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KENTUCKY Team Report


No one reached for a moral victory or a convenient rationalization after playing close in a 24-17 home loss to South Carolina on Saturday.

"This was an extremely disappointing game," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said, "because I felt like we stopped ourselves a lot of times with negative plays. This was a game of woulda, coulda, shoulda."

The game was filled with opportunities for the Wildcats (3-3, 1-2 SEC), who even did some positive things with a few of those opportunities.

A defense allowing 448 yards per game held the Gamecocks to 383 yards, 135 in the second half. On offense, quarterback Andre Woodson passed for 289 yards against the nation's fifth-ranked pass defense. The special teams came through with a big play when punter Tim Masthay ran 17 yards for a first down on a third-quarter fake punt, setting up Kentucky's first score.

But every time the Wildcats took advantage of an opportunity, they also seemed to waste one. The best example came with Kentucky trailing 17-10 early in the fourth quarter and facing first-and-10 at the South Carolina 27-yard line. First, a holding call by tackle Michael Aitcheson cost the Wildcats 10 yards. On the next play, Woodson was sacked for a 1-yard loss. Three plays later, kicker Lones Seiber missed a 45-yard attempt.

The Wildcats were also hurt by botched shotgun snaps and had two players in a position to recover a fumble at the South Carolina 7-yard line, only to not come up with the ball.

"You have a botched snap, a hold, a sack. Those are things that are hard to overcome," Kentucky offensive coordinator Joker Phillips said. "We were behind the count all night, and you can't, as deep behind the count as we were. You get into situations like first-and-20 or second-and-19. We're not good enough to overcome that."

What will really bother the Wildcats this week as they prepare for a road game at LSU is the idea that they were good enough to win the game without having to overcome so many mistakes and missed opportunities.

"We know we were capable of beating this team," Woodson said. "Really, I feel like we should've beaten this team, but obviously they made more plays than us."


   GAME BALL GOES TO: LB Wesley Woodyard -- Woodyard continues to overcome the lack of help up front and lead the Wildcats. This time he had a team-high nine tackles with seven solo stops.

   KEEP AN EYE ON: QB Andre Woodson -- He threw an interception and took three sacks, but he also completed 18 of 31 passes for 289 yards with one touchdown pass and a touchdown run on a bootleg.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "I just tell them to keep their head up and let's get better. We still have a chance to have a good year." -- Kentucky coach Rich Brooks.


   LOOKING GOOD: CB Shomari Moore -- His interception at the Kentucky 1-yard line was the first of the season for a Kentucky cornerback. Moore also recorded seven tackles, and his interception gave the Wildcats at least one pick in five consecutive games.

P Tim Masthay -- His 17-yard run on a fake punt led to Kentucky's first touchdown of the game. He also averaged 43.3 yards per punt and dropped two inside the 20-yard line.

WR Dicky Lyons -- Lyons averaged 26.3 yards per catch on three receptions and caught a touchdown pass.

   STILL NEEDS WORK: OT Michael Aitcheson -- With Kentucky trailing 17-10, his holding penalty put the brakes on a promising drive in South Carolina territory.

The secondary -- Kentucky defensive coaches and players admitted they knew South Carolina would throw the ball back to quarterback Syvelle Newton at some point, and they weren't ready for WR Kenny McKinley's double-reverse 22-yard touchdown pass to Newton with 4:42 left.

RB Rafael Little -- The Wildcats didn't block well enough to give Little room to gain more than 50 yards on 13 carries.

   ROSTER REPORT: Injuries took a significant roll on Kentucky's defensive tackles in the South Carolina game, with senior Lamar Mills (shoulder) and Myron Pryor (elbow) both leaving the game and not returning. Freshman Corey Peters is also out for at least two more weeks with a knee injury.

Those injuries left Kentucky with just one healthy tackle, sophomore Ventrell Jenkins. Ricky Abren played with a cast on his injured wrist but defensive coordinator Mike Archer told the Lexington Herald-Leader Abren "probably shouldn't have been playing."

Those injuries forced Jason Leger, who moved to the offensive line two weeks ago, to play several snaps at defensive tackle late in the game. Backup DE Travis Day also played some snaps at tackle.

If the Wildcats don't get some good news on Mills and Pryor this week, Archer said they have to play freshman Ricky Lumpkin. The coaches have been trying to redshirt Lumpkin this season.

Kentucky opened against South Carolina with a nickel defense, starting sophomore Shomari Moore as the extra defensive back.

Previous Report: 10/05/2006




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