By LARRY VAUGHT
Just having Kentucky coach Mark Stoops compare Lynn Bowden to former Wildcat Josh Allen in any way is a huge compliment.
Yet that’s just what Stoops did after Bowden — the receiver turned quarterback — led Kentucky to a much needed win over Missouri last week when he was asked about the physical toughness Bowden has shown in recent weeks.
“In regards to toughness, you know, I said this a year ago with Josh Allen when I said early just show me somebody that’s better defensively nationwide. Sure enough, lo and behold, he ended up winning all the national awards, right? Defensive player of the year, consensus. I said that early,” Stoops said.
“I would say the same thing about build Lynn. There is a lot of tough players out there nationally. The way he directs things and understand the offense. There is so many moving parts. It’s hard for people to totally understand and appreciate what he’s doing because it’s hard, and emotionally, mentally, and physically it beats you up.
“So I think that is the key with him throughout the week, is keeping hem level headed and where he doesn’t get the frustration. There is a lot on him, and physically he’s getting beaten up then mentally there is a lot on him.”
Missouri got a number of big hits on Bowden — he even went down briefly with an ankle injury. Kentucky has a bye week now before hosting Tennessee Nov. 8 when Sawyer Smith could be healthy enough to get his starting spot back at quarterback if Stoops opts to go that way.
Stoops took Bowden out in the fourth quarter against Missouri because of the hits he was taking.
“They were starting to really hone in on him and get some good shots on him and that was it. We had to get him out. But they did, and that’s where when you’re down there at field level and you’re hearing those shots — and you guys (in the media) hear it. He’s a physical runner,” Stoops said.
“And Missouri, you know, I always say that about them. I have great respect for (coach) Barry (Odom). When you think of Missouri, I think of Missouri, they play hard and you have to match their intensity and physicality. I was proud of our guys for doing that.”