By Adam Luckett on ©November 18th, 2018 @ 3:00pm
After handling their business earlier this week, Kentucky will return to the hardwood at Rupp Arena on Sunday evening to take on another team they have clear advantages over at every position.
The Wildcats played winning basketball for most of the 40 minutes in the victory over North Dakota and should be playing in front of a better home crowd thanks to the more convenient time slot and nicer weather forecast.
After building on some things from the Southern Illinois win, UK will look to continue their growth against the Southern Conference opponent.
Nuts and Bolts
VMI is a member of the Southern Conference (known to many as the SoCon) and they’ve had some really rough years in the recent past. Penn State alum and former Parade-All American Dan Earl is in his fourth season in Lexington, Virginia and under his watch the Keydets have not won more than nine games in a single season. Thanks to a hot 3-1 start in November, VMI is a third of the way there this season.
Under Dan Earl, who served as an assistant at Penn State and Navy before landing the VMI gig, the Keydets like to push the tempo and launch threes. In just four games, VMI has tossed up 107 three-point attempts despite hitting less than a third of their shots from deep. VMI runs a version on the Princeton offense so expect all five positions to be spaced with plenty of back cuts.
Despite the three early season wins, VMI has played only one game against respectable competition and there they were smoked. Against Pittsburgh, the Panthers rolled up 94 points in a 39-point blowout win. VMI current sits at 316 in KenPom’s rankings. There are only 353 teams in Division I.
Tonight will be the ninth meeting all-time between these two programs with Kentucky owning a 5-3 series lead. The last time the Keydets came to Lexington, they were able to pull the monster upset over Kentucky but we’ll just pretend that never happened.
Out in the desert, Kentucky is currently a 33-point favorite with a total of 152.5. That’s a projected final score of 93-60. Kentucky is 1-2 against the number while VMI is 1-1. In their only games as an underdog this season, the Keydets lost by nearly 40 points as a 14-point dog.
With any offense that is perimeter oriented, you need guys who can make plays off of the bounce. That is exactly what Bubba Parham provides this offense.
The Snellville, Georgia native leads the team in scoring with 18 points a game and he does a good job in getting to the free throw line. The sophomore is tiny at 5-foot-11 and 155 pounds, but he has a chance to be an all-conference performer for the Keydets.
Joining him on the perimeter will be Greg Parham who is a 6-foot-4 guard who can play both backcourt spots. The sophomore from Virginia leads the squad in minutes played. He’s putting up 12 points per game and has some heat check ability.
With no major senior contributors, VMI is one of the youngest teams in the country and usually that means bad news for mid-major programs. The same thing is true for the VMI frontcourt.
Jake Stephens is the only center on the roster and he does not even start for the Keydets. That should tell you that they prefer to play small ball.
VMI’s best big is 6-foot-10 junior Tyler Creammer, but he is off to a very slow start to this season. The North Carolina native is only shooting .375 from the field and the Keydets desperately need him to shake out of this slump.
Creammer’s play should tell you it all about the current VMI frontcourt situation. The Keydets are just not getting good play from their bigs to this point in the season. Rebounding is a major issue and VMI will have their hands full in the paint on Sunday evening in Rupp Arena.
Keys to Victory
- This evening Kentucky will be facing one of the least talented teams they’ll face all season. VMI is a very young team that is in rebuild mode. The Wildcats must use this 40 minutes as time to solidify their identity. In consecutive wins over Southern Illinois and North Dakota, the Wildcats dominated the glass and guarded without fouling. They must continue to do that and then we’ll have the season’s first positive trend.
- Kentucky has gotten solid play from Immanuel Quickley the last two games, but sooner or later Ashton Hagans needs to chip in. The five-star point guard from Georgia has gotten off to a very slow start and UK desperately needs him to contribute. Facing an opposing perimeter lineup with a lot of undersized players, Hagans should be able to get to the cup and make some good things happen.
- We’ve seen excellent stretches from E.J. Montgomery the last two games and saw career games from Nick Richards and P.J. Washington during this home stand. However, we haven’t seen a breakout performance from Reid Travis after a solid outing in the blowout loss to Duke. The Stanford grad transfer is still UK’s best offensive option on the low block and Kentucky still needs to do a better job at getting the senior paint touches.
- As always in these types of games, Kentucky needs to play with energy. For this team to grow, they need to play hard and together. After gaining some momentum in the last two games they need to keep it rolling on this Sunday evening.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 18th, 2018 @ 2:30pm
The Kentucky Wildcats are moving the right direction in the polls.
In the week-13 edition of the AP Poll, the Cats moved up three spots to No. 17 overall following their 34-23 victory over Middle Tennessee State on Saturday afternoon.
Elsewhere in the SEC, Alabama stuck around at No. 1 following their “scare” against Citadel, Georgia stayed at No. 5, LSU moved up two spots to No. 9, Florida moved up to No. 13, and Mississippi State jumped up to No. 22. The SEC leads all conferences with most representatives in the top-25.
Kentucky also moved up to No. 18 in the Coaches Poll, a three-spot jump from last week.
Here is the entire AP Poll:
We’ll hear Kentucky’s fate in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, where the Wildcats could find themselves in the top-15 once again.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©November 18th, 2018 @ 2:00pm
Good afternoon, folks. Anthony Davis scored 40 points on only 10 made baskets…. Let’s talk NBA.
Nuggets – 115 @ Pelicans – 125
- Anthony Davis went off. Again.
- Davis scored 40 points on 10-20 shooting while also making 20 of his 21 free throw attempts. He tacked on eight rebounds and eight assists for good measure and to top it all off, zero turnovers. It’s his second straight 40-point game after he scored 43 points against the Knicks on Friday night. The Pellies have now won five of their last six games with Davis averaging 32.5 points, 14.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.3 blocks on 50.0 percent shooting from the field. Let’s get the MVP campaign rolling, here.
- Julius Randle had himself a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double. In fact, he was one of four Pelicans who recorded a double-double, the others being Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Nikola Mirotic. It was the third time in franchise history that four different Pelicans had a double-double. Randle shot 8-13 from the field and also registered three steals.
- Darius Miller played 23 minutes but could only come up with three points on 1-3 shooting.
- As for the Denver Nuggets side, Jamal Murray appears to be in a bit of a slump. He’s still trying to wade his way through the post-48-point game excitement and often times it looks like he’s trying too hard to not make mistakes. Murray is averaging 14.2 points on 37.5 percent shooting from the field over the last six games. The Nuggets are 1-5 in that span.
- So Denver is currently all in on Juancho Hernangomez – for good reason – and it’s costing Trey Lyles minutes. Lyles played in only 20 minutes compared to Hernangomez’s 35 and managed seven points on 3-9 shooting.
Kings – 112 @ Rockets – 132
- The month-from-hell is in full swing for the Sacramento Kings, this time going up against the Houston Rockets who are finally relearning how to play basketball. After starting this year at 1-5, Saturday night’s win puts Houston over .500 for the first time this season. The Kings have now lost five out of their last seven and every game except for one has come against a team with at least a .500 record or better – the one being the Minnesota Timberwolves.
- De’Aaron Fox didn’t go down without a fight, however. He had another typical 2018 Fox game, scoring 19 points on 8-14 shooting (2-4 from three) with three assists.
De’Aaron Fox dunks down the alley-oop ? pic.twitter.com/ZhcY8ulkLl
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) November 18, 2018
- Willie Cauley-Stein struggled against Clint Capela all night, only putting up three points and five rebounds on 1-9 shooting.
- The blowout did call for some Skal Labissiere playing time, as he scored two points and grabbed a rebound in six minutes.
- Despite the loss, the Kings are still 8-8 and in the playoff race out West. This mystical concept of success is upsetting the Kings’ front office. Check out this Yahoo article regarding the Kings head coach, Dave Joerger, who has done a fantastic job in his role.
This is probably the dumbest thing I’ve read in a while and yet it doesn’t surprise me one bit. Kings are allergic to success https://t.co/1g3qOuofuU
— Shai Gorgeous-Alexander (@ZackGeoghegan) November 18, 2018
- This is your classic “I don’t know what to do with my hands” move from the Kings. Never change, Sacramento (please, for the love of everything that is good in the world, change).
Thunder – 110 @ Suns – 100
- Hamidou Diallo started his first NBA game Saturday night. Hamidou Diallo probably doesn’t want to remember his first NBA start. Diallo was 0-1 from the field with one made free throw in 19 minutes. He was slotted into the starting lineup due to another injury to the Thunder backcourt, this time it was Terrance Ferguson missing action.
- Patrick Patterson and Nerlens Noel both added four points off the bench.
- Devin Booker now has back-to-back games with 12 assists after he put up 16 points, four rebounds, and 12 assists in the loss. The Suns are still really really bad.
- Alex Poythress – like Diallo – started the first NBA game of his career on Saturday, but only played 11 minutes before leaving in the third quarter with an ankle contusion. There is currently no update on his status.
- Malik Monk took a backseat on offense as he witnessed Kemba Walker drop 60 points on the Philadelphia 76ers. Monk had two points in only 11 minutes while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sat out his second straight game with an ankle sprain. He’ll miss Monday’s matchup against the Boston Celtics, too.
|Anthony Davis (NOP)||125-115 W vs. DEN||40||10-20 (0-1)||8||8||0||1||0||+11||37|
|Julius Randle (NOP)||125-115 W vs. DEN||21||8-13 (0-1)||10||3||3||1||1||-1||27|
|De'Aaron Fox (SAC)||112-132 L @ HOU||19||8-14 (2-4)||1||3||1||0||3||-6||25|
|Devin Booker (PHX)||100-110 L vs. OKC||16||5-16 (3-8)||4||12||0||0||1||-10||39|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||115-125 L @ NOP||11||4-14 (1-5)||2||6||0||1||1||-14||28|
|Trey Lyles (DEN)||115-125 L @ NOP||7||3-9 (1-4)||4||1||0||0||2||-7||20|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)||127-119 W @ BKN||4||2-9 (0-1)||2||2||0||0||1||-10||20|
|Patrick Patterson (OKC)||110-100 W @ PHX||4||1-5 (1-3)||3||0||0||0||0||-4||15|
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||110-100 W @ PHX||4||2-4 (0-0)||6||0||1||2||1||+12||11|
|Darius Miller (NOP)||125-115 W vs. DEN||3||1-3 (1-3)||0||0||0||2||1||+3||23|
|Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)||112-132 L @ HOU||3||1-9 (0-0)||5||3||0||1||1||-7||18|
|Malik Monk (CHA)||119-122 OT L vs. PHI||2||0-5 (0-2)||2||0||1||0||2||-4||11|
|Skal Labissiere (SAC)||112-132 L @ HOU||2||1-3 (0-0)||1||0||1||1||1||-1||6|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||110-100 W @ PHX||1||0-1 (0-0)||4||1||0||0||0||+7||19|
|Alex Poythress (ATL)||89-97 L @ IND||0||0-0 (0-0)||3||0||0||2||0||+1||11|
|Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)||130-117 W vs. LAL||0||0-0 (0-0)||0||2||0||0||0||-2||1|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)||119-122 OT L vs. PHI||DNP-Ankle||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||117-130 L @ ORL||DNP-Hand||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Brandon Knight (HOU)||132-112 W vs. SAC||DNP-Knee||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)||109-112 L @ DAL||DNP-Achilles||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||115-125 L @ NOP||DNP-Foot||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
3:30: Grizzlies @ Timberwolves (Towns)
6:00: Lakers (Rondo-out) @ Heat (Adebayo)
6:00: Knicks (Kanter, Knox) @ Magic (Briscoe)
6:00: Trail Blazers @ Wizards (Wall)
7:00 (NBATV): Warriors (Cousins-out) @ Spurs
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
By Jack Pilgrim on ©November 18th, 2018 @ 1:30pm
Following a 34-23 victory over Middle Tennessee State, the Kentucky Wildcats made a three-spot jump in the latest Coaches Poll.
The Cats came in at No. 18 overall, good for No. 5 in the SEC and No. 3 in the SEC East. The only conference foes ahead of Kentucky are Alabama (No. 1), Georgia (No. 5), LSU (No. 8), and Florida (No. 13), with Texas A&M, Missouri, and South Carolina also receiving votes.
Check out the entire poll below:
The AP Poll will come out at 2:00 p.m. ET, while the official College Football Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday night.
By Maggie Davis on ©November 18th, 2018 @ 1:00pm
Josh Allen’s transformation from a 210-pound freshman to a 260-pound senior would be unbelievable if we hadn’t all been able to witness it ourselves. And the graphic from yesterday’s broadcast gave fans the chance to marvel at how incredible Allen’s development truly was.
“They just need to delete all those pictures. That wasn’t me, that was somebody else. They just photoshopped it,” Josh Allen said with a laugh. “But like I said, I can’t thank the university enough; I can’t thank my teammates enough. I had to gain [weight] – I couldn’t stay that weight my whole four years, so I thank the coaching staff and the training staff and the work they put in to mold the body type that I am today. I can’t thank everybody enough.”
Allen is right to thank his coaches and trainers, of course; their workouts and overall plan for Allen were clearly very successful. But it was his own work ethic, grit and determination that made him the player – and the man – that he is today.
“I put in work every time, every year, every summer, I was in here grinding just to get better,” Allen said. “The person I am today, this is who I wanted to be in the long run and I’m here.”
Josh Allen 2.0 is absolutely here. And the NFL will be happy to have him.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©November 18th, 2018 @ 12:00pm
Pro Football Focus handed out their grades for Saturday’s game against Middle Tennessee State.
Not surprising, Mike Edwards was the highest graded player with a grade of 90.5. Edwards had himself a Senior Day with a pick-six, a forced fumble and 12 tackles.
C.J. Conrad was the second highest graded player with a grade of 87.5. He too had himself a Senior Day with four receptions for 51 yards and one touchdown.
No idea how Josh Allen was not one of the top five performers. I guess they wanted to give other players some recognition.
Here is how Benny Snell fared on Saturday:
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©November 18th, 2018 @ 11:00am
Josh Allen broke the University of Kentucky record for all-time sacks on Saturday. He broke Oliver Barnett’s record of 26 and when he recorded his 26.5 sack of his career. Allen finished the game with 27.5 sacks.
In attendance to see Allen break the record was Barnett himself.
Barnett played at Kentucky from 1986-89. It took almost 30 years for that record to be broken. Josh Allen is special, guys.
Curtis Burch captured the moment.
Follow Josh Allen after his last home game in a Kentucky uniform. pic.twitter.com/xDIu5xLR6a
— Curtis Burch (@curtisburch) November 17, 2018
Barnett was inducted into the UK Hall of Fame in 2013. See you in a few years, Josh.
By Savannah Patton on ©November 18th, 2018 @ 10:00am
Good morning friends and Happy Sunday! I thought we’d start off with Happy Stoops because 1) Yesterday was a good day and a good win. 2) It’s the start of a short but BIG UK sports week and 3) Happy Stoops is the best Stoops. Ok, here’s what’s going on today:
Sights and Sounds from Senior Day:
ICYMI and I don’t know how you would, but still, if you did, Kentucky beat Middle Tennesee State on Senior day yesterday 34-23. It’s Kentucky’s first eight-win season since 1984. It’s my first time seeing a Kentucky football time win eight games. I think I like it.
— Willie Hope (@WillieWYMT) November 17, 2018
It’s been a heck of a season and a heck of a ride with these seniors. I’m gonna miss them.
It’s a BIG Week for UK Fans Who Love Sports
I woke up this morning feeling like I just hit the lottery (I also woke up in a carb coma from friendsgiving yesterday but that’s beside the point). Not only is it a short work week, but THERE’S SO MANY SPORTS ON!
We’ve got Sunday football today along with both Kentucky Basketball teams playing, Monday night Football tomorrow, a smallish break Tuesday, the Men’s team playing Wednesday, Thanksgiving Basketball tournaments plus football on Thursday, and then College Football rivalry games start Friday. I’m PUMPED. Looking for a place to camp out all week and escape the family? Look no further
UK Hoops plays today!
UK Hoops looks to extend their 3-0 start to 4-0 today. The Cats take on High Point at 2 PM in Memorial. Fans can receive free admission to the game if they bring a canned food item to donate! So, get out there and pregame you basketball with some basketball today! Need more reason to go? This highlight video from the UVA game in Rupp last week might convince you:
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) November 16, 2018
UK Men Play Today Too!
As I said, we are truly living a dream week! Kentucky plays VMI tonight at 6 PM in Rupp Arena. According to the BBN Media Twitterverse this week of practice has been HARD for these young cats! Let’s hope it works. Stay tuned on this great website for lots and lots of coverage later tonight!
College Basketball is Officially Back
I know it’s been a couple of weeks, but last night we had our first big upset of the season! it’s officially basketball season now! Furman beat potential title-winning Villanova 76-68 in overtime. It was a crazy game, one that caused a couple of friends and to leave the table at our Friendsgiving dinner party to watch. I’m not sorry about it, it was a great game. The celebration after was even better though.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) November 18, 2018
Ahh, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year!
That’s all for me today friends! Happy Sunday and Happy Thanksgiving week! Go Cats!
By ShopKSR.com on ©November 18th, 2018 @ 9:45am
Posted in Main
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 17th, 2018 @ 10:30pm
On a day when Kentucky had to say goodbye to one of its best senior classes, fans also got to welcome a beloved player back into the fold. Josh Paschal returned to the field this afternoon for the first time since being diagnosed with malignant melanoma on his foot before the season began. When he got a tackle in the second quarter, fans gave him a standing ovation, a moment so awesome Paschal couldn’t stop smiling when asked about it after the game.
“It felt good just to wipe some dust off finally,” he told reporters. “I loved it. Just to know everybody is supporting me and knows what I’ve been through. They’ve been supporting me the whole time and lifting my spirits up when I’m feeling down. It felt great.”
There were whispers that Paschal might play this week, which is pretty incredible when you consider that a few months ago, he was still using a scooter to get around. Since his diagnosis late this summer, Paschal has been undergoing immunotherapy treatments every four weeks and will continue do to so until next August in anticipation of a full recovery. Because the side effects aren’t as extreme as those from chemotherapy, he’s been able to work on getting back into playing shape. Due to an NCAA rule change, he can play in four games without risking his redshirt, a goal he’s been working tirelessly towards.
“I always wanted to work as hard as I can,” Paschal said when asked if he expected to play again. “I know it may have not seemed like I was ready to play but I just knew I couldn’t follow my plan, I had to follow God’s plan for me. You never know what God’s plan is so you have to keep going harder and harder every day and just do the things necessary to get to this point.”
The dream started to become a reality earlier this week.
“It just started this week, and once I got a couple of practices down, I felt I was 100% and could explode the ball how I wanted to and play the way I wanted to.”
Mark Stoops admitted that the plan was to have Paschal back by the Georgia game, but he suffered a setback (unrelated to the melanoma).
“It meant an awful lot to us,” Stoops said. “I don’t know what he just said to you now, but he was trying to come back a few weeks ago and just the foot was bothering him and in different, from where he had the surgery. And that really disappointed him because he was ready to go a few weeks ago, trying to get back for the Georgia game, I want to say, and just wasn’t ready. And we certainly wouldn’t put him out there until he’s ready to go.”
“We gave him the start just because we thought it was right and it was good and it was inspiring to the team and fun and we got off to a really good start with the two turnovers there defensively.”
Throughout the season, Kentucky honored Paschal and offensive line coach John Schlarman, who is also battling cancer, in the form of helmet stickers and bracelets. The team breaks every huddle with “JP on Three!”, a refrain that Paschal admits got him choked up at first.
“It felt good. The first time I saw it I teared up a little bit just because I wanted to be out there with them but also because the team means so much to me and I mean so much to them. It’s just a brotherhood around there. It meant a lot not only to myself but to see the support that Coach Schlarman had also. We’re family around here. I love it.”
Family has taken on a new meaning for Paschal this year. He opened up about the moment he found out about his melanoma and how his family helped him stay strong.
“It caught me off guard a lot but my family, especially my mother and sister, they wrote a lot of scriptures and put them on my wall. It was a lot of healing scriptures too, so whenever I felt down about it, I just looked up to my wall and got my power from God to keep going through.”
Paschal’s faith and determination culminated in a moment much larger than the football field he returned to today. His story is proof that you can conquer anything with a strong resolve and support from the ones you love.
“It meant a lot to me just because of where I was a couple of months ago and how God has blessed me with the opportunities, and the support staff and Big Blue Nation and everybody to lift me up and keep me going to get to the point I’m at right now.”
By Nick Roush on ©November 17th, 2018 @ 10:00pm
Kentucky’s seniors saved their best for last.
Playing at Kroger Field for the final time, the Wildcat seniors made history. Kentucky defeated Middle Tennessee State 34-23 to improve to 8-3, UK’s first eight-win season since 1984. It wasn’t the only record broken at Kroger Field.
Two defensive stars entered elite company. Mike Edwards had 12 tackles, two for loss, to become just the second UK defensive back to record more than 300 career tackles. Edwards started the game with a Pick Six on the first drive and a forced fumble on the second. Josh Allen snapped UK’s career and single-season sack records after taking down Brent Stockstill twice. In the process Allen also racked up a career-high 15 tackles.
It was special to see the records snapped, but the greatest moment happened when No. 4 took the field. For the first time since he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in August, Josh Paschal played in a football game. After starting at outside linebacker, Paschal was just happy to be back on the field.
“It felt good just to wipe some dust off finally,” he told reporters. “I loved it. Just to know everybody is supporting me and knows what I’ve been through. They’ve been supporting me the whole time and lifting my spirits up when I’m feeling down. It felt great.”
It was an incredible moment to see Paschal play in a gutsy win. It was the high point of a game that featured a few ups and downs.
Edwards and Allen put up impressive numbers and made big plays at the most important moments. Josh Allen’s sacks came on third and fourth downs that stopped MTSU’s comeback. Darius West was just behind Allen and Edwards, finishing the game with eight tackles.
When Allen wasn’t sacking Stockstill, his teammates were. Chris Westry and Adrian Middleton each recorded a sack in their final home game.
Kentucky’s offense does not feature quite as many seniors, but their impact was equally felt. C.J. Conrad caught a team-high four receptions for 51 yards and an incredible touchdown in the back of the end zone that gave UK a 24-7 lead. Out of the halftime locker room, Kentucky made a statement behind Bunchy Stallings. The two-time SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week paved the way for a Benny Snell touchdown to recapture momentum.
Even though the Seniors will not play another game at Kroger Field, their impact will be felt for quite some time.
“They have just set such a great example for our younger players because of their work ethic,” said Stoops. “They have been leaders, they have been, they have had a great work ethic. They have been very unselfish and really about the team and far from perfect, but they have really, they really have great hearts and their minds are in the right place and they really want to lead and set a great example and set the precedent for the future.”
Gashed by Screens
Kentucky’s defense made some big plays, but gave up a tin of little ones. Middle Tennessee attacked the edges with screens to consistently move the chains. Tony Franklin’s offense limited UK to just four second half offensive possessions, thanks to a pair of 11-play touchdown drives.
Open field tackling used to be a strength. It was not today. Even though Westry had a nice sack, he had his fair share of missed tackles. The Blue Raiders went after Davonte Robinson all afternoon in a variety of ways. Edwards posted some excellent numbers, but as a unit, UK’s secondary probably played their worst game of the year.
Hello, Offensive Line
While outsiders argued the proper remedies to improve the offense, Eddie Gran and John Schlarman kicked the offensive line back into shape. Limited to less than 100 yards in three straight games, today the offensive line paved the way to a 203-yard performance on the ground. Physical at the point of contact, UK’s running backs averaged 5.1 yards per carry through exceptionally wide rushing lanes.
Eddie Gran called quite a game. There were creative plays that got C.J. Conrad the ball and let Lynn Bowden run the read option. Despite the many positives, two drives gave his critics plenty of ammunition.
With 3:22 to play in the first half and a 24-7 lead, Kentucky got the ball at their own nine-yard line. Receiving the ball to start the second half, a long scoring drive could have been the dagger. Instead of getting creative in the passing game, the Cats ran it twice and took the ball out of Terry Wilson’s hands with a screen pass on third and long.
That outcome was made exponentially worse when the punt went haywire. Pressure got to Max Duffy and he was lucky to kick it 20 yards. Middle Tennessee only needed to go 19 yards to kick a field goal.
The decision-making became even more bizarre when Kentucky took a timeout to stop the clock with a minute to play. They only called one downfield shot before going back to the run. Choosing aggressiveness after opting to run out the clock did not make sense.
That drive was not as dire as the fourth quarter four-and-out. The Cats tried to run out the clock with A.J. Rose instead of Benny Snell. He was only inches short of the first down marker after a run on third and five. With the ball on the 41 and an eight-point lead, Stoops decided to go for it with a quick quarterback sneak. It failed.
The strange decision-making almost cost Kentucky the game. Luckily, Josh Allen was prepared to bail out the offense with a fourth down sack on the following possession.
Let it Rip!
Terry Wilson brought some swagger with him to Kroger Field. The Kentucky quarterback played with the confidence we’ve been looking for and boy, it was a sight to behold. His best throw of the day looked like a sure-fire interception. But Wilson set his feet, trusted his arm and his receiver. The ball sailed just over the fingertips of three outstretched defenders and into C.J. Conrad’s hands.
It was this close to getting picked off.
Terry’s composed performance was evident on the stat sheet. He completed 10-of-14 passes for 124 yards to earn a 167.6 quarterback rating. Wilson also ran for 27 yards and only took one sack.
The Final Benny and the Jets?
Mark Stoops didn’t sound too confident that Snell would be back for another game at Kroger Field. Benny kept it light when he was asked about the subject.
“Maybe after the bowl game I’ll go home, talk to my Snell Yeah company, my family will be there. We’ll all sit down, have some coffee and talk about it. I don’t know yet,” said Snell.
Kentucky’s Seniors walked off Kroger Field for the final time with more SEC wins than any other group in program history. The playmakers rewrote record books and changed the trajectory of the Kentucky football program. After a victory over Middle Tennessee State, they can add an exclamation point to an excellent season with a win at Louisville.
As Josh Allen said earlier this week, “It’s only right to go out with a bang.”
By Brent Wainscott on ©November 17th, 2018 @ 9:30pm
By Nick Roush on ©November 17th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
There are some things you can’t do on a football field. Today we learned you cannot fake a fart.
In the first half against Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State was flagged for a pre-snap penalty. They moved back five yards for committing a “false fart.”
— William Brown (@wb7480) November 17, 2018
Later in the game, the same official issued a warning to the UK band. He told the leader to keep his whistle quiet before the snap. Obviously, somebody is insecure about their whistle blowing.
By Maggie Davis on ©November 17th, 2018 @ 8:00pm
What a day for CJ Conrad. The BBN has been begging for more from the tight end since basically the moment he arrived on campus, and tonight they finally got it during his final game in Kroger Field.
Against Middle Tennessee State, Conrad had the most looks of his season – four catches for 51 yards. Today’s performance gave Conrad the fourth-highest number of catches throughout his career, behind six catches against Mississippi State in 2015, five against New Mexico State in 2016 and five against Ole Miss in 2017. It was the first time time he surpassed three catches in a game so far this season.
After the game, Mark Stoops said prioritizing getting the ball to Conrad is something “we always do,” but added it was easier to make that happen against Middle Tennessee State than it was against SEC teams.
“Everybody always wants to say [Conrad doesn’t get the ball], but some of our RPO’s are there sometimes and sometimes they’re not. And when we’re playing these SEC teams, they’re not going to give him those. They’re not giving him any freebies,” Stoops said. “There were some good reads today by Terry [Wilson] and there was an effort by us on some to draw the player in and him on a RPO and we had some opportunities there.”
Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran went even farther with his belief in Conrad. According to Gran, today’s game plan included getting the ball to Conrad “eight to ten times.” While that obviously didn’t happen, he was still content with Conrad’s efficiency.
“In the game plan, he certainly did have an opportunity. We felt like in those big sets we had the chance to get him the ball. Going into it… we said, man, he’s got a chance to catch eight to 10 balls,” Gran said. “I don’t know how many he caught… He caught four. A guy catching four like that with that production, you do that all the time. We got a couple of explosives that way too, and that’s when we’re really good.”
All of Conrad’s catches came at critical times for the Wildcats, but none were more important than his 11-yard catch through coverage for a Kentucky touchdown. At first, it looked like a possible interception in the end zone. But Terry Wilson’s throw and CJ Conrad’s hands didn’t let that happen.
After the game, Conrad admitted he was happy his quarterback made the decision he did.
“I put my hand up and luckily he saw me,” Conrad said. “I’m thankful he had the trust in me to throw that because, you know, that’s a dangerous pass.”
“I saw CJ in the back of the end zone so I was like, let me give him a chance to catch it. So I just threw it,” Wilson said of the decision to send it to Conrad. “It was close, it was close. After I saw it go through his hands, I was like ‘yes, thank you. I’m good.’ It was a great catch by him.”
Regardless of what you think of Eddie Gran or how many more times you think Conrad should have been given the ball throughout his career, today’s game was special. After the win, the senior said he had 70 people in the stands rooting for him. He’s seen the rise of Kentucky football, and that’s something he’ll hold onto for the rest of his life.
“Our goal as a group, we seniors, was to change this program. We’ve still got some games left but we feel like we’re really heading in that direction and that just means the world to me,” Conrad said. “I just try to go out there and give everything I have to this team.”
He’s certainly done just that. CJ Conrad, thanks for everything.