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Louisville 32, Kentucky 14: The Clock Starts Ticking on Joker Phillips


If Maxwell Smith was the biggest concern Kentucky had heading into the season, then that preseason worry seems to be out of the way. But the Wildcats showed Sunday that they have a whole new set of problems to contend with.

Smith was solid in the opener against Louisville -- at least when he had time to throw -- going 35-of-50 for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But the running game was lackluster -- Kentucky gained just 93 yards despite a decent average (4.9 ypc) -- and the defense was abysmal. The Wildcats gave up 466 yards of total offense to Louisville, a team that has not recently been known for its explosiveness. Two different Lousville runners topped 100 yards; Senorise Perry gained 108 and a touchdown while Jeremy Wright ran for 105 yards and three scores. Teddy Bridgewater looked spectacular for the Cards, going 19-of-21 passing for 232 yards.

And so begins what could be Joker Phillips' last season in Lexington. The Cats have a couple of cupcake games on deck before starting a gauntlet of four games against currently ranked teams in five weeks. Even if Phillips survives that, there's only one sure win left on the schedule afterwards. Unless Kentucky can correct some serious problems before then, it might be Phillips' final victory as Kentucky's head coach.