By LARRY VAUGHT
For Kentucky defensive tackle Calvin Taylor playing in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte will have one benefit I’ve got to admit I didn’t think about when the bowl pairings were made.
Kentucky will play Virginia Tech Dec. 31 and Taylor, a Georgia native, says going to Charlotte Motor Speedway will be a treat.
“That’s a real exciting part for all of us. I think some of us watch NASCAR and always watched a couple notable guys like Dale Earnhardt and stuff like that,” Taylor said Sunday. “That’s always fun to be able to do that. I think the guys will really enjoy that, and me personally will enjoy that as well.”
Of course, the Cats also are enjoying be bowl eligible for a fourth straight year considering many national media members predicted UK would not win six games after losing so many players off last year’s 10-3 team — and that was before quarterback Terry Wilson got injured.
“We kind of heard some of the noise coming out, but we always took that us against the world type of mindset,” Taylor said. “That fueled us a little bit.
“We had some unfortunate things happen, but getting to a bowl game is always good for our fans and for our team.”
Teammate Logen Stenberg, an offensive guard, didn’t let the low expectations some had for the team bother him, either.
“As a team we set our sights for what we want to do in the offseason, and it was to get to Atlanta (for the SEC championship game),” Stenberg said. “We knew that we could do that with the people we have.
“We knew we could do that with the work we were putting in. Obviously, we came up short (of the title game). I don’t think the bowl game was really on our mind. We had bigger aspirations.”