Fifty snaps and just one tackle.
It wasn't the game Matt Elam had envisioned in his first start.
"I just kind of feel bad because I feel I could've done more," Elam said Wednesday night. "I took it harder than what it really was. I just had high expectations for my first starting game."
So did fans. And they let him know that he didn't meet those expectations after the 42-16 drubbing at Mississippi State.
"People are like, 'Oh, you missed that play' or 'You suck, you're horrible,'" Elam continued.
And as hard as he tried not to, the 6-foot-7, 360-pound nose guard took those criticisms to heart.
Then the Kentucky coaches showed him the film and helped the sophomore — starting in his first game after replacing senior Melvin Lewis, who suffered a broken leg — understand that it's not always about the number of tackles.
Sometimes it's just about Elam doing what he is capable of and trying to build on that.
Defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh cut up film and showed Elam the things he did well in stopping the run. Coaches showed him things they hope he will one day be able to do in pass rush.
But for now, Elam's job mostly is to clog up the middle.
"He was a very good run stopper," defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said of Elam after his first career start. "I thought he held his gap well and I thought he shut down the middle, which is the job of the nose guard."
Coach Mark Stoops assured Elam that he did what he was put in there to do.
"When we watched film and everything, against the run it was good," Elam continued. "I just gotta stay lower and work hard at that. But that's what I'm here for, just to stop the run, and that's what they were saying, and I did good. So I was kind of happy with that."
It's been an emotional couple of weeks for Elam, who is close friends with the guy he replaced in the starting lineup. Elam leaned heavily on Lewis in practices to learn techniques, to learn plays, to grow his game.
Not having Lewis since the Auburn game has been an adjustment for Elam. But he's watching more film and trying to focus on the instruction he's getting.
"I got more serious because I know with Melvin out, my team wanted me to step up," Elam said. "So that's something I definitely gotta do, because at the end of the day I feel like I'm a player and I want to make plays."
For now, that play-making involves trying to shut down the run, which will be key against Tennessee which is third in the Southeastern Conference in rushing offense, averaging 209.1 yards a game behind sophomore Jalen Hurd and mobile quarterback Joshua Dobbs.
While Lewis was good at pushing the pocket and quickening quarterbacks from that nose guard spot, it's part of the game Elam hasn't developed, which coaches say isn't surprising.
Without Lewis, who had 37 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in his first season as a starter last year and 20 tackles (two for loss with a sack) this season, UK is having to adjust.
The Cats' pass rush is going to have to come from somewhere else.
"You know pass rush is not Matt's thing," Stoops said of Elam, who hasn't recorded a tackle for loss in his career. "That's where we have to try to create some here and there. It hurts us at times, but we're asking Matt to be what he is."
There are things coaches would like to see from Elam on passing plays when they happen on his watch (mostly on first and second downs).
"He can push the pocket and he's big, so he gets in the way of the quarterback," Eliot said.
"Other guys have to step up and be more effective pass rushers. Melvin was pretty good at it so now we have other guys to have to step up around him and do a better job."
It's been a primary focus this week for the Kentucky defense, which is last in the SEC and 123rd in the nation in tackles for loss this season, ahead of just five other teams.
Elam could become more helpful with that aspect in time.
Coaches expect the more repetitions that come, the more useful he will be.
"You've got to realize that Melvin's been a seasoned vet," Brumbaugh said. "He's played two years before and so he understands the transition, the transition over to pass and some different things. That's one of the things we're working on with Matt."