Football Season Coverage
By Maggie Davis on ©January 02nd, 2019 @ 7:00pm
10-3. Soak it in, BBN, because the 2018-19 football season was one for the books. Sure, Kentucky’s season just ended yesterday, but maybe you’re already feeling nostalgic. There were plenty of great moments over the course of the past few months, but I decided to round up some of the very best. These are the moments that changed UK’s season.
Terry Wilson’s run against Florida.
Kentucky’s still-new quarterback had one of his strongest game of the season way back on Sept. 8 against the Gators. He finished with 11 of 16 passes for 151 yards, two touchdowns and just one interception. He rushed for 105 yards and ran in one touchdown of his own. He had great passes to Lynn Bowden and David Bouvier, but it was his scrappy nature that stood out during the Gator hunt. Throughout the game, he hustled his way to first downs and, in this case, even a touchdown.
Terry Wilson with the fake-pitch and touchdown run. (2018) pic.twitter.com/rM5bkC4gPs
— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) September 9, 2018
Wilson’s performance helped carry the Cats to a 27-16 victory which, of course, led to the end of that terrible 31-year streak. In the process, UK got to see Terry Wilson’s potential on full display.
Cats become 5-0… in more ways than one
The Florida streak wasn’t the only one Kentucky improved upon this year. For the fifth straight season, Mark Stoops & Co. defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks. The victory also put the Cats’ record at 5-0, an incredibly-impressive feat when you remember the Vegas line had the over-under line set at 5.5…
South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley was picked off three times by Kentucky – Mike Edwards, Derrick Baity and Darius West all snatched interceptions. Despite a scoreless second half, the then-No. 17 Wildcats held on for the win.
CJ Conrad’s impossible catch
I know you all remember this one.
CJ Conrad’s last-second touchdown catch against Missouri not only won the game for Kentucky, but it also gave the Cats the chance to compete for the SEC East title. Of course, the Cats ultimately fell to Georgia, but they only had that chance thanks to Kentucky’s senior tight end.
As fabulous as Conrad’s catch was, it wouldn’t have mattered were it not for the Kentucky defense. They fought the whole game, at one point even forcing eight straight three-and-outs for the Tigers. Missouri was averaging around 500 yards of offense per game before their matchup with the Wildcats. Against Kentucky, they scored just 14 points.
Josh Paschal’s return
What an emotional year for Josh Paschal. Last season, Josh Allen and Denzil Ware were referring to him as “Baby Blitz.” He was poised to have a break-through year, then Coach Stoops broke the devastating news of Paschal’s diagnosis at media day in August. Shortly thereafter, news of Coach John Schlarman’s own health issues also broke.
The team used these two men as inspiration for a special season.
“What Josh Paschal’s gone through and Coach Schlarman, it keeps things in perspective. This is still just a game,” Stoops said before the bowl game. “Obviously we know how important that is and how many people we affect, but when you start looking at things like that, it keeps things in perspective, and our team has really rallied around those two.”
It was a truly special moment when Paschal made his way back onto Kroger Field. During the final home game of the season, he served as a starter and recorded his first tackle of the season.
Three surgeries, three months of treatment and all of the ?.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) November 17, 2018
Josh Allen’s monster senior day
While Josh Pascal may have had the feel-good moment of the day, a different Josh had a different kind of moment on the field – the record-breaking kind. Against Middle Tennessee State, Allen officially became the school’s leading sacker. And it didn’t take long for the record to be updated inside Kroger Field:
Well this is awesome. Already updated: pic.twitter.com/cv5T0XV1om
— Maggie Davis (@MaggieDavisKSR) November 17, 2018
The record-breaking sack couldn’t have come at a better time: a fourth-and-one play at the UK 32-yard line. A MTSU touchdown here would tie the game. Allen wasn’t going to let that happen.
Then, on MTSU’s final drive of the game, he did it again. This sack broke the record for most QB sacks in a single season. After an already-memorable senior season, it was more than fitting for Allen to finish strong inside Kroger Field.
Oh, No. 41. We’re going to miss you.
Benny’s big moment
It’s a record we’ve been tracking all year: the all-time leading rushing record. From the beginning of the season, Snell had breaking the record listed as one of the goals hanging in his bedroom. Against Penn State, and during his final game as a Wildcat, Snell made it happen.
Of course, the moment didn’t come without some drama. He surpassed the necessary 107 yards in the most “Snell Yeah” way possible – running the ball in for a touchdown.
Of course, there were dozens of other moments that made this season a special one. But it was the combination of it all that led to a 10-3 season, a record (and streak) breaking year and a bowl game victory over a “football school” like Penn State. UK football, thanks for an excellent season.
When’s the next kickoff?
An unexpected side story of yesterday’s game was the shade Hardee’s threw at Kentucky Football. At the beginning of the Citrus Bowl, the fast-food chain sent out this bizarre tweet:
Kentucky is finally recovering from the Bear Bryant years just like we're recovering from eating a dozen Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuits this morning
— Hardee's (@Hardees) January 1, 2019
Huh? Is that supposed to be a compliment on an insult? Or is Hardee’s just trying to show off that they knew Bear Bryant used to be our coach? Bitter they lost the food bracket? Either way, they got roasted for it on Twitter:
Hardees is so bad they had to bring red burrito in to help them stay in business….
— J-rod (@JByGodRod) January 1, 2019
HARDEE’SH! WE HATH… WHAT’SH LEFT OF THE MEATSH!
— Fake Lou Holtz (@FakeLouHoltzKSR) January 1, 2019
@Wendys come get your little brother.
— KentuckySportsCenter (@BBNSportsCenter) January 1, 2019
Your jokes are as bland as your food.
— Spence (@TheJSpence) January 1, 2019
For a chain that had two employees in Kentucky diagnosed with Hepatitis A in recent months, poking the #BBN may not have been the wisest choice. Thankfully, I never eat there anyways.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 02nd, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Penn State’s loss to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl has some Nittany Lions fans calling for James Franklin’s head, which is a bit much, but one coach did meet the chopping block. Wide receivers coach David Corley was relieved of his duties today after his unit made drop after drop vs. the Cats.
“I appreciate David’s efforts this season but feel it is in our program’s best interest to make a change at this time. I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future,” Franklin said in a released statement.
Kentucky won the game for a variety of reasons, but the number of drops by Penn State’s receivers was ridiculous. Senior DeAndre Thompkins dropped what would have been two first-down catches and a deep ball by third string quarterback Sean Clifford. Apparently, drops have plagued the Nittany Lions all season, which isn’t too terribly surprising considering Corley joined Penn State’s staff before the season as the running backs coach and was then shifted over.
Honestly, I’m shocked the special teams coach didn’t get the axe first. Outside of their punter, they were a total mess. In fact, let’s watch Lynn Bowden’s punt return on more time…
By Jack Pilgrim on ©January 02nd, 2019 @ 1:30pm
In his first three seasons, Troy head coach Neal Brown has managed 31 victories, three 10-win seasons, three bowl wins, and two victories over Power-Five schools.
And now, it’s looking like the former Kentucky receiver and offensive coordinator will be making the move to West Virginia.
Yesterday morning, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported current Mountaineer head coach Dana Holgorsen was expected to become the next head coach at Houston on a five-year, $20-million deal.
Dana Holgorsen is going to Houston. #WVU will have some pretty intriguing options (Neal Brown, Rich Rod and Butch Jones among them) .. My analysis of how the Mountaineers coaching search shapes up: https://t.co/kaqEIYg1Ut
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 1, 2019
Today, Holgorsen is officially in Houston, where the deal is expected to become official this afternoon.
Can report that Dana Holgorsen is now in Houston. Would expect an announcement from UH before too long.
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) January 2, 2019
With Holgorsen headed to Houston, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reports West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons will “act quickly” in hiring the school’s next head coach, with Brown expected to be “at or near the top of his list.”
FootballScoop.com also added that Brown, along with Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell are “strong candidates.”
According to DubVNation, however, West Virginia is “locked in” on the Danville, KY native.
When we asked (our source) if there seems to be serious, mutual interest between the two sides they replied, “I can’t comment on Brown’s end, he’s a Kentucky man and it appears the southeast and Troy suits his family but at least on the Mountaineers end I would say they’re locked in.”
Yesterday evening, one of the most reliable anonymous West Virginia sources on the web reported Brown will be announced as the next head coach at West Virginia “no later” than this afternoon.
From everything I’ve heard, Neal Brown will in fact be the next HC at WVU. Expect an official announcement no later than tomorrow afternoon. #HailWV
— WVU (@StrictlyWVU) January 1, 2019
Obviously there is nothing official as of yet, but it appears one of the hottest names in all of college football will be off the board sooner rather than later.
And it’ll likely be at a big-name school known for having a high-powered offense, right up Brown’s alley.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©January 02nd, 2019 @ 12:30pm
Following a three-sack, three tackle-for-loss, one blocked field goal performance against Penn State in the Citrus Bowl, Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen saw his NFL Draft stock rise yet again.
And by the looks of things, he’s running out of growing room at the top of the draft boards.
CBS Sports released their post-bowl NFL Mock Draft, and the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Kentucky superstar came in at No. 2 overall to the San Francisco 49ers behind Ohio State’s Nick Bosa at No. 1.
Barring a “terrible predraft season” (not gonna happen), CBS Sports feels he is “almost certain” to go in the top five.
SB Nation agrees with the No. 2 ranking, saying an impressive showing at the NFL Combine would give the 49ers no choice but to select Allen with their pick (behind Nick Bosa).
Bleacher Report didn’t provide any analysis, but they like Allen at No. 2, as well.
USA Today will need a bit more convincing for a top-two selection, but they still believe the star linebacker won’t fall out of the top five:
Tankathon also had Allen going No. 3 to the Jets, despite having his measurements off by an inch in height and 35 pounds in weight:
Josh Allen as a consensus top-three draft prospect? It’s hard not to be impressed by that.
The star of the show, however, thinks otherwise. It’s No. 1 or bust for the consensus National Defensive Player of the Year.
If I’m not #1 than I don’t know who is????? #GoCats
— Joshua Allen (@JoshAllen41_) January 1, 2019
Kentucky recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow agrees.
If @JoshAllen41_ is not the first pick of the draft I will be lost for words. He is by far the best player in college football hands down. Go Big Blue.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) January 1, 2019
Can’t say I disagree with the Big Dawg.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 02nd, 2019 @ 10:30am
Nick Roush made the rounds in the locker room to talk to Eddie Gran, CJ Conrad, and Kash Daniel about Kentucky’s big Citrus Bowl victory. Revel in their happiness below:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 02nd, 2019 @ 9:00am
What a start to 2019.
It feels like just a few days ago the fanbase was in the dumps following the basketball team’s face plant vs. Duke and the football team’s losses to Georgia and Tennessee, but it’s a new year and both programs are flying high. The Cats’ win over Penn State in the Citrus Bowl capped off the program’s best season since 1977, but in true Kentucky Football fashion, had its fair share of drama. Up by 20 points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Cats shifted into cruise control, allowing a feisty Trace McSorely to lead the Nittany Lions to 17 straight points. Thankfully, Kentucky avoided disaster by putting the ball in Benny Snell’s hands and fans got to enjoy a celebration many thought might never come.
A win this good deserves some afterglow, so let’s bask in it all day long, starting with the highlights:
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) January 2, 2019
Benny broke the record
There are certain moments in life you’ll remember forever, and the minutes leading up to Benny Snell breaking the Kentucky all-time rushing record will be up there for me on the UK Sports list. In fitting fashion, Benny passed Sonny Collins’ mark on a touchdown run, his second of the day and 48th of his college career. The moment brought him to his knees, which Dr. Mike captured beautifully:
Snell finishes his Kentucky career with 3,873 rushing yards, which ranks 12th in SEC history, and 48 rushing touchdowns, which ranks third in SEC history. He trails only Georgia’s Herschel Walker (49) for the most prior to his senior season.
Benny being Benny, he made sure to credit his offensive line in his postgame interview with Laura Rutledge:
Josh Allen dropped the mic
Allen is projected to go as high as No. 2 in this summer’s draft, but, like Benny, chose to help the team finish what they started over sitting out. His final performance as a Wildcat is a reminder of just how special he is. Allen had four tackles, including three sacks for -16 yards, blocked a field goal, and added a quarterback hurry. He extended his school records for most sacks in a season (17) and career (31.5). After the game, he couldn’t help but seize the mic and tell reporters that if he doesn’t go first in the draft, he doesn’t know who should.
Stoops got the last word
Mark Stoops’ beef with James Franklin reportedly goes back to 2013, Stoops’ first year at Kentucky and Franklin’s last at Vanderbilt, when Franklin’s team scored an unnecessary touchdown in the final minutes of Vandy’s win in Nashville. Stoops got the last laugh yesterday in Orlando, taking a shot at Franklin as he accepted the Citrus Bowl trophy:
Stoops was all sorts of swaggy in that speech, telling Laura Rutledge he’d be “damned” if Kentucky didn’t leave Orlando with a win.
He carried that swag to the locker room, where he took over Marquan McCall’s dance circle:
— Zwervo? (@ZakyB01) January 2, 2019
Shoutout to whoever did this to Stoops’ Wikipedia page
Check out Dr. Mike’s pictures
The Cats hold on to beat Penn State 27-24, and Benny Snell becomes UK's all-time leading rusher. Check out Dr. Michael Huang Photography's first batch of photos…stayed tuned for more later!
A few hours ago, we posted Dr. Michael Huang Photography's initial gallery. For your viewing pleasure, here's 100 more photos. Enjoy! Go Cats!
Bevo almost turned the Sugar Bowl into the Running of the Bulls
For some reason, somebody thought it would be great to have Georgia’s Uga meet Texas’ Bevo before last night’s Sugar Bowl with tons of photographers and bystanders looking on. It did not go well.
— Danny Davis (@aasdanny) January 2, 2019
Well, the Sugar Bowl just got a lot more interesting …pic.twitter.com/jFtBvIpdCx
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2019
The actual game didn’t go much better for Georgia, who lost to Texas 28-21. The SEC is 6-5 in bowl games thus far with only the National Championship remaining. Shoutout to the Cats for doing their part.
KSR starts in an hour
Tune in to hear the gang recap a fun day in Orlando before they head back to the Bluegrass.
By Nick Roush on ©January 01st, 2019 @ 11:00pm
Kentucky’s historic tenth win of the season 2018-19 season was a lot like the previous nine.
The defense was dominant, until it wasn’t. There were a few plays that made you say, ‘Wow,’ and records were broken while you worried Kentucky would collapse, until they didn’t. They never gave up.
“We had a great belief in our locker room,” said Mark Stoops. “We didn’t have to do anything special, just be us.”
When Kentucky trailed by 11 entering the fourth quarter at Missouri, they still believed they could win. Lynn Bowden inserted himself into the game to return a punt and took it the house. He didn’t wait until the fourth quarter today.
“Bouv came to me and said that anytime I wanted for me to get back there,” Bowden said. “I am now two-for-two in calling it.”
The punt return touchdown gave Kentucky a 10-0 lead, a lead UK’s defense looked like they would never surrender. Kentucky sacked Trace McSorley six times, three by Josh Allen alone, recorded nine tackles for loss and did not allow a third down conversion until the fourth quarter. Things changed after Penn State’s first third down conversion.
Playing with a broken foot, McSorley played like a man possessed in the final 15 minutes. He single-handedly made Kentucky’s dominant defense look beatable. The Big Blue Nation’s record-breaking celebration for Benny Snell still had not ended when the Nittany Lions scored two touchdowns within four and a half minutes.
As Kentucky fans feared the worst, the players never panicked.
“We came right to each other.” C.J. Conrad told the defense, “‘You guys finish this out, and you guys won’t have to get back on the field.’ That’s the kind of thing that was happening throughout the season. Our leaders had to step up in those moments.”
Naturally, Allen was ready to respond. “We were deciding who’s going to make a play,” said Allen. “It’s about that time where great players step up and great players make plays, and in situations like that, somebody had to step up. So I just thought it would be me.”
Allen made all of the plays behind the line of scrimmage Kentucky fans have become accustomed to and much more. Just before half, Dean Hood dialed up a field goal block for Allen that worked to perfection. It kept three points off the scoreboard, the final margin of victory.
Everything that happened throughout the season led them to this moment. They were prepared to weather the storm and finish.
“It’s a long season. A lot of things happen, a lot of ups and downs,” Conrad said. “I mean, two guys on our team had cancer. It’s up and down. You’re going to face those things. It’s how you handle them, and this team handled it amazingly.”
The adversity the players faced created an unbreakable bond that strengthened them when they needed it most.
“The brotherhood that we created through this team and the adversity that we faced and overcome, you know, the negative things that happened with the team — we were able to make that a positive and it gave us drive,” said Benny Snell.
“(Challenges) such as Josh Paschal, Coach Schlarman, the Shemwell family, little Marco, just things like that, those gave us the extra fight, you know, throughout the season, like, we got something to play for. We set the record straight.”
Allen and the Kentucky defense bent, but did not break. They forced Penn State to settle for a field goal in the red zone with four minutes to play. When Benny and the offense got the ball back, they kept their promise to the defense and ran out the clock.
The win on the Citrus Bowl stage was something these Wildcats never experienced before. This year they snapped streaks and secured improbable victories, but the tenth win on New Year’s Day put the team into a new, uncharted territory. When Kash Daniel held the trophy, he could not believe what he saw.
“When I looked down, I saw ‘champions’ on it,” Daniel said. “I’ve never won a lot when I played, whether it was basketball, baseball or football. I’ve never been on a championship team. I’ve always seen people celebrating and I’ve always heard about what they’ve felt. I see their rings and that it says ‘champions’ on it. For that to happen to me, I can’t put it into words.”
The 2018 Kentucky football season was a wild roller coaster of emotions. Through the good and the bad, they leaned on each other until they were champions.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©January 01st, 2019 @ 10:55pm
After winning the coin toss, an aggressive James Franklin elected to receive in an attempt to punch Kentucky in the mouth first. Penn State’s first drive? Incompletion, incompletion, eight-yard run, and a botched fake punt at their own 33-yard line to force a turnover on downs.
As his defense ran off the field for the first time, a fiery Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops shouted “Bring it on!” from the sideline.
Stoops amped after Kentucky sniffs out Penn State’s fake punt: “Bring it on!” pic.twitter.com/Ah5L9iC6qy
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) January 1, 2019
After running up the score in the final seconds back in 2013 with the game in hand as Vanderbilt’s head coach, Stoops is no friend of Franklin. He wouldn’t admit it publicly, but even beyond the historical significance ten wins would mean for the program, he wanted this game for revenge.
“It was personal, make no mistake about it,” Stoops later said on the KSR postgame show this evening.
That initial drive would be the lasting theme of the game. Kentucky’s blue-collar defense was enough to give the Wildcats their tenth win in the VRBO Citrus Bowl, and for Stoops, revenge was had.
The Wildcats responded with a field goal from senior kicker Miles Butler to go up 3-0, followed by two massive stops on defense with a three-and-out and a missed field goal from Penn State to keep the Nittany Lions scoreless.
One more defensive stop and forced punt later, Lynn Bowden caught the 58-yard boot at the UK 42-yard line and shifted his way through the Penn State defenders for an electric touchdown score to put the Cats up 10-0.
Kentucky would allow a five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the very next possession to bring the score to 10-7 in the Wildcats’ favor. Following a Josh Allen field goal block with 1:52 remaining, Kentucky’s lead would remain at three going into the half.
After a relatively unimpressive half that consisted of just 87 total yards of offense, the Wildcats finally turned things on in the second half all thanks to Kentucky star running back Benny Snell.
The junior back ran for 32 yards from scrimmage to open the half, eventually scoring on a two-yard touchdown run to bring the Kentucky lead to 17-7. Following another impressive defensive stop, the Wildcats trekked down the field for another score, this time in the form of a Butler field goal to make it 20-7.
Following Lonnie Johnson’s stretching interception on the ensuing Penn State drive, the magic finally kicked in for the Wildcat offense.
Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson found Bowden for a 54-yard completion to move the ball all the way down to the Nittany Lion 12-yard line. After a quick nod to the crowd, Benny Snell took the ball right up the gut for the 12-yard score, giving the star running back the Kentucky all-time rushing record. The image of Snell dropping to his knees realizing he broke Sonny Collins’ mark of 3,835 career rushing yards was the highlight of the year.
History was made to cap off arguably Kentucky’s most impressive quarter of the season.
Going into the fourth quarter, Kentucky held a 27-7 victory and unfortunately found themselves celebrating Snell’s record-breaking touchdown run a bit too long. The focus the team had throughout the third quarter had vanished, and before we knew it, we had a ballgame once more.
The Penn State offense managed three consecutive scoring drives, two touchdowns and one field goal, to cut the Wildcat lead to just three.
Ball-in-hand with 4:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, nightmare scenarios ran through the collective minds of the Big Blue Nation. The Kentucky football we have come to know over the years absolutely would have found a way to lose that game.
This isn’t that same Kentucky football program.
Just as he did two games into his career as a true freshman against South Carolina, Snell took the ball and found a way to grind out the victory in his final game in a Kentucky uniform. Inch by inch, the junior running back fought for two crucial first downs and milked the clock down to just nine seconds remaining on eight consecutive runs.
Following a 33-yard punt from Max Duffy to pin the ball at the Penn State 17, the Nittany Lions would need a prayer with just one second remaining to break the hearts of the Kentucky coaches, players, and fans.
Completion of 18 yards, lateral, fumble, recovery by Kentucky linebacker Chris Oats, knee. Game over.
The prayer that had been answered year after year for just about every opposing football team finally played out in Kentucky’s favor. UK’s historic season was capped off with a 27-24 victory in the Citrus Bowl to give Kentucky their tenth win of the season, the first time they’ve managed that feat since 1977.
The offense struggled and the defense gave up several huge plays in the fourth quarter to allow the comeback. The Penn State offense found their groove and the defense kept the Wildcats from putting any points on the board to end the game.
But none of it matters. None of it at all. And none of it should be the focus of the game.
The only focus should be celebrating history and the joy this Kentucky football team has given us this season.
Like we’ve seen all year, Josh Allen put on a performance that solidified his status as a top-three prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound pass rusher finished with four tackles, three sacks, three tackles for loss, one QB hurry, and one blocked field goal.
If you ask the man himself, he feels he should be the first player taken off the board.
“My career speaks for itself,” he said. “If I don’t go No. 1, I don’t know who is.”
Kentucky recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow chimed in, as well.
“If Josh Allen is not the first pick of the draft I will be lost for words,” he said on Twitter. “He is by far the best player in college football hands down.”
Allen is just another example of these players and coaches letting the process play out over the years and seeing the fruits of their labor finally arrive.
Coming into the program with little-to-no tangible success to be found in the win-loss column, this group of departing Wildcats ended their Kentucky careers with an afternoon we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives. Each of them committed to play for a football program that just finished with records of either 2-10 or 5-7, trusting that they would be the ones to finally turn it around.
They already proved that by winning nine games in the regular season, but this afternoon solidified that resurgence even further. They proved they were deserving of their ranking as a top-15 team in the nation. They proved they were deserving of a head-to-head matchup with an elite program like Penn State. This departing class proved Kentucky football is back, and it’s here to stay.
With a 144-yard, two-touchdown performance, Benny Snell got his shining moment on the big stage, breaking the all-time rushing record. If you say you didn’t get emotional when he dropped to his knees after the touchdown, you’re lying.
Josh Allen put on a show in his final time wearing a Kentucky uniform, boosting his NFL Draft stock even further. He wreaked havoc on an elite Penn State offensive line, proving yet again he’s the most dominant defensive player in all of college football.
Beyond those two, Mike Edwards, Darius West, Lonnie Johnson, CJ Conrad, Derrick Baity, Bunchy Stallings, Dorian Baker, Adrian Middleton, Chris Westry, George Asafo-Adjei, Tymere Dubose, Miles Butler, David Bouvier, and Tristan Yeomans went out with a Citrus Bowl trophy lifted above their heads and history attached to their names. Their postgame celebration was one we’ve been waiting for for a long, long time. Emotional, joyous, and relieved, they finally had the hardware to bring back to Lexington.
There’s a legitimate argument for this football team being the greatest in program history, and they added to that by holding off one of the most prestigious programs in the nation down the stretch. It may not have been pretty every second of the way, but it ended with pure bliss, and that’s all you can ask for.
The weight was lifted off of the program’s shoulders.
On this fine New Year’s Day, the Kentucky Wildcats proved they were the school sporting the correct shade of colors, one that deserved every bit of praise in the wide world of college football. Just ask Mark Stoops.
“Don’t ever, ever, question,” Stoops said at the Citrus Bowl trophy presentation, “who the real Blue and White is.”
The real Blue and White made history today, and we’re darn proud of it.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 01st, 2019 @ 10:45pm
As Kentucky wrapped up its postgame press conference, Josh Allen interrupted the moderator to make a public service announcement as he exited.
“I got something to say,” he told the room full of reporters. “I’m gonna leave you with this. Y’all record this.”
“If I don’t go No. 1, I don’t know who is.”
(Video via LEX18)
Allen tweeted it, too.
If I’m not #1 than I don’t know who is????? #GoCats
— Joshua Allen (@JoshAllen41_) January 1, 2019
After what he did in a game he didn’t even have to play in, it’s hard to argue against him as the top overall pick.
Vince Marrow agrees:
If @JoshAllen41_ is not the first pick of the draft I will be lost for words. He is by far the best player in college football hands down. Go Big Blue.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) January 1, 2019
Arizona Cardinals, don’t do something you’ll regret.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 01st, 2019 @ 9:52pm
In what has become a tradition after big wins, Mark Stoops called into the KSR Postgame Show to discuss his team’s 27-24 victory over Penn State. If you missed it, listen below as Stoops, Josh Allen, and Kash Daniel describe how much the Citrus Bowl win means to them and the program. Stoops even admits that this game was personal for him because of a certain coach on the other sideline.
The entire postgame show is available for download on the KSR Podcast Feed.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 01st, 2019 @ 9:30pm
MODERATOR: We are joined Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops and running back and game MVP Benny Snell, Jr. We’ll start with an opening statement from coach and then we’ll take questions.
MARK STOOPS: Sure. Just as I mentioned on the podium accepting the trophy, it was extremely important to this team, to all of us, to come home with some hardware, to come home with a trophy. This team, these seniors and, of course, Benny — you look at him as a senior because he’s been so steady for the three years he’s been here, and he’s been a big piece of it with those seniors. They’ve just done so much. It meant so much to this team and to this program that it was very important to finish and to collect the trophy and to win ten games and win a game on New Year’s Day and all those things.
Believe me, we had a great belief in our locker room. We didn’t have to do anything special, just be us. I was so proud of this team. We had so much fun, it ought to be illegal how much fun we had this week. We had a blast just being with each other and just spending time and enjoying it and taking it in. But then when it was time to go to meeting, time to go to practice, these guys were locked in, they were competitive. And you could do that with a mature group of guys that have been around for a while and we really went out and had energized practices and we were determined to get this victory, made it close there at the end.
Give Penn State credit. You knew they would fight. It’s a quality football team and well coached and you knew they would fight back.
I’m just proud of our team for doing the things necessary to close it out, and if you don’t have a physicality about you like that and you don’t have a guy like Benny, it’s hard to do because the whole stadium knew he was going to run the ball and grind out a first down or two to ice the game was critical. So very proud of the group and appreciate their effort.
Q. Mark, in Benny’s career, so many times he’s closed out games the way you did on that last drive. What was your confidence level going in at the end there and just how fitting was it to end there?
MARK STOOPS: Our confidence level was very high to run out that clock. I thought our offensive coaches did a great job — Coach Schlarman and Coach Gran — and got on the same page and gave Benny an opportunity to get started. So we had some unique sets there and make sure we were cutting off the edges because we knew they were crashing and pinching everybody down and, really, I didn’t see it. It was on the far side. The cutback you had might have popped out. We thought we were going to split one or two. Obviously, he got one for 7 or 8 yards or 9 yards, or whatever it was, but we had an opportunity to crease them there and we knew we could get Benny going give him a shot. So I credit the coaches and I credit Benny and the offensive line.
Q. What changed from the first half to the second half in your ability to really get going on the ground?
BENNY SNELL: Coming back and fixing from the plays — the three and outs that we didn’t get progress on. So, like, it was big for me going over to the O line and figuring out what the problem was, you know. I know towards the end of the second half, we knew that the ends, they were crushing down hard, especially when we were running the ball. And then when it was like 1st and 2nd down, they were sending blitzes to stop the run. So as long as we were figuring out where the blitzes were at and I was in communication with my line, in the second half we had everything down pat. Coach Gran knew what to run, and me and the line were on the same page, so that was big right there.
MARK STOOPS: I think it was the first run of the second half there when we got it to the second level, made him miss, hurdle the guy, and that kind of got some juice going. That really helped us.
Q. Mark, you’re sitting in between two great players right there. Tell us which one you’re going to miss more.
MARK STOOPS: They know I can’t say that. I’m going to miss them both. And, you know, really, all those guys — this morning, in the hotel pregame speech, I had to be really intentional with myself of not getting emotional because I didn’t want these guys to make fun of me if I cracked and started crying. I really mean that, because they mean that much to me and I just greatly appreciate them. We’ve had a lot of fun and we’ve worked extremely hard and come through a lot of things and persevered together and they mean the world to me.
By Hey Kentucky! on ©January 01st, 2019 @ 9:25pm
How much fun did the BBN have in Orlando? Ryan Lemond went around and interviewed fans yesterday, almost knocking a kid over in a chest bump you have to see to believe:
God Bless Ryan Lemond.