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Kentucky got “scarred” but still far exceeded expectations national media had

Landon Young with the Governor’s Cup. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Remember when Kentucky was 2-3, did not have a healthy quarterback and even many Kentucky fans had lost hope about this season.

Fast forward to Saturday when Kentucky ran for 517 yards and embarrassed Louisville for a second straight year by totally dominating the Cardinals.

Even Kentucky coach Mark Stoops admitted the switch to Lynn Bowden at quarterback and winning five of the last seven games with Bowden rushing for over 1,000 yards was a “special” feat for his team.

“Just proud. I think the team is proud of themselves in that it’s hard. You go in there during that stretch and we play, what we’re doing, again, going on the road, those SEC teams, we weren’t healthy but we didn’t play very good and I didn’t coach them very good and it’s tough,” Stoops said.

“We’re back in there Monday(after a Saturday game)  and back in there Tuesday.

 It’s a long season and it’s just too easy to give in, you know what I mean, and we will not have a defeated mentality. Those guys won’t do it. They just won’t.

“Coaching staff, we’ll look for all options to continue to grind away and improve and get better and that’s on them. It’s a fun group, and I think that’s what they are most proud of. Not perfect.

“But when you get scarred up and you get beat up and you pick yourself back up off the mat and go back out there and do that and compete like this, then, you know, that does make them feel good and it should.”

Yes it should because most of the national media expected a Kentucky collapse after last year’s 10-3 season because of the departure of linebacker Josh Allen, running back Benny Snell and others — and THAT WAS BEFORE QUARTERBACK TERRY WILSON WENT DOWN WITH A SEASON-ENDING KNEE INJURY IN GAME TWO.

“Par for the course, right. I mean, really, I think we have out-kicked what they have predicted every year the last four or five years,” Stoops correctly noted after the Louisville win. “We are really not worried about that, you know. We really don’t need that for motivation.

“We’re pretty motivated in what we do and how we go about our business and we feel pretty good about it. A lot of teams can say ifs and buts. Everybody does, right. That’s the game and I could promise you, we’ve been through our fair share and fought our way out of it.

“If you could go back and put that prediction, I like nine or 10.”

2 comments

  1. This team has earn their pride, and I suspect that UK may not have had a group of football players with more respect for their coaches that UK has today.

    I believe this has been Coach Stoops’ best yet coaching job at UK, and he is still earning his stripes as a head coach, which means he and his staff will be getting better with each new season.

    The sun is shining bright on our Old Kentucky Football home.

    Yes, last season set many records for wins in a season, but for me, as a fan, I am more encouraged about the state of the UK football program today than I was a year ago.

    1. I agree, Professor.
      UK football is in better shape for the long haul than I can ever remember.
      I think they will be very good next year and for several years to come.
      When UK hired Stoops, I stated that it would take him 6 years to get things moving in a noticeable “right” direction on the field. He has done that and more.
      Glad he is staying.
      Can’t think of any coach we could get that I would rather have at this point.

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