Kentucky will have two weeks to get over its first loss of the season.
The 13th-ranked Wildcats had a hard time finding the end zone in a 20-14 overtime loss at Texas A&M Saturday night at College Station.
Trayveon Williams scored on a 10-yard run on the Aggies’ first possession of overtime for the game-winner. Prior to the score by Williams, Miles Butler missed a 43-yard field goal attempt on the Wildcats’ first possession of the extra period.
Williams rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown, while Texas A&M signal caller threw for 226 yards and two scores as the Aggies finished with 390 yards of offense. Texas A&M was limited to 164 yards on the ground, including 70 during the first two quarters.
Kentucky managed just 178 yards of offense in the team’s lowest output of the season. The Wildcats had just 62 yards in the second half. Many of Kentucky’s drives were stalled by holding penalties. Overall the Wildcats were penalized eight times for a loss of 52 yards. Kentucky was just 2-13 on third-down conversions.
Benny Snell collected just 60 yards on 13 carries, a season-low for the standout running back. Terry Wilson threw for 108 yards and his lone touchdown pass, was an end-around toss to Lynn Bowden for a 54-yard touchdown in the first half.
“He was not comfortable all night,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “And that’s on everybody, not just on him. We have to a better job as a coaching staff to put him in a position to get him some comfort. Our players have to give him some protection and we have to do some things better.”
The Aggies went ahead 14-7 on Kellen Mond’s 46-yard deflected pass to teammate Joe Sternberger with 10:13 remaining. Kentucky tied the score on Darius West’s 40-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown with 4:17 remaining.
West had a standout game on the defensive end, collected 10 tackles, complete with an interception and a fumble recovery Mike Edwards added nine tackles, including three for a loss.
Stoops said the open week will give his squad a chance to swallow the tough setback.
“We have good leadership on this team and we’re going to hit the reset button here,” Stoops said. “We’ll look at all things we did very good, successfully, to get it to 5-1 and we’ll look at the things where we need to improve and work on those things.”
The contest was the first meeting between Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and Jimbo Fisher. Stoops served as Fisher’s defensive coordinator at Florida State from 2009-12. Fisher is in his first season at Texas A&M.
Stoops said the atmosphere in the first meeting between the two teams in 65 years was “incredible.”
“I wish we could have finished it off and got that victory,” he said. “But again, I am proud of our team. That’s a very, very difficult place to play right here and to have an opportunity to take it to overtime and win, you have to give our guys credit for that. I appreciate them.”
The Aggies had lost their six previous games against Top 25 opponents prior to the six-point victory over the Wildcats. Texas A&M lost to top-ranked Alabama and No. 4 Clemson earlier this season.
Kentucky was one of three teams that suffered their first loss of the season Saturday. LSU and Oklahoma also lost. The Tigers dropped a 27-19 loss to No. 22 Florida, while Oklahoma suffered a 48-45 loss to Texas.
Give them credit,” Stoops said of the Aggies. “They have a very good football team. Very talented football team. They played and they beat us. Very proud of our guys’ effort and we just gotta get back to work and execute and do some things better. We’ll do that.”
Kentucky will have an open date week Saturday and will take on Vanderbilt on Oct. 20 at Kroger Field. The Wildcats play three of their last six games on the road and the same number of contests at home.
The Wildcats host No. 2 Georgia on Nov. 3 and Middle Tennessee on Nov. 17. Kentucky is at Missouri on Oct. 27, Tennessee on Nov. 10 and closes out the regular season at Louisville on Nov. 24. The Commodores lost to Georgia Saturday night.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.