“We’re anticipating them going for it on fourth down,” Stoops said. “That’s what they do. It’s very difficult to stop that for a yard.”
Tech sent an A-back in motion in hopes of drawing Kentucky offside, and when that didn’t happen, quarterback Justin Thomas said he was waiting for Johnson to call timeout. When he didn’t, Thomas snapped the ball and gave it to B-back Dedrick Mills, who ran behind guard Parker Braun and center Freddie Burden for a relatively easy 3-yard gain for the first down. Tech finished the drive in the end zone after Thomas’ 21-yard scoring run. Rather than a possible 10-all tie had the Wildcats made their fourth down, the Jackets were now up 17-3.
“I was surprised, especially that early in the game, being that far on your side of the field,” Thomas said.
Johnson said that he had an official beside him and that he was considering a timeout, but that Thomas snapped the ball too quickly before he could act. What made Johnson consider the play at all was that Kentucky didn’t have a player lined up over Braun.
“When they didn’t cover the guard, it was kind of a gimme,” he said.