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The Leach Report


UK vs. Miami, OH

“If we played 10 games, they might nine but not…this…game.”

“No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around.”

“Life is this game of inches–and so is football….The inches we need are everywhere around us, in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch….I can’t make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. I think you’re gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you, you’re gonna see a guy that will sacrifice himself for this team….Either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys. That’s all it is. Now, what are you gonna do?”

So who should Mark Stoops channel in his pregame talk this Saturday? Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks in “Miracle? Clelcie Ross as Dan Devine in “Rudy”? Or maybe Al Pacino as the coach in “Any Given Sunday”?

Upsets happen every week. The first key for the Wildcats to have chance to deliver their own “shock-the-world” moment against Louisville is truly believing they are capable of doing. Ofcourse, the hard part is then to go and take what they want against a very talented rival who is not reading from a movie script.

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KEY STORYLINES/MATCHUPS

–UK secondary v. Bridgewater. Getting Cody Quinn back this week is a big plus, giving the Cats four cornerbacks to rotate against a top-notch receiver corps. None of the four has ever picked off a pass in a college game, so it’s goes without saying that Saturday would be a good day to end that drought.

–Start fast. Since 2000, Kentucky has beaten Louisville every time it held the lead after one quarter and lost every time it trailed the Cardinals. Over the last two seasons, UK has struggled to score early, managing only 38 first-quarter points all of last season. But last Saturday, the Cats set a school record with 24 points in the first quarter. Nobody expects a repeat of that against UofL but taking a lead into the second period would certainly bode well for the Cats’ chances.

–Run the ball effectively. There’s been some concern among Card fans about their team’s so-so rushing attack in the win over EKU. The team with the most rushing yards in this rivalry game has won 17 years in a row. For Kentucky to win that stat, the highly-touted UK front four needs to live up to its preseason hype.

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NUMBERS GAME

–Under Charlie Strong, only six opponents have managed to gain 400 or more yards (one of them was Kentucky in 2010) and the Cards are only 3-3 in those games, with the three wins coming by a combined margin of 16 points.

–Teddy Bridgewater is a bonafide Heisman Trophy candidate but his stats at least look more mortal when you can get him into a close game. Last season, in games decided by less than a touchdown, his completion percentage was 62 percent and he threw five of his eight interceptions for the year in those games. (His completion was above 75 percent in the other games).

–Two key stats for UK to win would be rushing yards and turnover margin. Last year, Louisville ran for 138 yards per game at home versus only 104/game on the road. And the Cards were plus-11 in turnovers in their home games but had an equal number of giveaways and takeaways in its games away from home.
(stats courtesy of cfbstats.com)

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“When I walk to class, I hear the fans talk about it all the time. They stop me everywhere I go and say ‘beat Louisville’. I heard about (the rivalry) but I never really paid attention to it until I signed here–then my Twitter started blowing up and I knew it was big.”–cornerback/junior college transfer Nate Willis, who grew up in Florida.

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THIS WEEK IN BIG BLUE HISTORY

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of Commonwealth Stadium, as Kentucky defeated Virginia Tech 31-26. The UK lineup that day featured a backfield full of players running new coach Fran Curci’s veer offense–quarterback Ernie Lewis (Elizabethtown HS) plus running backs Sonny Collins (Madisonville) and Steve Campassi (Franklin County HS). It’s also worth noting that Sunday’s anniversary of CWS’s opening is also the same day that “Stevie got loose” against Louisville in 2007, to lift the Cats to a 40-34 win (that night still gets my vote as the loudest I’ve ever heard the crowd in that stadium).

–listen to Tom each weekday morning at 9:06am eastern on “The Leach Report” radio network

–check out tomleachky.com for more of Tom’s coverage of the Cats and follow Tom on Twitter @tomleachky and via Facebook for “The Leach Report”

Article written by Tom Leach

18 responses to “The Leach Report”

  1. jpg

    The quote by Al Pacino from ‘Any Given Sunday’ gets me every time. Life is a game of inches!

  2. Mc

    UK is a few years away, but UL lost to UConn and Syracuse last season. It’s not like they’re some powerhouse team. They don’t play anybody so it’s hard to know if they’re legit or not. Anyone can win on a given day, but until you beat good teams consistently you are not a really good team.

  3. BravoBigBlue

    Great stuff, Tom. I hear you say it as I read it.

  4. Lisa

    Great post Tom. No one is giving our Cats a chance. But, that’s why you play the game. I hope Stoops and Co. have a few tricks up their sleeve and the Cats give all they have. That’s all we can ask for and let the chips fall where they may! Go Cats!

  5. BobCatBluff

    Okay, okay. Let’s say UK somehow pulls off this upset Saturday. Will UK then do the right thing and have the Governor’s Cup delivered to Bowling Green where it should rightfully reside at LT Smith Stadium for the next year?

  6. niaps

    Can the Cats beat the red turds, most certainly. Will they is a far bigger question. Bridgewater is a legit NFL type QB. His worst numbers are 62% means he is terrific at his worst. Give him time and he picks the secondary apart simple as that. Time that Z and Bud cannot let him have and they need to be in the UL backfield the whole game. The offense has to produce for 4 quarters not just 2 like last week. Finally the Cats need turnovers to win this match. I really believe we win the rushing war as the Cat backs are all good. Up to Max and Whit at QB to deliver and stay cool against a hard pass rush. All that being said it will still be a rough game to win. I will sat this if by the smallest chance Cats win I will say we will beat the gayturds the next week.

  7. Blue Koolaid

    I just don’t see all these advantages for the CATS that others are seeing. We had decent rushing against WKU because Jalen Whitlow scrambled for 85 yards on mostly broken plays. We had single runs of 33, 49, and 50 yards. That will not happen against faster UL and SEC schools.

    Everyone acts like we gave Lousivilel all they could handle last year and because they lost to UCONN (who sux) and Syracuse (who beat WVU in a bowl game) that Louisville is a mediocre team. The truth is last year UL was up 32-7 at the end of the 3rd quarter and played their 2nd team the rest of the game. I think they go for a TKO this year. They know they won’t be able to next year.

  8. Lisa

    #5, who will you get when Bobby heads for greener pastures? Enjoy it while you can.

  9. Fake Tom Leach

    I had lunch with Paul Rogers at Cheddar’s today. Every time I’m out with him in public, someone has to remind him “No Shirt, No Service”…

  10. BobCatBluff

    Lisa, we’ll get another Willy Taggart and we will continue to enjoy – get used to it.

  11. Lisa

    Yes, as you slip back into Sunbelt obscurity where you belong.

  12. BlueTexan

    Miracles do happen…October 13, 2007!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Bobcatbluff

    Have I been banned from commenting? I revel in your contempt.

  14. CliffFrankLou

    Remember being at that game. Back then, Virginia Tech was more commonly known as VPI. Curci had the benefit of Commonwealth Stadium being completed for his first game, but most thought John Ray would be the first UK coach in it. His tenure, however, was short. Some very good defensive players came out of the Ray era (Federspiel, Roller), but they just could not score enough points.

  15. Bobcatbluffs' Subconcious

    I pray we get another Taggart/Petrino! We have NOTHING else going for us except football, & even that isn’t much to brag about since we don’t win any major games. I mean yeah if you count being a 16 seed yearly in the Big Dance we can count basketball.

  16. gregyopp

    But, who scored the very first touchdown in Commonwealth Stadium?

  17. Ted

    .. I use the ” On any given Sunday,,” reference on almost anything,,Baseball, NASCAR,, life in general,,It is my “David and Goliath reference, and very fitting here.. With the right circumstances,,any team could win..

  18. Florida Cat

    If the Cats play with intensity without hesitation.I will take the score. Great Post Tom. Love the Pacino quote