By LARRY VAUGHT
Coming from behind to beat Arkansas was perhaps the perfect way for Kentucky football to honor the memory of quarterback Jared Lorenzen.
Numerous Kentucky fans admired Lorenzen and his legacy seems to have only grown after his unexpected passing this summer. Many fans were extremely emotional at Saturday’s game and former UK coach Rich Brooks and his wife were among those who came to show their love for Lorenzen.
Kenny Bruington of Brandenburg is a die-hard UK football fan and he told Lacy Robinson, who was covering the UK-Arkansas game for me while I was out of town, just what Lorenzen meant to him. It shows the reach Lorenzen had on so many people.
“Kentucky football is one of my favorite aspects of life. No matter if the team is 2-10 or 10-3 the Wildcats give me hope,” Bruington told Robinson. “I’ve been coming to games since before I can remember and they’ve been some of the greatest memories I have. From the 1997 victory versus Alabama to the 3-0 victory in the snow vs whomever, coming to games with my dad and family have given me life long memories.
“I was a freshman at UK in 2001 and Jared Lorenzen was our quarterback. He played loose but made every game a what if. I’ve been a bigger kid myself since middle school and seeing Jared do what he did at quarterback made me feel like anything is possible.
“I’ve met him multiple times and his autographs will be some of my most prized possessions. He made me laugh and related to me being a kid ‘of size’ even if it was a passing ‘hello.’
“Jared will forever be one of the pillars of the UK football program and anyone that had the pleasure of meeting him will never forget it. He is a larger than life personality and will be missed by those who met him and those who watched him play at UK.”
Now comes the part that really touched me.
“He was a remarkable football player and even better father and he inspires me every day to make healthy decisions to be the best father I can be for my daughter. Jared is a one of a lifetime talent and we are insanely lucky to get to call him a Wildcat. He has inspired me to make sure that I am in the best shape I can be for my little girl and he will never be forgotten,” Bruington said.
No, he never will and that’s what made it so impressive after the win to see that UK players understood why a fan like Bruington feels the way he does about Lorenzen.
Senior safety Jordan Griffin of Georgia called it an “absolute blessing” to win on a nigh UK honored Lorenzen.
“Just being able to go out there and play for him. That’s one thing we said before the game as well, play for him and his family. That was one thing that we focused on and we feel like he carried us today,” Griffin said.