Yesterday, I wrapped up another mega UK sports weekend by spending the afternoon at Rupp →
By Drew Franklin on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 11:43pm
Well would you look at that.
Kentucky jumped Tennessee in the standings with Saturday night’s win over Mississippi State and the Cats now have a winning record in the conference for the first time in, like, a million years.
With a very difficult road ahead for Florida, it’s not crazy to say Kentucky is in contention in the East. Of course, there’s still a lot of football to be played, but second place is second place.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 11:41pm
To say tonight’s game was stressful is the understatement of the season, so as you might expect, the scene inside the winning locker room was WILD. Thanks to @UKStoopsTroops, we have a behind-the-scenes view of the celebrations:
It's A Party! It's A Party! pic.twitter.com/hoTIAJFBha
— UK Stoops Troops (@UKStoopsTroops) October 23, 2016
It’s a party, it’s a party, it’s a party!
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 11:32pm
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 11:29pm
Unbelievable. I don’t even know what to say about that game. Kentucky beat Mississippi State on a 51-yard Austin MacGinnis field goal with three seconds left, but a few minutes later, I’m not sure if I actually believe it. In a roller coaster season, no game has seen more highs or lows than tonight’s, but in the end, the Cats got the win, and thank god, because if it had gone the other way…well, let’s just not worry about it.
As far as stats go, Benny Snell led the ground game with 19 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown, followed by Boom Williams with 14 carries for 99 yards. Stephen Johnson was 17-33 for 292 yards, two touchdowns, and one fumble that could have haunted this team for a long time had the game gone in the other direction. Thankfully, it didn’t. Jeff Badet was a star, with 7 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns, pushing him over the 1,000 receiving yard mark for his career.
That’s great and all, but I think we can all agree that Austin MacGinnis is the hero…even if he missed a field goal to start the game. This was the one that matters, though:
MacGinnis for the WINNNNNNNNN!!! pic.twitter.com/l8ZKDV0WxU
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 23, 2016
From the field:
UK kicker Austin MacGinnis makes a 51 yard FG to help the Cats beat Mississippi St. pic.twitter.com/CQmftWdrjP
— Keith Farmer (@KeithFarmer18) October 23, 2016
And the stands:
What a finish!! Austin MacGinnis with the last-second field goal to give Kentucky the 40-38 win over Mississippi State! pic.twitter.com/Bm73YI5Ij6
— Jennifer Palumbo (@JenNimePalumbo) October 23, 2016
The UK coaching staff up in the box was so excited they ran out of the press box screaming, “LET’S GO” and cheering at the top of their lungs. What a moment.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 9:11pm
Here’s your somewhat depressing first half box score, along with a quick injury update. Unfortunately, a lot of injuries to list:
- JoJo Kemp (hand/wrist): Returned in cast
- Landon Young (ankle): Went to locker room for X-rays, has not returned to the game
- Naquez Pringle (right arm)
- Jordan Bonner (knee): Being held out indefinitely
Because that’s a bummer, here’s a “NO NO NO YES” moment from Stephen Johnson to Ryan Timmons:
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 23, 2016
By Nick Roush on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 6:45pm
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 5:30pm
Another week, another make-or-break game for Kentucky’s season. At 7:30 PM, the Cats take on the Dawgs of Mississippi State, a game UK has to win if they want a shot at a bowl this season. Mississippi State is 2-4 heading into this week, with notable losses coming from South Alabama and BYU, and they barely managed to beat UMASS on the road, winning 47-35. The start to the post-Prescott era has been tough, to say the least.
Despite lack of early success, Dan Mullen is undefeated against Kentucky, winning seven consecutive games dating back to 2009. With the help of great coaching and impressive depth, MSU has had Kentucky’s number in the Stoops era, there’s no denying it. That being said, Dak Prescott isn’t walking through that door anytime soon, and UK has a legitimate shot to knock Mullen and the Bulldogs off in Commonwealth Stadium.
Here’s a few things the Wildcats have to do to come out victorious and keep bowl hopes alive:
Continue to pound the rock on the ground
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” UK’s dominant running game has easily been the major head-turner this season, as no one expected this kind of success in that department to start the year. The emergence of Benny Snell, combined with Boom Williams’ ability as a human highlight-reel and Jojo Kemp’s success in the WildKemp has been superb, and the coaching staff must continue to feed this hungry backfield. Mississippi State only gives up 132 yards on the ground per game, but as we saw against Vandy, UK can run on some pretty tough defenses. If the Wildcats keep pounding it and running it down the defense’s throats, the Bulldogs will almost certainly become the next victim of UK’s rushing attack.
Establish some kind of passing game
Stephen Johnson does not have to be great. He doesn’t even have to be that good. That being said, he has to be able to move the chains and make the easy throws and catches for Kentucky to have any major success for the remainder of the year. There were far too many times against Vanderbilt that he’d have his man wide open, and just absolutely misfire. Opposing defenses will immediately hone in on UK’s run-game by stacking the box and bringing the house, and a one-dimensional offense will quickly turn into zero offensive success at all. Use short throws up the middle to CJ Conrad, quick slants to guys like Jeff Badet and “Juice” Johnson, or (never thought we’d be saying this) bubble screens to the outside. Whatever you have to do, just get the ball in the receivers’ hands to let them make a play. When Johnson starts getting a few completions and gains a bit of confidence back, I think the offense will open back up and success will come. Let’s just hope that happens tonight.
Contain Nick Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald rushes for over 70 yards a game for MSU, placing him comfortably in the top five nationally among rushing quarterbacks. He’s going to make some impressive plays on his feet, but UK cannot allow him to break away on any home run balls. If Kentucky can force him to throw the ball, the Wildcat secondary can do a good bit of the dirty work and limit the Mississippi State offense. You contain Fitzgerald, your chances to win the game go up exponentially.
Win the turnover battle
Two weeks ago against Vanderbilt, Kentucky held a comfortable 17-3 lead in the third quarter until Boom Williams coughed up a crucial fumble for a scoop-and-score for the Commodores. A two-score game with UK firmly in control was suddenly cut to one, and this major momentum shift allowed the game to be much closer than it should’ve been. Though Stephen Johnson was only credited with one pick on the afternoon, he had five or six other balls that absolutely should have been picked off, and mistakes like these just cannot happen tonight against Mississippi State. The margin for error is incredibly thin tonight, and if UK wants to pull off the win, fundamental mistakes must disappear. The ball has to stay off the turf and out of the opponent’s hands.
If UK wins tonight, four of the last five games are victories for the Wildcats and there’s a whole lot of momentum heading into next week in Columbia, Missouri. Confidence would be through the roof, and bowl hopes are as alive and well as ever.
If UK loses, that same momentum comes to a screeching halt, and bowl hopes are in major question.
Let’s not go with scenario two. Kentucky wins 28-24.
By Nick Roush on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 4:45pm
1. Contain Nick Fitzgerald
The dual-threat quarterback accounts for 60% of the Bulldogs’ offense, averaging 238 yards of offense per game. Kentucky has been better against running quarterbacks, but none of them have been as big as Fitzgerald. Not the most proficient passer in the pocket, they must force the 6’6″ 230-pounder into obvious passing situations. If State gets 3-4 yards on every first down, UK is in trouble. If they force State into 3rd and long, I like UK’s chances against a team that only converts 33% of their third downs and a quarterback that only completes 55% of his passes.
2. Physical in the Trenches
Mississippi State has built a brand of physical football in the trenches, but this year Kentucky could beat them at their own game. By sticking to the same gameplan — start by running Boom in space to fatigue the D, then use Benny Snell to pound the game away — and employing a two-deep rotation on the offensive line, Kentucky should own the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter. It won’t always be pretty, and it will probably be close, but Kentucky can win simply by overpowering State.
3. Take Care of the Football
Stephen Johnson probably needs to hit at least one or two homerun shots. Even if he doesn’t connect on any deep balls, Kentucky can win with a powerful rushing attack if they take care of the ball. They can’t give the defense an easy scoop and score, they can’t turn it over deep in Mississippi State territory, and Johnson can’t get stripped. Sacks suck, but they aren’t as bad as turnovers.
By Nick Roush on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 4:00pm
Karl Towns may have lost the Final Four battle to Frank Kaminsky, but he’s not going to let Frank the Tank win the war. Last night Towns had 15 points and 9 rebounds in only 15 minutes of play, abusing Kaminsky in the process. He started by going coast-to-coast.
Then he hit him with a floating AND 1. Kaminsky could not believe what just happened.
If only this put-back dunk was on Kaminsky.
By Nick Roush on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 3:25pm
We are just minutes away from the KSR Pregame Show. We got the whole gang is back together, coming to you LIVE from the Bluegrass RV Lot. There’s no better way to prepare for UK-Miss. State. All you have to do is turn your radio dial to 630 WLAP or LISTEN HERE.
By Nick Roush on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 3:00pm
Replacing Oscar Combs is no small task, a position only fit for a King. Luckily, JMI Sports found one.
After Oscar Combs spent more than 20 years providing pregame coverage of the Cats for the UK Radio Network, KSR has learned that he will be replaced by Rex Chapman. King Rex was a Kentucky Mr. Basketball in 1986 and an All-American for UK in 1988 before being drafted 8th overall by the Charlotte Hornets. After a 12-year career in the league, Rex is returning home.
Adding Chapman to the UK pregame lineup is a fantastic move. He will be great on the air, but can he still do this?
By Nick Roush on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 2:30pm
Today the University of Kentucky will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the 1976 Peach Bowl Championship. Fran Curci’s Cats blanked North Carolina 21-0, UK’s first bowl victory since Bear Bryant was on the sidelines for Kentucky’s 1952 Cotton Bowl.
The ’76 roster was loaded with names that will live forever in Wildcat lore — All-Americans Warren Bryant, Art Still and Derrick Ramsey. However, the heroes of the game were a few guys you may not have heard of before: linebacker Jim Kovach, linebacker Mike Martin and fullback Rod Stewart (not the singer).
The defense created havoc, holding North Carolina to only 108 yards of total offense. Rod Stewart spearheaded Kentucky’s rushing attack out of the wishbone, pounding out 104 yards on 19 carries and all three Wildcat touchdowns. Stewart’s three touchdowns are still tied for the most ever in a Peach Bowl.
Those highlights were great, but they don’t capture 70’s nostalgia quite like the video below.
By Eli Mitchell on ©October 22nd, 2016 @ 2:00pm
KSR Preps Game of the Week
Lexington Christian Academy 42 Danville 4o
Danville took full control of this game early, scoring on a 2 yard rush by Don Harris on just the second play from scrimmage. Danville’s Jaleel Warren intercepted an LCA pass attempt and caught a touchdown pass from Dampier on the following play to give Danville its largest lead of the night 26-7.
Behind their workhorse Dillion Wheatley the Eagles went on to score 29 unanswered to take a 10 point lead with just under 5 minutes remaining. Danville scored a quick touchdown to pull within just 3 points with 4 minutes remaining and all 3 timeouts available.
Danville attempted an onside kick but was unsuccessful. Wheatley broke free on a 27 yard run touchdown run to seal a district championship for LCA. The junior running back could not be stopped in the second half, he finished the night with 249 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Brayden Miller played well under center for the Eagles completing 10 passes for 174 yards and 1 touchdown. Drayden Burton and Ryan Stucky lead LCA in receiving, with each eclipsing the 100 yard mark.
The Eagles out gained Danville 501-390 in total yards from scrimmage last night, especially on the ground where LCA produced 244 yards compared to just 80 for the Ads.
Friday night’s comeback win was LCA’s first victory over Danville in five years. LCA has secured home field in the playoffs until at least the third round.
Other Notable Scores
Scott County 73 Paul Laurence Dunbar 13
Brice Fryman ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns on just 6 carries in Scott County’s blowout win. Co0per Robb had back to back pick sixes for the Cardinals.
Paintsville 27 Raceland 21 OT
Kent Phelps ran for 159 yards and 3 touchdowns to keep Paintsville’s undefeated season in tact. These two teams will likely meet again in the playoffs.
Male 27 Manual 14
Behind TJ Thomas’s three touchdown passes Male was able to hang on against longtime rival Dupont Manual. Thomas completed 22 of 31 passes for 330 yards with 175 of those yards going to star reciever B.K. Smith.