If’s been three years since the Governor’s Cup became the season finale and for the first time the outcome will not determine Kentucky’s bowl eligibility. There’s less pressure, but that doesn’t mean the Cats aren’t hungry for a victory.
Louisville enters the game with two extra days of rest, but that’s following an awful loss on the road at Houston. Without the playoff in the picture, does it help or hurt UK? We won’t know until kickoff.
The early start time should play into Kentucky’s hands. Expected to be about 50 degrees, I won’t mind the cold, but their fans will. A fan base that rarely shows up on time for noon kickoffs, the cold will keep them near their tailgates longer than normal. Even though they have the Heisman Trophy frontrunner, some things are leaning Kentucky’s way. Here’s how it’s all going down…
1. The Rundown
- 9:00 — The KSR Pregame Show Begins on 630 WLAP (LISTEN HERE)
- 9:45 — The Cat Walk begins outside of Gate 1E at Papa John’s Stadium
- 10:00 — Freddie Maggard and Christi Thomas take over the Countdown to Kickoff
- 12:00 — Kickoff on ESPN with Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham and Dr. Jerry Punch
2. Ending a Drought
It’s been five years since Kentucky took home the Governor’s Cup trophy, the longest streak in the series. To put that in perspective, the last time Kentucky beat UofL Charlie Strong was in his first year as head coach.
Without many recent highlights to share, I’ll just recall the time Stevie Got Loose.
3. Lamar and Lamar
Louisville’s (future) Heisman Trophy Winner wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for a Kentucky coach. Lamar Thomas was Lamar Jackson’s primary recruiter out of high school. The former Louisville assistant said earlier this week their reunion will be “a little emotional” before kickoff.
“He’s just one of those kids that a competitor,” Thomas said. “I definitely envisioned everything that’s happening for that young man. We had long conversations about how great he could be and it’s coming true for him and I’m very happy for him and his family.”
4. A Sibling Rivalry
Josh Allen’s biggest fan will be in the stands today rocking Kentucky blue. Normally scoring buckets for the Louisville women’s basketball team, Myisha Hines-Allen makes an exception when she watches her brother play. Kentucky’s leading sacker takes credit for his sister’s success, the 2016 ACC Player of the Year.
“I’m the one that taught her how to play,” he said proudly, throwing his head and shoulders back grinning widely. “Taught her how to be a good post player, gave her little elbows and stuff to help her along.”
Even through the phone, her eye roll was evident.
“That sounds like something he’d say, but he’s NOT the reason,” she laughed.
“Don’t tell him I said this – but I guess he’ll probably read it – he’s not that good at basketball. He’s just big. He wasn’t that big of a challenge playing and helping me get better.”
The success shared between the two is astounding, but their relationship is what’s most charming. Jen Smith’s fantastic story about the two is a must-read. [Herald-Leader]
5. Important Injuries for Louisville
After a tough week at Tennessee, Kentucky is relatively healthy heading into the Louisville game. That’s not the case for Louisville. Their star safety Josh Harvey-Clemons has missed the last two games, leaving the back of their defense vulnerable. Outside linebacker James Hearns left last week’s game at Houston, but I’d be shocked if he missed today’s game. I believe there’s more, but Bobby Petrino is even more tight-lipped about injuries than Stoops.
6. UT-Martin Didn’t Stand a Chance
Six Wildcats scored in double figures helping Kentucky break the single-game scoring record in the Calipari era with 111 points over the SkyHawks. Nobody was better than Malik Monk. He used a few freakish fast break dunks to get going in the second half, spawning an outstanding streak to blow away UT-Martin. Monk finished with a career-high 26 points. Watch the best of them below.
7. Louisville Lost
The Cards were up 22 points in Atlantis and still found a way to lose to Baylor. Hopefully their football team was taking notes.
8. The State Championships are Set
There were plenty of wild games that Eli Mitchell will recap later, but the one that hits home the most is Belfry’s victory over Corbin. At the start of this week, Derek Terry told me to “write it down,” his Redhounds were going to shock the world. They took a 17-0 lead with only a few minutes left in the first half, then Belfry scored 42-straight. Keep your head up, Mr. Terry.
Trinity 24, St. Xavier 14
Lafayette 48, Scott County 47
Bowling Green at Fern Creek
Pulaski County 62, South Oldham 55
Franklin-Simpson 27, John Hardin 7
Johnson Central 51, Wayne County 0
Central 21, Etown 14
Belfry 42, Corbin 17
Christian Academy of Louisville 48, Mayfield 24
Danville 42, Covington Holy Cross 35
Beechwood 35, Russellville 0
Hazard 20, Paintsville 7
9. Cincinnati’s Trick Play was Fantastic
It was a double pass with a twist.
10. Rivalry Weekend Scoreboard