Jen Smith on UK Football

Stoops on ’15 Vandy loss: ‘It’ll probably bother me for the rest of my life’

Lexington Herald-Leader

So many plays from that 21-17 loss at Vanderbilt last season haunt Kentucky and its head coach.

Kentucky won the overall yardage battle 352-301, including outgaining the Commodores on the ground 225-135.

But in six trips to the red zone, Kentucky only scored two touchdowns and a field goal, including one series where the Commodores got four straight stops at their goal line and UK came up empty.

In all there were two empty tricks within the 5-yard line, a fumble near the end zone, a pick six, special teams gaffes and an unguarded Vanderbilt receiver who scored on a trick play.

“This is the first time I’ve felt like we were a better team and went in there and lost,” UK Coach Mark Stoops said after the loss at Vanderbilt. “That puts the frustration at the highest point.”

A year later, it’s still fresh.

“Does last year’s Vanderbilt game hurt? Absolutely,” he said on Monday. “It bothers me. It’ll probably bother me for the rest of my life, yes. But this is a totally new year.”

Vanderbilt scored 14 points off of UK turnovers in that Cats loss. Kentucky comes into the game one of the most turnover prone teams in the country with 14 (only two other teams have more).

This season the Commodores have caused three more turnovers than they’ve had.

“A big determining factor in this game will be turnovers,” Stoops said. “Vandy has done a nice job with that. They’re giving up yards, but they’ve done a nice job with turnovers.”