As you might expect, Will Levis was not a happy camper after Kentucky’s loss to Vanderbilt. The senior quarterback was 11-23 for 109 yards and zero touchdowns in the 24-21 defeat, Kentucky’s fourth of the season. Levis was sacked four times and his Hail Mary on the final play was picked off. Against the second-to-worse scoring defense in the SEC, the Cats struggled yet again, amassing 322 yards on 54 plays. While Levis owned his mistakes speaking with reporters after the game, he also called out his teammates for theirs.
“It’s one thing when you’re just not playing as well as the other team. It’s another thing when you’re beating yourself and guys aren’t doing the right thing and aren’t locked in. When that happens, it’s frustrating. I got a little more vocal with the guys today when those things happen because that is unacceptable. We haven’t seen it at the rate we did today yet this year and the combination of that and being disappointed in myself and knowing that I can be doing better. I try to keep my calm out there but sometimes you need that extra motivation for your guys, which I tried to step up and do today but it didn’t end up working out.”
Vanderbilt snapped a 26-game SEC losing streak with today’s win over Kentucky. This season may not have gone as we all hoped back in September, but there was still plenty to play for today. A Florida bowl. Recruiting and NIL momentum. Unfortunately, the Dores just wanted the win more, an alarming sign with two regular season games remaining.
“I guess their guys just decided to play harder,” Levis said. “We didn’t play hard all throughout the game but I guess when times are needed to play hard, guys step up and play hard. It’s a matter of getting that mindset through to them throughout the whole game instead of just one drive.”
Levis still mulling message to team
After Kentucky’s loss to South Carolina, Mark Stoops and DeAndre Square called out the team’s lack of energy. Today, Levis did the same.
“Not enough hype,” Levis said of the team’s mentality. “Not enough juice. We talked about it among us all week and we did not buy into it. We did not play hard as they did. We knew they were going to play hard as they play hard every single game you see them play, whether they lose by 50 or win you never know. We knew that about them, and we did not match them today.”
Kentucky hosts No. 1 Georgia on Saturday and Louisville the week after that. Levis wants to reflect on today’s humiliating loss before figuring out what to say to his teammates on Monday.
“I’ve been thinking about what I want to say to the guys but I’ve got to look in the mirror first and what I can say to myself and what I can do to improve myself. If there’s one point of emphasis, it’s just mentality, and when you’re in here, when you’re in practice, when you’re engaged in football in any way, having the utmost attention to detail and focus and energy. No lackadaisical or laziness by anybody.”