After all, he had been harassed by the Louisville defense all night. He was sacked six times, hit many other times and forced to scramble more than Kentucky coach Joker Phillips wanted. That’s why even though Newton went 27-for-41 passing for 255 yards and two scores, he knew it was far from a winning performance.
“It was just a tough night,” he said. “I took a couple of sacks. Got hit a few times. I¿have got to do a better job getting rid of the ball and getting it out faster.”
Perhaps it summed up UK’s offense on the Cats’ final offensive play when Newton was hit and hurried into making a wild throw to an open LaRod King that would have given Kentucky a first down about the 10-yard line with 45 seconds to play and a chance to still salvage a win.
“The passing numbers just look better because we had more opportunities to throw. I don’t know if we threw that much combined in the first two games,”¿Newton said. “When you throw more, there is more opportunity for yardage. But yards don’t mean much when you lose.”
Kentucky had to throw because it couldn’t run. The Wildcats rushed for 35 yards on 32 carries and had just one carry of 10 or more yards — a late 19-yard scramble by Newton.
“We were terrible,” offensive guard Stuart Hines said. “We didn’t help Morgan enough. That’s on us in the line.”
Newton was pointing no fingers.
“We shot ourselves in the foot. Penalties. Missed assignments. Fumbles. Bad throws,” he said.
With UK 2-1 going into Southeastern Conference play Saturday against Florida, even Newton wonders what lies ahead.
“I will be interested to see how the team reacts, and I¿include myself in that,”¿Newton said. “It does not get easier. I’ve got to go be a leader and get guys going every play, including myself.
“You can’t play the what-if game. We lost. We can’t change that now. We just have to find a way to change the way we play going forward so this doesn’t happen again. It won’t be easy, but in tough times you have to do more.”
“Morgan can be better, but we all can,” UK¿coach Joker Phillips said.