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Kentucky Loves Being the Underdog


Keep picking against Kentucky, please.

After Kentucky’s 23-13 win at South Carolina, Vince Marrow slammed open the door to the media room to share a message: “Thank y’all for picking against us. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

Entering today’s game, South Carolina was the sweetheart of the SEC.  Kentucky was also 2-0, but did not receive the same amount of respect.

“Quite honestly, we were tired of it.  What, like we didn’t get better?  We aren’t a better football team?” Mark Stoops added, “Keep on being negative.”

Coaches and players will publicly say they don’t hear the naysayers, but Stephen Johnson said it’s impossible to avoid.

“Everybody pretty much watches College Gameday, so when you have seven people rooting against you and you’ve got one guy pick you, that’s just motivation for us.”

Garrett “Juice” Johnson feels free as the underdog.  “You don’t have nothing to lose.  You’re just going out there and laying it all on the line.”

Kentucky felt under-appreciated and disrespected entering the game.  When South Carolina didn’t shake hands before the game, it added fuel to Kentucky’s fire.

“It seemed like everybody has us being underdogs.  It just gives us extra motivation,” Johnson said.  “They didn’t shake our hands, which gave us even more motivation, which was pretty stupid on their part.”

Mark Stoops’ Kentucky teams are at their best when everyone is doubting them.  No matter how much adversity they face, they never flinch and always respond.  They’re at their strongest when their backs are against the wall.

“The strength of our team is the team.  I told you guys since day one that they had a winning mentality and a winning work ethic.  You see it now,” Stoops said.  “Everyone wants to panic because you’ve got to look pretty all the time.  Winning is what matters.  We have an edge, an attitude about us; we like it that way.  I’m just proud of the team.  You take a shot right to the chin, you start to gain, the place is going wild and we embraced it.  We took the shot and went right back to work.  That doesn’t even faze us.  That’s what I love about this team.”

They may eventually win out of the underdog role, but they’ll continue to find ways to play with an edge, and edge the sets them apart from the rest.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

16 responses to “Kentucky Loves Being the Underdog”

  1. EdC

    That’s convenient considering the history of UK football, at least within my lifetime.

    1. 4everUKblue

      You and AG must be roomies!

    2. EdC

      Show me how the win/loss record says anything different.

    3. Eazy

      4 straight against SC. We were the underdog in all but 1 of those. 27 point underdog at Louisville last year and won. We have been a solid bet as an underdog the last couple seasons at least. I went 7-0 yesterday by the way!

    4. MyFriendsBrotherInLawKnowsMattJones

      The record showed 3 straight victories against the Cocks. Now the record shows 4 straight. You can google it.

    5. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      I think we’re 3-0 this year.

  2. Rembrandt

    Stoops and his staff are winning. They have won ten out of our last thirteen games. They recruit well, and recruiting is probably about to get even better. At what point can we stop hearing about the history of UK football in a negative context? History is being rewritten.

    1. Eazy

      Right on!

    2. KYcats11

      Damn, I guess jdidn’t realize it, 10 out of the last 13, Wow.

  3. Isaac in Louisville

    I love the way this team plays with a chip on their collective shoulder. You could tell after the first 4 minutes that they weren’t rattled. SC’s sellout crowd wasn’t a factor. They believe in each other and they are more talented at the skill positions than any team we’ve had since Cobb was here. Now if only we could keep our O Line healthy…

  4. bigbluejon

    4 years in a row! THAT is so Kentucky Football!

  5. KYcats11

    Wonder what Zion thinks of that silent crowd?

    1. Reuben Cuban

      Exactly!

  6. KYChris

    Like Rembrandt said, we have to stop referring to Kentucky football past. We have a different coach, a different scheme and different players. Freddie said it would take 4-5 years for Stoops to build something and he has.
    I for one absolutely love the fight of this team. They don’t play pretty football, they play winning football. They contained the run on defense, wore SC’s defense out and by the end of the game, when Bentley was hurried, the secondary closed it out.
    Keep doing what you’re doing Cats and beat Florida so we can finally close the coffin on this history talk.

    1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      Yes!

  7. jaws2

    You know who plays ugly football? Alabama. It seems to work for them and I don’t hear anyone complaining.