Kentucky is poised to be a heavy favorite Saturday vs. Eastern Kentucky, but the Cats should keep in mind that two years ago, they came very, very close to losing to the Colonels.
In case you’ve blocked it from your memory, Kentucky was down two touchdowns with seven minutes left and had to rally to take the game to overtime. The Cats went on to win 34-27, but had things gone differently, it would have been one of the worst defeats in program history. In order to keep ourselves hungry and humble, let’s take a look back at what happened on that early October night.
Dorian Baker was the hero
Kentucky’s comeback rested squarely on the shoulders of Baker, who hauled in a difficult fourth-down catch to tie the game with 52 seconds left in regulation and caught the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
Without Baker, Kentucky would have lost the game. Performances like that show you just how talented he is when he puts his mind to it.
Boom Williams was out
This game took place in the middle of Boom Williams’ “personal issues,” aka the time in which he considered quitting the team. His absence was felt. JoJo Kemp did his best to fill the void, but without Boom, Kentucky netted only 55 yards rushing. It got especially awkward when the SEC Network wouldn’t stop panning to Boom on the sideline in sweatpants.
EKU rushed for 180 yards
Remember when it seemed like Kentucky missed more tackles than they made? This game was a perfect example. While the offense rushed for only 55 yards, the defense allowed the Colonels — an FCS opponent — to rack up 180 yards on the ground, an infuriating stat made even more so by the number of missed tackles. Cory Johnson kept the Cats in it defensively, making 19 tackles and looking like the only player capable of putting any pressure on the quarterback. Thank you, CJ.
It was a tale of two halves for Patrick Towles
In the first half, Patrick went 10-19 for 121 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. Woof. Fortunately, he got it together in the second, throwing for 222 yards and three touchdowns, but that first half had many calling for Drew Barker, to the point that Stoops admitted he considered playing him. With the Drew Barker contingent grumbling once again after an average performance from Stephen Johnson vs. Southern Miss, let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself.
Kentucky completely underestimated EKU
This game was full of emotion for many reasons. Not only did you have the lingering drama from the incident involving Drew Barker and EKU’s Patrick Graffree and Colton Givens earlier in the year, EKU’s Joe Kraemer was killed in a car accident the previous week in Richmond, leading the Colonels to an inspired effort. In the first half, EKU just wanted it more. Combine that with immaturity and lack of discipline on Kentucky’s part and the Cats got a very serious wake-up call. Thanks to Dorian Baker, they survived, but on Saturday, the Cats would do well to remember what happens when you overlook an opponent.