UK Football

Blue Review: Instant analysis from Kentucky’s 38-24 loss to Louisville

Video: Mikel Horton on loss to Louisville

Kentucky running back Mikel Horton talks about 38-24 loss to Louisville.
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Kentucky running back Mikel Horton talks about 38-24 loss to Louisville.

Instant analysis from Kentucky’s 38-24 loss to Louisville:

How the game was won

Down 24-7 at halftime, Louisville dominated the second half behind the running of freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson and a suffocating defense led by ex-TCU standout Devonte Fields.

Who’s up

1. Bobby Petrino. His second-half adjustments (more read option; isolating wideouts in the slot against UK safeties) completely turned the game. Bobby P. is now 6-0 against Kentucky in the Governor’s Cup rivalry (and 7-1 overall).

2. Lamar Jackson. A year after Kyle Bolin came off the bench to rally U of L from 13-0 down to victory against UK, Jackson ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns and threw for a score to bring the Cardinals all the way back from 24-7 down to win.

3. Louisville defense. Led by Devonte Fields (4.5 tackles for loss. 2.5 sacks), U of L held Kentucky to two first downs after halftime.

Who’s down

1. Mark Stoops. In a game the Kentucky coach badly needed to win, he instead got a gut-wrenching loss.

2. Kentucky offense. After running back Boom Williams was lost to injury in the first half, UK had six first downs the remainder of the game.

3. UK defense. Year after year, Kentucky defenses are helpless against mobile quarterbacks running the read option.

Key number

Five. With Saturday’s come-from-behind victory, Louisville becomes the first team in the modern history of the Governor’s Cup rivalry (since 1994) to win five games in a row in the series.

Fashion forward

For its final game of 2015, Kentucky wore blue helmets, gray jerseys and blue pants.

Up next

Unless there are not enough bowl-eligible teams to fill the allotted slots and Kentucky (5-7) is granted a waiver to participate in the postseason, UK’s next game will be against Southern Mississippi (9-3, the C-USA West Division winner) in the 2016 season opener, Sept. 3, in Commonwealth Stadium.

Know your foe

1. Kentucky added Southern Miss to its schedule to replace UAB after the Blazers, temporarily as it turned out, dropped football. In exchange for USM signing on to be a late fill-in for 2016, UK agreed to open its 2017 season at Hattiesburg, Miss.

2. At the time Kentucky agreed to play Southern Miss, the Golden Eagles had gone 4-32 over the prior three seasons (2012-14).

3. Under third-year head coach Todd Monken, the former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator, Southern Miss has turned things around in 2015 with a dynamic offense. Going into Saturday’s season finale, the Golden Eagles were averaging 40.2 points and 533 yards a game.

Mark Story

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