Kentucky Football: Cats Fall to Georgia Tech in TaxSlayer Bowl
Kentucky Football: Cats offense sputters, Georgia Tech capitalizes on mistakes, and UK falls 33-18 to the Yellow Jackets in the TaxSlayer Bowl
Dec 31, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Justin Thomas (5) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter as offensive lineman Andrew Marshall (50) looks on against the Kentucky Wildcats at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Georgia Tech capitalized on Kentucky mistakes early, then dominated the time of possession with the running game in the second half, thwarting a late UK comeback attempt for the 33-18 win over the Cats in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
The Yellow Jackets rushed for 266 yards on 51 carries, averaging 5.22 yards per carry, enabling Georgia Tech to dominate the time of possession once it had established a 20-3 lead at the half. The Cats dug their own hole early, as quarterback Stephen Johnson coughed up the ball on a sack, leading to a scoop-and-score for Tech to open the scoring in the first quarter. Then trailing 10-3, the Cats drove the length of the field only to get stuffed on a key fourth down at the Georgia Tech five-yard line. The Yellow Jackets responded by driving the length of the field to take a 17-3 lead.
In the second half, Kentucky couldn’t capitalize on any opportunities offensively, leaving a tired defense on the field. That’s when Tech went to the fullback dive, again and again, to which the Cats had no answer. Dedrick Mills pounded Kentucky 31 times for 169 yards and the final backbreaking touchdown.
First-half miscues, an offense that was inept for much of the game, and the inability to take away the fullback dive in the second half tell the story of Kentucky’s first bowl appearance since 2010. Within it all, Kentucky had its chances, but just couldn’t seem to make enough key plays, and the breaks certainly went against the Cats at times. In the end, Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech team looked ready, were able make big plays early to establish the lead, while the Yellow Jackets defense did an excellent job disrupting Kentucky’s offense.
More from Wildcat Blue Nation
A tough loss for the Cats. Stay tuned with more coverage, including deeper analysis into what went wrong for Kentucky, and a look at the big picture for the Kentucky football program.