Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Season wrap: Kentucky
By Sam Khan Jr.
It was a rough first season for new head coach Mark Stoops & Co. in Lexington, Ky. The Wildcats' only two victories came against winless Miami (Ohio) and FCS foe Alabama State. Kentucky did not win a conference game, either.
The good news is that Stoops is faring well on the recruiting trail and more talent is on the way, as the Wildcats have the 19th-ranked 2014 class. Also, a $110 million redesign of Commonwealth Stadium is in the works. There's really nowhere else to go but up.
Offensive MVP: The Wildcats didn't have skill position players who produced eye-popping numbers, but redshirt freshman center Jon Toth started 11 games and graded out well. He had 41 knockdown blocks and missed only three assignments for the season. He earned a spot on the coaches' SEC All-Freshman team.
Defensive MVP: Senior linebacker Avery Williamson led the Wildcats with 102 tackles and had four tackles for loss, a sack and two fumble recoveries. Williamson earned second-team All-SEC honors from the league's coaches. Junior defensive end Alvin Dupree also had a strong season, leading the team in sacks (seven) and tackles for loss (9.5).
Best moment: In a two-win season, there typically aren't many great moments. There were some positive moments in losses, particularly the fight the Wildcats showed to keep their game against South Carolina close on Oct. 5. The Wildcats trailed 21-0 at one point and 27-7 going into the fourth quarter, but pulled to within a score in the final quarter and ultimately lost 35-28.
Worst moment: The late-season blowout loss to Georgia wasn't pretty. Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray threw four first-half touchdown passes before leaving with a knee injury, and his backup, Hutson Mason, came in and threw for 189 more yards, running and throwing for touchdowns. Georgia ran away with a 59-17 victory.