Trailing by three points against Auburn on Thursday night, Kentucky was driving the ball down the field when Wildcats offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson called a play that left some scratching their heads.
On second and 5 with no timeouts and under a minute remaining in the game, Kentucky called a run play at midfield. Running back Stanley Williams was stopped for a 2-yard gain, and the Wildcats failed to convert on third or fourth down, ending the game.
At Monday’s press conference, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was asked about that moment in the game.
“I think, like I said after the game, it’s always easy (to second guess),” Stoops said. “People that say ‘Would you do anything different?’ I mean, most people would be lying if it didn’t work, right? Certainly if you’d let me do that play over again, of course we’d call a pass.”
While many questioned the call because of the amount of time remaining in the game, and Kentucky’s lack of timeouts, Stoops claimed that wasn’t the problem.
“Time wasn’t the issue in that game,” Stoops said. “Downs were. We lost a down there, we didn’t really lose time, necessarily. I think we had a lot of time, you know, to finish that game off.”
Although he may have done something different a second time around, Stoops defended the decision that was made in that moment.
“It’s understandable to get some criticism over that,” Stoops said. “We can handle it, that’s fine. But I support the call because we have to, I’ve said it all along, whether it’s a situation where you’re dealing with time right there or anytime in the game, if you can play with two safeties and play two deep and roll up on our receivers then you have to be able to run the ball. We’ve done it before and it worked, and had we popped that run for some good yards, then I think all of you would be sitting there writing about what a genius (Dawson) was.”