Mark Stoops was pretty devastated after Kentucky’s loss to South Carolina. He admitted the loss was “about as rough as it gets.” Two days later, he was feeling more upbeat and excited to have a rivalry game up next, but there’s no denying that Saturday was a disaster.
“That was inexcusable,” Kentucky’s head coach said Monday morning.
The loss has put a hex on fans as the program appears to be teetering. After a 5-0 start, Kentucky has now lost five of its last six games and will finish with a losing record in SEC play for the second straight season. Stoops believes these Wildcats still have a little left in the tank.
“Nobody’s defeated in our in our facility, that’s for sure. Disappointed with that game and that comes from investing so much, but we’re far from defeated. Our team will show the resolve that we’ve always had, and come back this week and try to put together a great week and the bottom line is go execute a little better than we did Saturday. That’s what was so frustrating,” said Stoops.
The defense started slow, but did show the resolve Stoops referenced by forcing three-and-outs on four of the next five possessions. The offense was able to move the football on South Carolina, then turnovers got in the way and kept points off the scoreboard.
“We had a window where we had an opportunity. Then after that, on the road in some of these environments, momentum slips away, and we let it get away from us,” said Stoops.
“It’s disappointing, but we’ll get it corrected. There’s nothing that we can’t get corrected. We’ll keep on moving forward.”
The last time Kentucky was backed into a corner, Stoops seemingly willed his team to win on the road against a bad Mississippi State team. The challenge this week at Louisville is much more daunting. Unable to close out any of its opponents in three games that were separated by one possession in the fourth quarter, Stoops will have to will everything he can out of his team to end a disappointing season on a high note.
“We had our opportunities, and in certain moments we fell short. We have to — there’s one way out of that stuff, go work. Go work and go grind and show the resolve that our teams generally have had. We know we’re not perfect. We know we got things to work on, but we’ve always had the the ability and the toughness and the grit to fight back.”