Kentucky finally looked like it would snap its decades-long losing streak to Florida on Saturday night, but the Wildcats fell 28-27 in heartbreaking fashion.
UK led 27-14 midway through the fourth quarter but ultimately gave up the lead with an inexcusable mistake. With under a minute to go, Florida scored the decisive touchdown when wideout Freddie Swain was left completely uncovered on a third-and-one play from the UK five-yard line.
The gaffe came after a Florida timeout and, as you can see above, featured a player running off the field, apparently under the impression there were 12 men on the field. Instead, the Wildcats had only 10 against Florida’s 11, and, well, you can see how that worked out.
To make matters worse, Florida scored in the first half under a very similar circumstance. After calling a timeout, Florida went for it on a fourth-and-three play from the Wildcats’ 45-yard line. This time it was Tyrie Cleveland who went uncovered and ran in for a 45-yard score, tying the game 14-14 before halftime.
You don't get more wide open than this…
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 24, 2017
On Monday, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said he now has two staffers on the sideline who will specifically make sure there are no uncovered receivers. Really.
First, he took responsibility for what transpired.
“Obviously, that can’t happen. There’s no excuse for it. That starts with me. Now I got two guys that the ball cannot be snapped unless we have leverage on both sides of the ball. That’s on me. I can’t believe it happened, but it did and I take responsibility for that. So, that cannot happen. We have plenty of people that can watch and look for things. That shouldn’t happen, and it did,” Stoops said per Kentucky.com.
Stoops said that has now happened to him three times in his career, all at Kentucky, was later asked specifically if UK had “measures” in place to make sure it won’t happen again.
“I do and that is in place and that’s on me. We have to have somebody specifically looking,” Stoops said. “In 30 years, it’s happened to me three times and it’s happened to me three times here. So that’s on me. That shouldn’t ever happen again. I’ll have two people watching the edges, the perimeter of the field and if we’re not in position, somebody better be hitting me over the head and I need to call a timeout.”
With the final score near the goal line, Stoops said there was an issue with communication when trying to substitute.
“With the second one, the one on the goal line, like I said the communication, there’s a lot of things that go on. It’s very loud down there, and we can’t try to sub at that point. We tried to switch personnel and the two corners got confused on who was coming out and who wasn’t and again, that can’t happen, and again, that’s on me. I cannot let that happen.”
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