This picture comes from the great collection of photos by Clay Jackson, the best on the internet….
On one level, yesterday was one of the greatest in the long history of college football in Lexington. With College Gameday in town, the pregame atmosphere was absolutely electric. While I have heard no official estimate as to the amount of people at Gameday, the area in front of the library at UK was completely packed as the UK football fans made a good showing for themselves to the national scene. Because the show finished at noon, that meant that the tailgate area was packed leading up to the game as their looked to be more people roaming around Commonwealth than for any game I can remember in its history. Add to that the perfect weather, the large number of football recruits brought in for the game and the national television audience, and there was a lot to get excited about on Saturday.
Ultimately however, even with that buildup the game left Old Man Brooks and many of the fans frustrated for what might have been. From my perspective, the game was essentially lost on Kentucky’s three first half drives, all of which got inside the 30 and which in total got 3 points.. After getting an opening drive stop against the Gators and then scoring on its first possession, Kentucky was in possession to take over the game and go into halftime with the lead and first possession in the second half. But the scheme of the game changed when Kentucky found its offense clogged up in the red and maroon zone on its second thru fourth drives. Offensive line protection broke down…..Andre Woodson was sacked on multiple occasions….and at least two wide open receivers in the end zone were missed due to poor communication. To beat a team like Florida, a team that is desperate for a win in order to stay in the SEC race…..you simply cant have those errors.
Also very difficult to watch was Kentucky’s relative inability to stop Tim Tebow at much of anything. For the past two seasons, teams with running quarterbacks have caused Kentucky fits and tim Tebow may be the best we have seen in some time. Time after time when Kentucky needed a third down stop, Tebow would either scramble for a first down or make a perfect pass in order to move the chains. Had Kentucky been more efficient in the first half, its inability to get the big stop in the first half wouldnt have been so crucial and Tebow and company may have felt their own pressure to come up with a big score. But the hole dug in the first half could not be overcome and Tebow was pretty sensational throughout the game.
All is not lost for the Cats. They have a chance to win their last four and still be a factor in the SEC East race. If Kentucky can win out, then the Cats simply have to hope that the winner of the Florida-South Carolina game, finds a way to lose one of its other games before the season ends. If that happens, the Cats can still find their way to Atlanta. So all is not lost…..most importantly however, the Cats have a “better than you think” Mississippi State team coming to town next week. There is no time for a letdown…..we dont want to be Louisville for goodness sake. Old Man Brooks will certainly have the team understanding the importance of next week…..heres hoping that the fans show up in totality even close to what we saw on Saturday….for win or loss, the pre-game surroundings on Saturday were major college football worthy.
Finally, I appreciate those of you who came up and expressed your concern to me on Saturday. As Shawn hinted at earlier in the week and discussed a bit on the radio, I spent the early part of the week in the hospital after a seizure and have been in an immense amount of pain throughout the week. I went to Gameday on Saturday, but had to leave the actual game at halftime due to Commonwealth’s lack of seats with backs. I appreciate all of you at Gameday and the tailgate who expressed your concern….it will probably be another few days before I am back to the radio show or regular posting duties here but Rob, Shawn and the others will continue to hold down the fort.