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November 23, 2013

Cats suffer worst loss of season at Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. -- Kentucky heads home, short-handed for now and empty-handed again, after its worst loss of the year.

With three players suspended, the Wildcats lost 59-17 Saturday night at Georgia, their most lopsided loss of the season.

"That definitely seemed like the worst of them all," sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith said.

"They pretty much whooped us all night," sophomore running back Dyshawn Mobley said.

Smith entered the game in the first quarter when sophomore starter Jalen Whitlow was injured and didn't return.

With Smith, the offense sputtered yet again, gaining just 211 yards and picking up 10 or fewer on eight of their 12 drives. Smith said it was a "tough situation" to enter the game as a backup, and finished 10-of-16 for 149 yards and a touchdown.

"Obviously went about as bad as it could go," offensive coordinator Neal Brown said.

The other side of the ball didn't fare any better, as Georgia racked up 602 yards, scoring touchdowns on four of its first five possessions and stringing together five consecutive scoring drives in the second half.

Bulldogs starting quarterback Aaron Murray picked apart Kentucky, throwing for 183 yards and four touchdowns in the first half before leaving the game with a knee injury.

His backup, Hutson Mason, picked up where he left off, finishing with 189 yards and a touchdown.

Kentucky's torched defense was playing without three heavily used players -- suspended cornerback Cody Quinn, suspended defensive end Jason Hatcher and injured cornerback Nate Willis -- although Stoops said he didn't think "it would have made much of a difference" had they been available to play.

The punishments for "violations of team rules" that were handed to those suspended players didn't detract from their preparation, Stoops said.

"That's not a distraction," Smith said. "We just got our butts kicked, plain and simple."

"They came in with an attitude," coach Mark Stoops said, "and they took it to us from the opening kickoff until the end of the game. Really pretty clear-cut."

It's also become clear-cut that Kentucky is running out of time to turn things around.

With just one game remaining in Stoops' inaugural season, the Wildcats haven't produced results they want.

"We're kind of limping in down the stretch here," Stoops said. "We've got to regroup."

Just how to do that remains unclear. After nine losses, each one mounting on top of the next, Stoops is looking at one more week and one more chance, to put a positive note on his first year at Kentucky.

Because that note didn't come against Georgia.

"There have been some games this year where you lose, you take something from it," Stoops said. "Tonight wasn't one of those."


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