Matt, Drew, Ryan, Jared Lorenzen, BTI, Nick Roush and I have turned in our picks →
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:08 pm
Both Stoops and Neal Brown were happy campers when they met with the media this afternoon. In fact, Neal Brown said that today “is the most fun I’ve had in a football game since November of 2012.” (Same, Neal. Same.)
Brown should be a happy camper. The Cats had 656 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns, an even more impressive feat when you consider how stagnant the offense was last season. In a stat that speaks to what Stoops and staff are doing with the program, the new guys combined for 335 yards and five of those touchdowns.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:52 pm
Two of UK’s most impressive touchdowns came from Braylon Heard this afternoon. Heard had only two carries, but he made them count for fourteen points on runs of 73 and 43 yards a piece.
Unfortunately, Heard twisted his ankle on the second run, and had to sit out the rest of the game. Stoops didn’t have an update on the severity of his injury, but said Braylon’s two runs showed off what he can do. “He made a great move on that second one,” Stoops said. “What you saw on those two runs is what we’ve been talking about.”
Neal Brown agreed, joking that Heard “may never want to play. He has the highest per-rush in school history, in the nation, and he may just say, ‘I’m done.’”
Haha, very funny.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:35 pm
Football is fun! Whoulda thunk it.
By Kaan Solagan on ©3:26 pm
The Cats rolled over the Skyhawks today at Commonwealth, coming up with a 59-14 win over their obviously weaker FCS-opponent.
Stoops made a point in his Thursday press conference about coming out hot today, and the Cats did just that. They broke out to a 35-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Pat Towles had an impressive 20-29, 370 yard, and 2 TD performance (one on the ground), as well as Braylon Heard going for 116 yards and 2 TD’S on just two carries.
Stick around for some more Cats postgame fun coming soon!
By Nick Roush on ©11:21 am
The Wildcats are warming up on the Commonwealth Stadium turf, but Thaddeus Snodgrass isn’t one of them. Mark Stoops will confirm Snodgrass’ status after the game, but sources tell KSR that Snodgrass will likely redshirt this season.
Kickoff is coming…
By Andrew Cassady on ©11:15 am
The long, long wait from November 30th, 2013 is almost over and we will see the football team back in action once again today. All signs point to a better product on the field in year two under Coach Stoops with the Cats looking to start the year on a high note against UT-Martin.
The Cats could kick-off the season with a major beat-em-down that fills the fanbase with confidence for the rest of the year. Or they could come out flat and show that they still have a long way to go before they are rebuilt into a contender. Against UT-Martin the out come is likely the former but let’s break down the best-case and worst-case scenarios for this season’s debut.
Last year the Skyhawks were bombarded by FBS competition Boise State and Memphis by a combined score of 84-20. Kentucky delivers a similar beating for 2014 as they roll to a 49-7 victory. Patrick Towles looks fantastic by throwing for 3 touchdowns to Ryan Timmons, Steven Borden, and Javess Blue. Mark Stoops gets his back-up QB, Reese Phillips, some reps and he adds a TD of his own late in the game.
The running back corps racks up major yardage with Braylon Heard tallying his first 100 yard game for the Blue and White. Boom Williams showcases his explosiveness by running back a punt while, Jojo, Josh Clemons and Mikel Horton all rack up some yards on good carries.
Za’Darius Smith is once again the nation’s sack leader heading into week two. His old friend, QB Dylan Favre, is never able to get into rhythm as he throws a pick 6 and the team struggles most of the game to get past the 50.
Calling the Cats improved is an understatement.
The Cats look out of sync as they piddle their way to a 21-14 victory. The receivers continue to have issues reeling the ball in along with Towles missing some wide-open guys.
The running backs look good but have issues with ball control as they give up 2 fumbles in the red zone a la Alabama last season. Kentucky gets bit by the injury bug in the first game of the season with a few key players going down so they won’t be able to play against Vandy or Florida in a handful of weeks.
The Cats don’t show the improvements Mark Stoops was expecting.
The Likely Outcome
Against Alabama State last season the Cats rolled to a 48-14 victory. Alabama State appears to be better competition than UT-Martin and the Cats are much improved from last season. It’s a safe bet that Kentucky cruises to an easy win with young playmakers getting some early clips for the highlight reel. The back-ups should get plenty of clock late in the game and the Cats start the season 1-0 for the first time since 2011.
How do you think the Cats are going to look today?
By Andrew Cassady on ©10:30 am
Gameday atmosphere has been a big talking point over the last few seasons around Commonwealth and today we will see what changes the marketing group has made to make things better.
Over on the KSR pregame show the crew was dropping hints that we could see our beloved Hefty Lefty, Jared Lorenzen, involved in today’s game between the third and fourth quarter. So what will this new tradition be?
Stars leading the crowd in the fight song?
Bringing the “Y” to commonwealth?
Whatever it is, everything is pointing to a more involved football Saturday in commonwealth. What do you think this new tradition is going to be?
By Andrew Cassady on ©10:00 am
Ready to see my boys do work on this field today
— Andrew Harrison (@DrewRoc5) August 30, 2014
I think we all are, Andrew.
-John Clay of the Herald Leader has an open invitation to all optimists to jump on the Kentucky bandwagon. Clay points to the amazing turnaround of 1977:
“Often told around these parts is the object lesson of 1977. Kentucky had just lost to Baylor 21-6 in Waco to go 1-1 on the year. Rod Stewart, the team’s best running back, had torn his ACL in the loss. Fran Curci’s team was coming off a 2-8-1 season. While waiting outside the locker room after the game, the Kentucky media corps agreed the Cats wouldn’t win another game all season.
Instead, they did not lose another game.”
-Patrick Towles is ready for his first career start. Towles came to the program as the future of the QB position and while his journey took some detours his time is now. It’s exciting to see him finally be given the reins.
-UT-Martin is focused on getting better for a playoff run this season. The Skyhawks are returning 10 starters from last season’s 7-5 team. Head coach Jason Simpson said ““We’ll have a chance every Saturday that we line up.” Eh, not today bub.
-UK Volleyball opened the home season with a big 3-0 win over Wichita State. The ladies are back in action today as a part of the Bluegrass Battle at 10 am and 8 pm against Butler & Virginia Tech. Gives you plenty of stuff to do before and after the big game.
By Andrew Cassady on ©9:30 am
He’s the number 1 running back in the nation and one of Kentucky’s top targets for 2015. He just so happens to be playing right down the road at Madison Southern. He’s Damien Harris and he’s kicked off the 2015 high school football season with back-to-back big games. Last night the Eagles took on Whitley County in some Class 5a action.
Harris was a beast, going for 257 yards on just 13 carries with two touchdowns. That’s an average of over 19 yards per carry. Last week the super senior went for 123 yards and two touchdowns, on just 7 carries.That game was called at halftime due to weather.
No offense to the fine folks in Willamsburg but Whitley County isn’t exactly the best competition. Last year the Colonels went 1-10 and have now started this year 0-2. Even so, it’s hard to average 19 yards per carry against any team with 11 guys lined up trying to stop you.
All signs point to Harris having a record year down at Mad South. Let’s hope this isn’t the final year we see him suit up in the state of Kentucky. He’s on his way to Lexington for the game today. Show him some love if you see him.
— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) August 30, 2014
By Nick Roush on ©9:00 am
1. The Cats leading rusher returns. Last year’s offense didn’t WOW too many people, but true freshman Jojo Kemp brought brought the Mojo every time he took the field last season. He finished his first year with 482 yards and 3 touchdowns on 100 carries, becoming the first freshman to lead Kentucky in rushing since his coach Chad Scott did it in 2000.
2. He was a freshmen phenom with a bum ankle. We knew Jojo was playing “banged up” last year, but it was difficult to gauge how “banged up” he was until Neal Brown broke it down in detail earlier this week.
The Cats’ primary run play last season was a middle zone read, requiring the running back to attack the double team before making a cut to the open hole. Unfortunately for Jojo, his cut to the hole was a step slow because his ankle wouldn’t allow him to make the cut in one step, it required two. That extra step can make a HUGE difference in yards, making him an extra step quicker this Fall.
3. He’ll do literally whatever it takes to get on the field. It’s no secret the Cats have a good problem at running back with five suitable playmakers at the position. Jojo isn’t letting that intimidate him one bit. Early in camp he told reporters that he didn’t care what position he had to play, he’d play it to be on the field. He’ll learn to snap and play center or play nickelback on defense, whatever it takes. Luckily I thinkJon Toth and Blake McClain have already locked up those spots.
Gameday BONUS: Jojo makes football an art form. One of Jojo’s hidden passions is his love for art. During down time between classes in the offseason, he’ll often visit the art museum at the Singletary Art Center on campus. I caught Jojo off guard after practice when I asked him why he took such an interest in art. After talking for a few minutes, we decided that the football field was his personal canvas, “I’m like Picasso with the rock in my hands.”