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September 18th, 2018

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Tuesday Morning Defensive Breakdown (Murray State)

1st Down
Run: 9 rushes, 48 yards
Pass: 5-14, 47 yards, 1 INT (1 sack)

Combined Season Stats
Run: 37 rushes, 143 yards, 1 TD
Pass: 16-40, 162 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT (2 sacks)

Recap: Very, very good defense here.  Murray broke off one long run but otherwise averaged just over 3 yards per play on 1st down.  That will put your defense in great position all game.  Cats also force their first turnover on 1st down as well.

2nd Down
Run: 8 rushes, 40 yards
Pass: 7-12, 40 yards

Combined Season Stats
Run: 34 rushes, 151 yards
Pass: 16-28, 132 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, (2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)

Recap: Held Murray to 4 yards per play here, not allowing much of anything.  Pass defense was solid, holding the Racers to 5 yards per completion and forcing 3rd down time and again.

3rd Down and Long (6 yards or more)
Run: 1 rush, 21 yards, 1 TD (converted 1 of 1)
Pass: 4-8, 69 yards (converted 2 of 8)

Overall Season Statistics
Run: 4 rushes, 51 yards, 1 TD (converted 1 of 4)
Pass: 13-22, 161 yards, 1 sack (converted 7 of 23)

Recap: The garbage time touchdown by Murray somewhat spoils these numbers but otherwise, UK remained very solid in 3rd and long.  Will need to hold Mississippi State to under 30% to feel good about their chances on Saturday.

3rd Down and Short (5 yards or less)
Run: 2 rushes, 8 yards (converted 2 of 2)
Pass: 4-5, 24 yards (converted 4 of 5)

Overall Season Statistics
Run: 8 rushes, 38 yards (converted 7 of 8)
Pass: 8-11, 76 yards (converted 7 of 11)

Recap: Continues to be a struggle in these situations, as it is for most teams.  Really hoped the boys on the line would dominate in 3rd and short but it just didn’t happen.  Concerned if MSU gets into this position often on Saturday the Cats will struggle to get them off the field.


KSR Show Thread (9/18): Getting ready for Mississippi State

(Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

Today on Kentucky Sports Radio radio, Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond are back in studio to look ahead to the Mississippi State game. They’ll talk a little basketball recruiting, too.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (859) 300-3264.

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Kentucky ranked No. 1 in Blue Ribbon CBB Preseason Top 25

The Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook released its 38th edition of its Preseason Top 25 on Tuesday and your University of Kentucky Wildcats landed the top overall spot in the poll. Trailing the Wildcats in the college basketball bible’s 2018 rankings, you’ll find Kansas (on UK’s schedule), Gonzaga, Duke (on UK’s schedule) and Tennessee (on UK’s schedule twice) rounding out the top five.

Fun fact: Kentucky has 12 games against Blue Ribbon top-25 teams.

BLUE RIBBON COLLEGE BASKETBALL YEARBOOK PRESEASON TOP 25

1. Kentucky
2. Kansas
3. Gonzaga
4. Duke
5. Tennessee
6. Nevada
7. Virginia
8. Auburn
9. Oregon
10. Michigan State
11. Mississippi State
12. North Carolina
13. Kansas State
14. UCLA
15. Florida State
16. West Virginia
17. Clemson
18. LSU
19. Purdue
20. Florida
21. Villanova
22. Syracuse
23. Michigan
24. Virginia Tech
25. TCU

This marks the third time in five years Blue Ribbon has ranked Kentucky No. 1 overall entering the season. Over the last seven years, Blue Ribbon has ranked UK second, third, second, first, first, fourth, fifth, and now first again.

Go Cats.

[Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook Releases Preseason Top 25]


Today on KSR: More Motivation for Benny Snell

It took almost no time for somebody to chirp at Benny Snell.  This week it’s coming from another running back.

Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill found a Tweet from the Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts that quoted Snell following UK’s win over Murray State.  “I’m going to run on any team,” it said.  Hill used emoji’s to laugh at it before eventually deleting the Tweet.  He tried to run from Benny, but he couldn’t hide.

Miss. State’s sophomore star rushed for 211 yards against Kansas State, but suffered an injury last Saturday.  His status is day-to-day according to coach Joe Moorhead.  Hill is fifth in the SEC in rushing (293 yards), three spots behind Benny Snell (375).  We’ll see which one can back up their talk this Saturday.

It’s Going to be Physical

During Mark Stoops’ pre-Miss. State press conference, the Kentucky head coach used the word “physical” eight times.  He’s preparing his team for a battle unlike any they’ve seen through the first three games of the year.

“They’re as physical as anybody you are going to play in the league, if not more.  So, you have to match them. It starts there,” Stoops said.

You can find a few takeaways here or read the entire transcript.

Greg McElroy is Buying UK Stock

The former Alabama quarterback and SEC Network analyst believes this Kentucky team is the real deal.  Here’s what makes this team different than others:

Discounted Tickets

As of yesterday afternoon, Kentucky was still about 15,000 tickets away from a sell out.  To motivate fans to fill the stands, UK has a couple of options.

You can purchase a limited amount of tickets for $42 through Reply Buy.  Teachers can get an even better deal.  Contact Nathan Schwake at WeAreUK@uky.edu to register your school district and become eligible to receive access to this exclusive $26 ticket package.

Win $1 Million at a UK Game

The Eckrich $1 Million Challenge is coming to the University of Kentucky November 3 when the Cats host the Georgia Bulldogs.  Visit EckrichFootball.com to register for your chance to make a throw for a six-figure check.

Dang.

The coal whistle has become quite a tradition on third downs at Kroger Field, but I don’t believe it’s the most intimidating third down gimmick.  That belongs to Oklahoma State.  Opponents must face the Oklahoma State defense and Gary Busey’s large face before each third down play.

@TravisB06052015

Oscar T gets an Offer

Mr. Tshiebwe (Shoob-way) has been one of Kentucky’s top interior targets for quite some time, even though he did not officially hold a Kentucky scholarship offer.  That changed last night when UK’s coaches paid Tshiebwe a visit.  He will return the favor and trip to Lexington later this month.

You can hear more about this recruiting development and the rest of the Cats’ recruits by listening to a new episode of Hardly Committed that will hit iTunes tomorrow afternoon.  Speaking of podcasts…

Podcast Plug

Two new KSR podcasts hit the airwaves last night, but you cannot find them on the KSR podcast feed.  Aaron Torres has an excellent interview with former Louisville coach Rick Pitino and the KSR Football Podcast has everything to prepare you for UK-Miss. State.

To listen to each, you need to subscribe to their respective podcast feeds.  Smash that subscribe button.  If you don’t have iTunes, search for each in your favorite podcast app or stream online (here and here).  You can do this.  I have faith in you.

Lynn Bowden was Pretty Good

How good was he against Murray State?  One of the best in the SEC.

@PFF_College


September 17th, 2018

Insider Notes: Scottie Lewis visits and Calipari’s busy week

@Scott_Lewis_23

I’m convinced September is the busiest recruiting month of the year for Kentucky. June and July make for plenty of news and actual games on different circuits. November is the start of the high school season and the fall signing period. The all-star circuit in the spring produces plenty of content and long recruitments come to a close, but nothing tops September. Kentucky coaches travel the country and UK has hosted/will continue to host some of their top targets this month.

And that included Scottie Lewis, who is actually still in Lexington. He didn’t arrive to Lexington until Saturday and the official officially ended around noon this afternoon.

Let’s get to the notes.

Scottie Lewis:

It’s funny how the perception of a recruitment can change in just a week. Lewis seemed like a Florida lock. He was coming off an official visit to Gainesville, his teammate and good friend committed to the Gators and nearly every expert was predicting Lewis would end up playing for Mike White. But something during the middle of the week happened and Evan Daniels led the charge in taking a step back. Rivals’ Corey Evans did the same. Florida still is in a solid spot, but it was clear that Lewis remained open and followed through on his official visit to Lexington (UK never believed he may cancel that visit FWIW).

One thing that I don’t like to do is contact kids/parents/coaches while still on campus going through a visit. So, I don’t have much besides a text message that the visit went well. However, I was able to find out what changed last week and why folks backed off the Florida predictions.

The Gators’ staff thought they were in a great spot for Lewis. The official went so well they thought it was virtually a done deal, and they did push for a commitment (which really isn’t uncommon). I was led to believe Lewis was going to go home and think about it, but decided that he wasn’t ready to pull the trigger. That’s not what Florida’s staff wanted. UK’s staff has stayed even-keeled, knowing they have had a chance but unsure if they were the leader.

This could come down to a head/heart decision for Lewis. He has a great relationship with Florida’s staff, he could play with his buddy (Alex Klatsky) and the Gators have been recruiting him for a long time. However, it’s tough to pass up what UK can offer.

We’ll have an update later today or tomorrow with more insight into Lewis’ visit, but Kentucky started gaining momentum heading INTO the official visit. That’s always exciting because assuming the visit went well (like we’ve briefly been told) then maybe the Cats can do enough to jump into the lead.

Big Situation:

OK, things seem to be getting more confusing than becoming more clear. Kentucky has offered Zeke Nnaji, continues to recruit Aidan Igiehon and an offer is coming this week for Oscar Tshiebwe. Then of course there’s James Wiseman, Vernon Carey Jr., and Matthew Hurt. UK reached back out to Isaiah Stewart and the Cats also went to see Jaden McDaniels. So, allow me to do a sentence or two on each player:

James Wiseman: He unofficially visited Memphis last week. Folks close to Kentucky weren’t concerned and even said there will likely be more unofficial visits over the season. The Cats still feel confident in this recruitment.

Vernon Carey Jr.: Things will move slowly in this recruitment. His official visits don’t start until next month. Last week I said that MSU, UK and Duke’s staff felt the most confident in this recruitment. I had someone I trust tell me that I was correct about MSU and UK, but Duke’s staff isn’t as confident. We can save this for another day but the Blue Devils’ recruiting hasn’t been as strong since Jeff Capel left. I’m guessing they still finish with a top three or five class, but it’s a nice change of pace after their monster class last year.

Matthew Hurt: I don’t really have a great feel on this recruitment. UK likes where they stand but I couldn’t get any sense if they feel like they lead or were in third place. Hurt has always said the right things when talking about UK. Kentucky will have a much better idea of where things stand for his official visit for Big Blue Madness.

Zeke Nnaji: It’s my opinion that if UK wants Nnaji they will be able to land him. They’ll have to make him feel like a priority and continue to recruit him (duh) but I like where the Cats stand here.

Jaden McDaniels: I can confirm that UK has kept in contact with McDaniels over the last few months. In the summer I was told it was a text once or twice a month and I think that’s still the same case. He’s not one of UK’s top targets but the Cats are still in the hunt. I don’t think he ends up in Lexington.

Isaiah Stewart: The great news about this recruitment is that it’s likely heading into the spring. The more time, the better for UK and Stewart. Kentucky really thinks he could be a great player but they need more time, and it sounds like that will happen. If UK can get him on campus for a visit, watch out. Obviously UK doesn’t lead but I think the Cats are back in the picture.

Aidan Igiehon: I still don’t *think* he has an offer from Kentucky at this time. Calipari went with Tony Barbee for the in-home visit and they mentioned scheduling an official visit, but we still haven’t heard any dates. He just finished a visit to Oregon. I still don’t think he ends up in Lexington, but this has been a strange recruitment. So, I’m not too sure how this plays out.

Oscar Tshiebwe: UK will meet with Tshiebwe this week and I’d be pretty surprised if a formal offer isn’t extended. UK could wait until his official visit next weekend, but why? Anywho, some folks think WVU’s lead is too significant to overcome. Others have told me UK led the day they started recruiting him. I still think the Cats are going to need to blow him away on his official visit. He just finished checking out Baylor and unless something drastic happens I don’t think he ends up at Illinois or Baylor (the other two schools he’s considering).

The entire class has been somewhat head scratching, but it’s my opinion that UK is reaching out to so many players to try and put a little pressure on a few guys they really want. I expect the Cats to land two frontcourt players in the fall, and maybe two more in the spring.

USA Today

Cole Anthony:

I don’t have much regarding where things stand with UK or if we’ll hear of an official visit to Lexington (I still expect it to happen this fall) but North Carolina has all the momentum in this recruitment, and I was told this even after his visit to Notre Dame.

Since the NCAA botched the academic scandal UNC’s recruiting is back. Adding Anthony with Armando bacot and Jeremiah Francis would be scary good, plus maybe Josh Green and some other targets. The Tar Heels haven’t been on the same level a Duke or UK with one-and-done players, but that may be changing.


KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

McDowell


The one and only Big Mick is a meaty masterpiece in its own right. Composed of two quarter-pound patties* of never-fresh, frozen, mostly beef raised close to the processing plant. Only McDowell’s has the frosted beef and processed cheese to give you a major reason for the afternoon trip to the secret bathroom only you and Debra know about on the 9th floor that is under construction.


You can be a part of McDowell’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.

If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us at Via Email.

#10 Blue2Bone


Lucky her!

#9 Corey


I wouldn’t reccomend it.

#8 Paul Rippy


Hmmm. I really hope Benny didn’t see this tweet before it got deleted. I really wish no one had tagged him.

#7 Soph. Nick Richards


Next, you’ll be eating at Roosters every night!

#6 Brian Frick


Don’t get my hopes up….

#5 Austin Geer


Congrats!

#4 Jeffrey Spears


Glad you think so!

#3 Ben Laughlin


This is a tough choice.

#2 Mattie Osborne


Adorable!

#1 Daniel Slone


Praise God!


Kahlil Whitney: “Kentucky was always my dream school”

We still have one season to go before 2019 Kentucky commitment Kahlil Whitney arrives on campus, but you better believe he’s counting down the days for that special moment.

He committed to Kentucky back in August, though many considered his addition a near-guarantee when John Calipari offered him a scholarship a few weeks earlier in July. DJ Jeffries sealed the deal when he decommitted from the school, opening up a spot for Whitney on the wing.

And in the grand scheme of things, the Cats easily won out in the end. Whitney has since seen his stock rise significantly, shooting into the top-ten on every major recruiting service. His athleticism has always been there, but now that he’s developed into a knockdown shooter, there are little to no holes in his game.

This weekend, Whitney released another episode in his YouTube series “My Reasons,” where he dives into his breakout summer, his longtime love for the Kentucky Wildcats, and where he’s going from here.

“Kentucky was always my dream school,” he said in the video. “When John Calipari walked in the gym, I knew what time it was.”

He added that his visit to Lexington sealed the deal in his recruitment. He knew where home was.

“I just wanted to get on campus and see what the environment was, see how the people treated me there. It was great. It was a dream come true,” he said.

You can watch it here:

If you missed episode one published back in April, you can check it out below:

Welcome home, young fella.


The KSR Football Podcast: Week Three Win over Murray State

For the third straight week, The KSR Football Podcast is talking about a UK win.  Austin MacGinnis, Charles Walker, Drew Franklin and Nick Roush share their favorite parts from Kentucky’s 48-10 win over Murray State and prepare you for the Saturday night fight with Mississippi State. Highlights:

— NFL teams are stupid for not calling MacGinnis.

— Something you don’t know about the young stars that shined against Murray State.

— How Lynn Bowden has developed as a wide receiver since he arrived on campus.

— Drew shares his thoughts on Starkville.

—  Intimidating Mississippi State stats.

— Remember that time MacGinnis hit a 51-yard field goal to beat Mississippi State?

— Match-ups in the trenches that will dictate who wins Saturday night.

Get the podcast delivered to your phone by subscribing to “KSR Football Podcast” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app (just search “KSR Football Podcast”). You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play , and streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.


PSA: Austin MacGinnis needs a kicking job. Now.

Alright, enough of the games. It’s time.

If you watched the NFL this past Sunday, you saw just how disgustingly putrid the kicking performances were around the league.

In week two, nine games saw either a missed field goal or a failed PAT, with 19 total missed kicks in total throughout the day. And they weren’t all missed by a hair, several were just absolutely shanked, leaving fans scratching their heads and begging for new options.

The biggest loser came in the form of Cleveland’s Zane Gonzalez, who missed four total kicks against the New Orleans Saints, including one PAT to take the lead in the game’s final minutes and a missed 52-yarder to tie the game with just eight seconds remaining.

Here was his final gem:

Minnesota Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson also missed three kicks on Sunday, including a chip shot 35-yarder with four seconds remaining in overtime to beat the Green Bay Packers:

Both players were (rightfully) cut by their respective teams and were replaced almost instantly by free agents. Still, though, there are numerous incompetent kickers around the league that still have jobs, while former Kentucky superstar Austin MacGinnis is sitting at home waiting for that lucky phone call. He received a training camp invite from the Chicago Bears, but didn’t make it through the final cuts for whatever reason. Since then, it’s been quiet.

I’m usually the first to give kickers the benefit of the doubt, but my patience has run out. We love him as our co-host on the KSR Football Podcast, but MacGinnis is too talented to be unemployed in the NFL.

And the former Kentucky star realizes that, too.

Following all of the missed kicks on Sunday, fans reached out to the free agent kicker wishing he got the opportunity to make a name for himself in the league. MacGinnis took advantage of the attention, tweeting out his film, statistics, and letters of recommendation for potential job offers:

He also retweeted and commented on just about every comment he received about how he just needs one chance to shine.

Some of those highlights shown on the former Kentucky kicker’s website? His two ridiculous game-winners against Mississippi State and Louisville:

He also added his UK Pro Day footage and a preseason combine he participated in back in August:

There are zero excuses for so many professional kickers to be so horrible, just like there aren’t any excuses Austin MacGinnis isn’t on an NFL roster.

Make it happen. Please. Somebody. Anybody.


Four-year-old boy hit by car at Kentucky football game has died

We regret to inform you this evening that the four-year-old boy hit by a car outside of Kroger Field on Saturday afternoon has passed away.

In a statement given from the University of Kentucky to the Kentucky Kernel, Marco Lee Shemwell died on Monday afternoon at Kentucky Children’s Hospital after fighting life-threatening injuries.

18-year-old UK student and Alpha Tau Omega pledge Jacob Heil was charged with driving under the influence after veering off the road and hitting the boy on the sidewalk on Cooper Drive on Saturday afternoon.

According to the arrest citation, Heil had “strong odor of alcohol” and “red, blood-shot, watery eyes” when the police arrived at the scene. He was released eight hours after his arrest.

All of us here at KSR pray for the family of those involved and hope they can find peace. An absolute tragedy.