omari Thomas and Tyler Baron did it.

Levis endured considerable pressure. He was a minimum factor in the second half. Could be because Kentucky switched to the running game? We don’t know why, unless it was to run clock and hold the score under 70.

Heupel mentioned player improvement. Slaughter was something of a surprise starter at cornerback. He had been the replacement for Jaylen McCollough at safety. Before that, he helped at the star position. This latest switch worked fine.

“It just comes with mentality,” he said. “Once you play star, you know every part of the defense in and out. If you have the mentality that you want to be great, God will have your back.”

Slaughter is a hitter. In boyhood, he was a linebacker. As the youngest of three brothers, he thought every day was destined to include a fight.

If you watch a game replay, look for the Slaughter hit on Kentucky wide receiver Dane Key. It was the stuff of bad bruises and worse headaches.

Slaughter loved it. Kentuckians blamed Levis for throwing high and hanging Key on a clothesline.

Marvin West welcomes reader comments or questions. His address is

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