(WTF? So what if the first game of our dreams turned into a nightmare, we will not be deterred; after all, this is irrational exuberance and even the impossible is possible and reality is suspended. Maybe this will cheer you up. Again, thanks to Glenn for the pics.)
After having our trip through Kentucky football heaven interrupted by a football game we return our thoughts to the magical 2013 season and the feats of success and progress shown by Stoops, his coaches and, most importantly, his players. The first half of the season covered in Part 1 exceeded even the rosiest outlook Kentucky fans carried into the season (hmm.....sorta) , let’s see how the drama plays out after the players get a couple of weeks recuperation from the past month’s trials of Louisville, South Carolina, Florida and Alabama. And first up is:
Oct 24 - Missississississippi State (Bulldogs) at Starkville
James Dean, is that you? (via Roger Smith)
Stoops takes his group to the garden city of Starkville to take on the cowbells. Interesting in that the origin of the MSU cowbells is from legend, not confirmed fact. Legend has it that a cow wandered onto the field in a game against instate UM which was eventually won by MSU. That sounded pretty lame but a little research found out the real origin: In the early years of the school a man’s date was summoned from her dorm similar to how these same young men pursued their dates in high school. See, simple facts - now on to the game.
Kentucky started out a little sluggish with the offense only getting plays off every 10 seconds and the defense not having a sack until MSU’s second 3 and out. Brown and Eliot were pissed. On the second punt by the Bulldogs, Javess Blue had the honor of escorting the pigskin all the way to the end zone. Things went from bad to worse for MSU as the game wore on and Mullen was beside himself; which was just as well because nobody wanted to stand beside him, especially with the rising temperature coming from his hind parts.
Coaches aren’t really thrilled with these Thursday night games but Mullen was hoping the extra days available "after the win against the Mildcats" would help them prepare for their next three weeks - South Carolina, TAMU and Bama. The Dogs were sitting at 2 - 4 before UK so Danny Boy will now be staring at 3 - 9, if they’re lucky, to finish out the year. Kentucky came out ready for another SEC slugfest but found nothing of substance across the ball on offense or defense. If not for a couple of players being out to recover from some dings received the previous weeks this one would have gotten ugly.
As it was, the boys in blue got down to business and methodically and repeatedly marched down the field. At first with quick strike drives then in clock gobbling drives once the victory was assured. The defense continued to improve and held the Bulldogs to a few token scores, a lucky TD in the first half then a FG in the second. A solid performance. Wonder if Petrino thinks MSU is an upgrade from WKU?
Final UK 34, MSU 10
Nov 2 - Alabama State (Hornets) at home
You knew it had to. (via mreraser)
C’mon, you call this a game? Just for grins Stoops announces the game will be throw-back day so they break out some vintage UK jersey designs and just let just the upperclassmen play offense to keep the game close. It doesn’t work, everyone has realized by this point in the season that there was a lot of unrealized talent on this team and today it shows. In receiving, tight ends rule the day with Aumiller, Robinson, Kendrick, Shields, Borden and Ligon totally overmatching anyone the Hornets use in cover.
After passing arms get tired, it’s time for a little running action with George, Heard, Sanders, Jones and Warren running wild all over the field. To get more people touches of the ball Brown installs some special plays like the quadruple reverse waggle hook and lateral and the dive buck lateral double reverse give hitch pass. (Although UK’s offensive pace slowed to accommodate the lengthy play calls.) Defensively, Stoops goes with all underclassmen (Fr/So) mainly to give the front seven a well deserved break.
By the second half things are out of hand (UK is up 35 - 0) and sidelined players are getting antsy. Stoops decides that if players want on the field it will be determined by year so juniors and seniors play offense while freshmen and sophomores play defense. Donte Rumph starts the fun on a dive play from the running back position starting at the Cats’ 20 yard line. By the time he gets to the 50 he’s gassed and hands off to Avery Williamson who runs it into the end zone.
Defensive, Offensive and offensive antics continue for the remainder of the game until State scores on a couple of plays because the UK players are laughing too hard to tackle. The game mercifully ends with a stunning victory. We’re going bowling with four games left on the schedule - hell freezes over. On a side note: The official statistician is seen taken from the stadium in a straitjacket.
Final UK 67, ASU 13
Nov 9 - Missouri (Tigers) at home
Sorry, 'Zou fans. (via fivedecadehawk)
Question: Did we lose to Missouri last year? Answer: If we played them, we lost to them. I don’t even remember last year’s game, by that time I was as interested in UK football as much as taking the recommendation of those obnoxious people advertizing The Hopper, or "Da Hoppa". (Okay, that was a stretch to get that in but I HATE those commercials, they’re insulting.) As far as hate for Missouri, it’s just kind of hard to work up any kind of dislike other than its a vital SEC foe that must be beaten. We’ve only played them 2 or 3 times in 150 years so trying to get all pumped up for the Tigers is like Iron Man trying to get pumped up to battle the Tin Man.
Even so, the players hadn’t forgotten last year’s loss and got to work exacting revenge and welcoming Mizzou to Commonwealth. Franklin, the Tiger’s QB was lost earlier in the year from and injury (hangnail) and they entered the game winless in the SEC, still looking for someone that could run the offense and the defense couldn’t stop determined turtle. Hmmm….Let me think, where have I seen a team like that before? Anyway, Kentucky stormed around the field at will on offense and smothered the Tiger offense. A bit of sloppy play by Kentucky (3 INTs, 2 fumbles) had Stoops so mad he actually raised his voice in disgust, Interesting factoid: Kentucky never had a third down play. A highly entertaining game was followed by the ceremonial presentation of the official SEC Doormat to Missouri. Good riddance, it’s been languishing around these parts for far too long.
Final UK - 37, Mizzou - 13
Nov 16 - Vanderbilt (Commodores) at Nashville
Hannah Montana no more. (via AlexKormisPS (ALM))
It sure will be nice when our entire season isn’t built upon getting revenge for the previous year’s losses. In this case of course, it was more than a loss, it was an embarrassment. Forever, Vanderbilt has been the Hannah Montana to Kentucky’s Miley Cyrus. Well, we’ve all seen the new Miley Cyrus, and it’s scary.
Vanderbilt had been having a reasonably good year but the last three games against Georgia, TAMU and Florida had left them battered and bruised. Add to that a Wildcat team focused on retribution and the Commodores really didn’t have a chance. It was a massacre. All 38 students that showed up to cheer for Vandy left before halftime. Vandy had lost 65% of its rushing and the key to their offense Jordan Rogers (QB). A replacement for Rogers never gelled which left the offense in run mode. Defensively they returned their leading tacklers from last year but it’s not a good sign when two of your top three tacklers are your safeties.
Against Kentucky the Vandy safeties are again the top tacklers, not because of blitz packages but because of the work downfield by the receivers. Kentucky’s receiving corps look like they all got Jerry Rice’s hands. They can’t drop a ball if they wanted to and the pressure on Vandy’s secondary starts the game and lasts until the final whistle. By the time the game ends the Wildcats have amassed 650 yards passing! Air Raid 2.0 is complete and Vandy gets bombed. Twerk you Vandy.
Final UK 48 - Vandy 14
Nov 23 - Georgia (Bulldogs) at Athens
I see what you did there. (via as3223)
Kentucky enters the game with a lot of confidence and still smug after the disembowelment of Vanderbilt the week before. Also, UK boasts a perfect road record as their only two losses have occurred at home and we all know that UK historically has played some great games against the Bulldogs. "Not so fast, my friends" (apologies to Lee Corso haters). Georgia has been having success of their own this year as they come into the game undefeated in the SEC and Mark Richt knows he’s facing a challenge in a Kentucky team on the move and wanting to give Georgia their first conference loss of the season. Stoops will later call this the "too much" game.
Kentucky wanted it too much (and fell all over themselves). Georgia was too much (and put a beat down on UK). There was too much Murray passing, too much Gurley/Marshall running, too much
Mitchell/Conley receiving, too much Jordan Jenkins everywhere on defense…just too much. Evan all of Georgia young players played out of their mind. Kentucky will have great days ahead to forget this massacre at the hands of the eventual National Champions.
Final UK - 17, UGA - 52
Nov 30 - Tennessee (Volunteers) at home
"On top of old Smooookeyyy..." (via Space Rucker)
And now it comes down to the last game of the season. Kentucky has a lot of reasons to come in ready for this game. First, erase the bad showing at Georgia last week then also to get in position for a really nice bowl game (BBN could sell out any venue), payback for last year’s loss (yes, another one) and finally, since it’s Tennessee, to beat Tennessee - soundly. Tennessee has had a pretty good season in Butch’s first year and only has to win at home against the Wildcats to secure a bowl invitation. Bwaaaaaahaha. It is just so sweet to win a game that not only helps our cause but totally ruins the day of a bitter rival.
The Vols start out with a strong showing with some impressive scoring drives (TD, FG, TD, TD) and quickly put UK behind the eightball as UK’s first possessions are fumble, FG, interception, FG. Not good. But then the offense and defense get on track to shut down Tennessee the rest of the first half while tacking on a touchdown in a fast paced game for both teams.
Halftime UT 24 UK 13. Its back to a slugfest through the third quarter then the game opens up in the fourth as Kentucky puts together their best quarter of the season with shutout for the defense and the offense starts keeping a new stat - PPM (points per minute).
In the end, Brown is carried off the field on the shoulders of Mark Stoops and UT fans later demolish Neyland Stadium. For the teams’ triumphant bus ride back to Nutter the Wildcat fans put together a Cat Walk that starts up…at about Corbin.
Final: UT 24 UK 48
After the regular season is over:
- Stoops get 25 year extension to his contract.
- Elam tweets "Can't wait... YAHTZEE!"
- WKU is put back on schedule ASAP
Now let's get back to reality, get behind the team and see what really happens. Go Cats!