Hubby with his favorite “stamped” UL fan that provided the Kentucky Sports Radio crew entertainment on a day that the Cards felt the Cats’ wrath
I have returned sunburned and baked on a great day to be a Cat fan in Louisville. During what may have been the hottest 2 hour stretch that I can remember, the Kentucky Sports Radio crew filed into Papa Johns Stadium for the first time in two years and watched the Cats pour a 27-2 beating on the Cards that not only provided a great win, but a score that can be used to taunt Cardinal fans for years on end. The Cats did not play great, but they did enough to win and showed that their defense, which we all knew would be good, has the chance to be great as the year develops. And as for the Cards, well…..it aint pretty.
Think about what a difference two years has made. Two years ago, I walked into Papa Johns and thought that we had lost the state forever in football. The Cards’ stadium was loud, proud and trememdously “crunk.” The Turkey Hunter and I watched as Louisville put on a NFL-level show, complete with music that made people dance and an atmosphere that suggested a Vegas light show. Throw in the fact that the football team was clicking and they put a beat-down on a good UK team and it looked like UL owned the world…..but fast forward to now. The stadium was a morgue…..the good music gone, the excitement drained and the team on the field, pathetic in nearly every way. Hunter “Cant Throw Well” was not exactly an NFL first rounder without Bush, Smith, Douglas, Urrutia, etc and instead looked like a rec league player with 8th grade wide receivers. The Cards continued their Kragthorpe-trademarked mental errors, including a DEADLY 12 men on the field penalty that sustained a crucial drive. The team that looked like a possible juggernaut now is a floating corpse and the program is gone from the national consciousness for the forseeable future.
But what about our Cats. Today was a GREAT win that sets the season up for a potential third straight bowl. Ten thoughts from the day:
(1): You really cant say enough about this defense. The unit scored two touchdowns and set up a third, all the while showing an ability to fly to the ball and rarely leave open a player anywhere on the field. When was the last time you saw a UK defense that looked quicker and more athletic than a BCS offense? Well get ready, because this unit does.
(2): Along those lines, the new star of UK football is Myron Pryor. At the beginning of the season, Chip Cosby and I were talking on the radio and he said that Pryor was the key to the season. Picking up on that theme, we spoke about the fact that with Jarmon facing double teams, Pryor has the ability to be the key defender making plays. Today that included a forced fumble returned by Cobb for a touchdown and a rumblin, bumblin, stumblin run for his own fumble TD. A star is born.
(3): The offense struggled for much of the game. The running game never really developed and I think the offensive line play was fairly poor. The WRs dropped some easy passes and the ability to run up the middle was rarely seen. BUT, they didnt turn the ball over and were able to make key plays when it was important. With a potentially great defense, that may be all that is necessary.
(4): Mixed day for Micheal Hartline. Aside from the safety (which was awful), he played within himself and didnt make bad decisions that could have killed the team today. He generally made the smart call and didnt try to force throws where they werent there. But he missed some open guys and made a couple of mental errors (the play clock violation hurt). Still a good performance to build on and now he has three weeks to get his bearings.
(5): BIG ups to the kicking team. At the end of the day, the yardage between the two teams was the same, but UK had great field position, in large part due to some great punting by Tim Masthay. And much credit goes to Tydlacka who kicked a 79 yard boot after the safety, negating a potential momentum-changer through bad field position. The Cats won the turf war, in large part because of kicking.
(6): How exciting is Randall Cobb? Whether at WR or QB, you just know, you just KNOW that he is going to be special….you see it every time he gets the ball. What a guy to look forward to for the Cats.
(7): The UK linebacking corp is just nasty. They are explosive all over the field and made big hit after big hit. They are the rock of the defense and are never in the wrong position. You hate to say they dont miss a guy like Wesley Woodyard….but they didnt show a lot of loss today.
(8): The game was hideously boring until the fourth quarter. Watching Louisville on offense is like watching an Al Gore speech….slow and with no forward movement. Energy existed in the UK section because the Cats led, but it was self-created. Hubby showed the effect of the game in the third quarter, as the Turkey Hunter pointed to him:
(9): I want to reiterate what how bad the atmosphere around Louisville has gotten. That said, except for the band (which was still dreadful), the Cat fans brought it today. They stayed on their feet throughout and provided a great visiting energy. We met a ton of KSR fans throughout the day (including Beisner spotting a crowd after the final horn chanting “Kragthorpe how’s my a— taste” to Louisville fans) and everyone was nice and excited. I love days like this and it was great all the way around.
(10): Now the Cats are playing with house money. Three easier games over the next few weeks….a chance to get some movement on offense….and the ability to be favored in five games necessary to win a bowl. Add to that South Carolina’s poor performance and Mississippi State’s egg laid at Louisiana Tech, and now another really good season seems possible. You gotta love it.
Just a great day all the way around. Fun in the sun and the Louisville fans up in arms….what gets better? More throughout this Labor Day as we bring you the aftermath of all that is good….stay tuned and find a Louisville fan to remind who owns the state…..