In 1961, Rich Brooks was the student-athlete at
Oregon Oregon State. In 1961, Rupp’s Wildcats fell in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament to Ohio State. In 1961, my parents were children, and a significant portion of this blog’s readership wasn’t more than a twinkle in their father’s eyes.
In 1961, Kentucky won at Auburn’s field for the first time. 48 years later, Kentucky finds victory again, by the score of 21-14. How’d the do it? Here’s your Fake Gimel Groovy breakdown:
* Down With the Yellow Flags, Man – Kentucky has ZERO penalties. Evidently Coach Brooks found the substance that was causing our team’s consistent problems with illegal motions and false starts. He then extracted that substance, processed the substance as a powder and sprinkled the powder into Auburn’s Gatorade bins. (The Tigers had 10 penalties for 76 yards, including several drive-killing penalties in the 4th quarter and one extremely-strange quick-snap overstacked formation that was killed by a false start.)
* Our Lines were Square – There were a few miscues for UK’s offensive and defensive lines. But for most of the games, the lines played very well. The offensive line gave great push through the game, allowing our backs room to run inside; which allowed runs bounced to the outside to be especially dangerous. Kentucky’s defensive line and linebackers gave up a lot of yards to Auburn’s run game, but only allowed one rushing TD and forced Auburn into 6 3rd-and-long situations.
* QB’s Were Plugged-In – Freshman Morgan Newton finished the game with 5 completions on 13 attempts for 39 yards, with zero throwing TDs and zero INTs. Junior Will Fidler had 4 completions on 9 attempts for 36 yards, with zero throwing TDs and zero INTs. Randall Cobb didn’t attempt a pass and therefore had zero INTs. (Notice the emphasis? No INTs.)
Newton & Fidler threw the ball deep and kept Auburn’s defensive backs from completely selling on Kentucky’s run. Newton completed a 23-yard pass to Chris Matthews on the right sideline, and threatened to Matthews several other times. Fidler found Senior Tight End T.C. Drake on a 4th Down conversion for 7 yards and the first down late in the 4th quarter.
Oh yeah. Cobb, Newton and Fidler each scored a rushing TD. That was nice too.
* ¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! — Derrick Locke is fast. Randall Cobb is also fast. Locke and Cobb absolutely eviscerated the Auburn defense, with Locke compiling 19 rushes for 126 yards and Cobb rushing 12 times for 109 yards. It was the first time UK had two 100-yard rushers since Sept. 18, 2004, when Shane Boyd and Tony Dixon ran all over Indiana. These men showed consistent speed against, prior to this game, the 84th-best (out of 120) rushing defense in the NCAA. (Note to Auburn coaches: Learn how to defend against the quarterback draw.)
* War Eagle? No, Peace Dove. – According to Auburn’s Game Notes, “The pre-game flight was made by Nova from Sec. 45 in the northwest corner.” Obviously Sec. 45 is never getting Nova again.
* Peter & Mary Ain’t Got Nothin’ on Paul – And welcome back, Paul Warford. Your 4 passes defensed and your steady presence in the defensive backfield is most welcome!
What does this mean for the rest of the season? It all depends if Kentucky can hold serve against the teams we’re supposed to beat: Louisiana-Monroe, Mississippi State, Eastern Kentucky and Vandy. If we lose to one of these teams, the Wildcats are back that 6-win threshold. But creeping up on 7 wins, with a fairly vulnerable Georgia defense and a possible wildcard game with Tennessee (who knows what you’re gonna get with the Vols?), the season really looks bright.
Meanwhile, Coach Brooks (as reported by Alan Cutler) calls this victory, “one of the most complete team wins I’ve ever been around.” My BFF John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader has post-game interview videos of Coach Brooks, Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke. ESPN never showed UK/Auburn highlights on SportsCenter or even College Football Final today, but ESPN’s Chris Low asks, “Has there been a gutsier victory this season in the SEC than Kentucky’s…?”
Between this and the Cal-tastic Big Blue Madness, this is one of the best UK Sports weekends of recent memory. Feel free to debate through the night if this is the biggest UK football away victory in the last 20 years. I’ll be back in the morning to lead you through your Sunday afternoon enjoyment.
Update: Brooks played at Oregon State, and the Auburn’s overstacked formation was foiled by a false start, not an illegal formation penalty. Thanks, readers!
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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