All in all, a fairly difficult year in UK sports. A 2nd round loss in the NCAA Tournament followed by the departure of Tubby Smith. A football season that showed tons of promise but ultimately fell short. One of UK’s top basketball recruits transfers and a rough start to a new basketball era for the Cats. But, today was the best possible way to end a difficult year in UK Athletics: the basketball team’s best performance of the year leading into the football team’s 35-28 win over Florida State, the Cats first consecutive bowl wins in over 50 years. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of wins and it continued to feel like UK wanted to go to overtime with the Noles. But, a win is a win, and in the grand scheme of things thats all that will be remembered. A couple notes from the game:
(1) What a way to go out for Andre Woodson. A 358 yard, 4 TD performance that was as amazing as it was typical for Woodson over the past 2 seasons. Those 4 TD’s put him at the top of the UK career passing touchdowns list. It tough to decide where to rank Andre, but he has to be considered one of the greatest QB’s in UK history, if not the greatest. Outside of Babe Parrili, no one has accomplished more, and Woodson brought a team back from probation. It felt like the announcers were constantly picking on mechanical things and decision-making on Woodson, but he should be a first round pick, no questions asked. It may be a very long time before we see a guy improve and excell like Andre Woodson.
(2) It was great to see Keenan Burton on the field for the majority of the game after most of news leading up the game said he was doubtful. He, like Woodson, was so huge to the program that it would have been a terrible shame if he couldn’t play in his last game. It was a solid performance for Burton, 7 catches for 56 yards. But, as the announvers pointed out, he wasn’t able to run the deep routes effectively, which hampered him. Burton may not have the draft lock of Woodson, but he will be a help to some team in the near future for no other reason than his hard work and intelligence.
(3) Nearly all the seniors that have been so important these last 2 or 3 years made an impact in the game. Rafael Little had over 200 yards total offense, Steve Johnson had 127 yards recieving and 2 touchdowns, Jacob Tamme had a touchdown catch, and Wesley Woodyard had 15 tackles. This is without question in my mind, the greatest class of seniors in UK history, not only for their on the field achievments but for their off the field actions and leadership.
(4) As of right now, next year’s team will definatly ride the defense to victory. Trevard Lindley is a shut down corner the Cats have not had for many years, a potential All-American. Micah Johnson has begun to show flashes of greatness, and Jeremy Jarmon continues to shine. I can’t remember the last time the UK defense will be the better unit, but next year it seems it will be that way.
I speak for everyone at KSR in wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year. It’s time to look foward to SEC play in basketball, and after today’s game, the excitement should be close to back in the program. Get pumped for UL coming into Rupp Saturday. The Cats go for 4 in a row.