'It's 1 football game of 12': What Eli Drinkwitz said after Missouri lost to Kentucky

Chris Kwiecinski
Columbia Daily Tribune

In a game where Missouri was on the ropes in the second quarter, the Tigers found a way back into the game against Kentucky.

But, it wasn't enough.

The Tigers fell 35-28 to the Wildcats in the first SEC football game of the season after UK held MU on a fourth-and-13 with 1:30 to go in the game.

Significantly, Kentucky ran for 340 yards as a team, which led to some blunt analysis from Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz.

"We got our butt whipped up front," Drinkwitz said.

Here's what else Drinkwitz said after the game.

More:Mizzou football never quit, but falls 35-28 to Kentucky: What we learned from the SEC opener

On the game

Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz stands in the team area during the third quarter against Kentucky.

Saturday was Drinkwitz's first SEC road game with a hostile environment. The Tigers struggled in the first half, and almost went down 28-7 before forcing a turnover. Missouri even had a chance to win the game at the end.

That effort was what Drinkwitz mentioned often after the game.

"I'm proud of my football team, really friggin' proud of them. I mean, they fought their butt off in a hostile crowd," he said.

"They frickin' fought their butt off, blocked the field goal and gave us a chance to win the game. We didn't get it done, but there's no reason to hang our heads. There's no reason to panic. Anybody needs to panic or jump on Twitter and go crazy, relax. It's Week 2, on the road, at night, SEC football game versus a good opponent. We had a chance to win. We didn't get it done. We'll go back to work tomorrow and we'll go to fixing it.

"Whole heck of a lot of football season left. And I tell you what, I saw a bunch of fighters in that locker room, a bunch of friggin' fighters on the sideline."

More:'Moral victories really stink': Mizzou football fans share mixed emotions after losing at Kentucky

On Missouri QB Connor Bazelak

Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak (8) throws a pass during the first half against Kentucky.

Connor Bazelak went 34 of 51 for 294 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. He threw an interception early in the second half, but Missouri made up for that as the Tigers came back to tie the game.

"He did enough to keep us in the game. Obviously, I wish we had the interception back. It was bad play call. I thought he did a nice job managing, some of the aggressiveness. He took them down the field and he took check-downs," Drinkwitz said.

"But at the end of the day, it wasn't good enough. We had a chance to drive it down and win the game. We didn't get it done. I didn't give them good enough play calls.

"He'll be sore tomorrow, but more importantly he'll be pissed off because we lost."

On the season moving in Week 3

Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz looks up at the video board during the first half against Kentucky.

Although Missouri's game against Kentucky was a barometer of where the Tigers are as a team in 2021, Drinkwitz was happy with how MU never quit. More importantly, he knows there's a lot more football left to be played.

"It's a good reminder for myself. I mean, it's one football game of 12 that we fought our butt off. We played hard, we had an opportunity, we didn't get it done. But, there's a lot of season left and a lot of fight left in this football team, and that's what I like to see."

"On third down, they could have easily tucked their tail and they didn't, they didn't do that. Our team didn't do that; we kept fighting. That's a good sign. We've got to get a lot of things fixed, a lot of things fixed, and again we've got to do it in a hurry."

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