UK FOOTBALL | Struggles aside, Stoops still trusts Patrick Towles

09/22/2015 08:23 PM

LEXINGTON — It’s been an up-and-down first three games for Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles.

The redshirt junior made his 2015 debut with guns blazing against Louisiana Lafayette in the season opener, throwing for over 200 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone.

But whatever happened in that halftime locker room, it’s been a different story ever since.

After a career-worst 8-24 passing performance in UK’s 14-9 loss to Florida on Saturday, Towles’ completion percentage has fallen below 52% for the season, and he’s now thrown more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3).

But despite the struggles, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops says he still has confidence in his starting signal caller, explaining the offense as a whole must improve in order for Towles to succeed.

  • “You know, there are things that we are constantly looking at to help alleviate some pressure and different things,” Stoops said at his weekly press conference at Commonwealth Stadium on Monday. “There are things that we can do better. There are things we can do throughout the week and some formations we can put him in to help him be successful. We will all do our part and he will be fine.”

One of the issues has been underperformance of the offensive line, a group unable to stop a persistent Florida pass rush that sacked Towles six times and hurried him out of the pocket on numerous other occasions.

To make matters worse, the Kentucky receiving corps also couldn’t catch a cold against the Gators, dropping six passes for the game, including what should have been a 42-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Dorian Baker on the Wildcats’ first possession.

But Towles has also had his share of misfires, too, something Stoops says his quarterback must improve.

  • “He does some very good things,” Stoops said of Towles. “The deep ball he threw to Jeff [Badet] and passes throughout the game — the talent is there. The frustrating thing for him and for myself and for all of us is when there are layups there, you can’t miss layups. That, he has to improve on, and he knows that.”

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Wildcats this week with No. 25 Missouri coming to town on Saturday.

The Wildcats have dropped 18 consecutive contests against ranked opponents with their last victory coming on October 16, 2010 against No. 10 South Carolina.


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