Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.


Football Season Coverage

Lynn Bowden Named Manning Award Quarterback of the Week

The honors have poured in for Lynn Bowden all week. Even though the Georgia game is only two days away, another award has fallen into his lap.

Bowden won the honor of Manning Award Quarterback of the Week after the wide receiver completed 7-of-11 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown along with 24 carries for 196 yards on the ground including two touchdowns. His 51-yard run on the final drive secured Kentucky’s first SEC victory of the season and snapped a three-game losing streak.

What makes this award feel better than most? He secured just enough online votes to beat out Louisville quarterback Evan Conley. Click here to see the full release.

Jordan Jones, Farrington Huguenin selected in XFL Draft

Two more former Wildcats will be joining the latest professional football league. Jordan Jones and Farrington Huguenin have been selected in Wednesday’s round of the XFL Draft.

Jones, who participated in the 2019 NFL Combine but ultimately went undrafted, was selected by the DC Defenders. The Defenders also picked up former Cat Jon Toth.

Huguenin, who played for Kentucky during Mark Stoops’ first three years with the Wildcats, went to the St. Louis BattleHawks. The defensive end originally went undrafted in 2016 before bouncing around through various NFL practice squads. He was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month.

Jones and Huguenin join former UK kicker Austin MacGinnis in the fifth and final round of the inagural XFL Draft, while Toth and Jeff Badet were selected during earlier rounds Tuesday.

The XFL league has announced its season will begin Feb. 8, the weekend after the NFL season ends with the Super Bowl.

Josh Paschal nominated for Orange Bowl FWAA Courage Award

Kentucky’s Josh Paschal is the latest nomination for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl FWAA Courage Award. One player from across college football earns a nomination each week, and a committee of writers from the FWAA will vote on the winner at the end of the season.

The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship. The Wildcat linebacker was nominated following last year’s diagnosis with an aggressive form of skin cancer -malignant melanoma – on the bottom of his foot. He underwent three surgeries before beginning immunotherapy and taking medications.

Now, he’s a redshirt sophomore who has started in all six of Kentucky’s games this season. He is currently UK’s co-leader in tackles for loss (five), along with one sack, one fumble recovery, one pass breakup and 19 total tackles. Paschal also recorded one stop for a loss in Saturday’s 24-20 win over Arkansas.

We won’t know if Paschal is a winner until the end of the season. The overall winner of the Courage Award will be included in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and will receive his trophy during an on-field presentation. Best of luck to Josh Paschal!

Kirby Smart says Kentucky’s QB situation hinders preparation

(Photo: © Bryan Lynn | USA TODAY Sports)

Kirby Smart met with the media down in Athens Tuesday afternoon, and he provided some insight into Georgia’s preparation for their matchup with Kentucky this Saturday. UK’s questionable quarterback situation creates a week of “tough prep” for the Bulldogs, according to their head coach.

“We don’t know what the quarterback situation is really going to be. They could use both of them, and they have a third component – which is the wildcat component – so there’s really three things there.”

Smart went on to describe the Wildcats as a “good, physical football team” with a defense that is “really big up front.”

The Bulldogs’ coach certainly has a point about Kentucky’s quarterback situation. Although Eddie Gran, who also met with reporters Tuesday, said both UK quarterbacks are available and practicing at “full speed,” Georgia still has to spend time preparing for both Sawyer Smith and Lynn Bowden. That means extra time is required of their coaches in the film room, as well as extra time spent by the team’s defense preparing for two different styles of play.

Bowden’s particular style of play has impressed Smart, who compared the Wildcat quarterback/wide receiver/punt returner to a great NFL player and, conveniently, a former Bulldog: Hines Ward. The Steelers selected Ward in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft, and he went on to become the team’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yardage and touchdown receptions. Ward was voted MVP of Super Bowl XL. At the time of his retirement, he was one of 11 NFL players to have at least 1,000 career receptions.

As for Smart, he sees streaks of Ward in Bowden’s athleticism and ability to create plays.

“It reminds me of Hines Ward… You forget the guy back there is always open,” Smart said. “Probably the most dangerous plays [Bowden] has as a football player are when he has the ball in space. Every play at quarterback is that. He’s sitting there with seven lanes in front of him where he can take off and run.”

Bowden’s ability to make such a play in critical moments for the Wildcats also stands out, according to Coach Smart.

“Some of [Bowden’s] most explosive plays the other night [against Arkansas] were third downs [or] were drop back passes. It makes you just play the game so different – it’s unusual. In college football you are not used to playing that kind of game, so it makes you call the game differently.”

Maybe – just maybe – forcing Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs to call Saturday’s game differently is exactly what Kentucky needs.

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How Much Can We Move the Goalposts?

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How Much Can We Move the Goalposts?

This has already been a very interesting season for Kentucky football and certainly not one that was predicted at all coming into the year.  Even the most pessimistic person was thinking 7-5 was a reasonable ask of this UK team, considering good returning pieces and a schedule that showed that many wins pretty easily.  But then Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith got hurt, the Florida game collapsed, Kash Daniel has been underwhelming as the leader of the defense, and suddenly 6 is not in the bag.

However this season finishes, the offseason will be one of a variety of opinions from journalists, commentators, and fans.  So let’s say Kentucky goes 6-6, you will get:

UK Homers: Cats make it back to another bowl without a legitimate quarterback playing.  What a tremendous amount of courage shown by this group to fight through that adversity.

UK Haters: We told you that 10 win season was a fluke.  Stoops did a horrible job preparing his other quarterbacks.  The talent level clearly isn’t where they hype it to be.  6 wins a huge disappointment.

Neutral Observers:  UK is better off than they were 5 years ago but they regressed back to where “they belong” this year.  The SEC is too strong for them.  Benny and Josh Allen were fluke, once in a generation talents that the Cats won’t see again.  Mediocre season.

And you will have opinions all in between that as well.  But what I wonder is in a season where 8 wins was the expectation by many, and considering the things that have occurred, do we get to move the goalposts on what a good season looks like or do we look foolish not calling a spade a spade if the season is truly subpar.

Personally, the loss of Terry Wilson and injury to Sawyer Smith has to always be considered when evaluating this season.  Whether or not Kentucky wins against Florida, USC, or Mississippi State with Terry at QB we will never know.  But the offense would certainly have not been as limited as they were.

On the other side, some of the other healthy pieces have been disappointing.  Until the Arkansas game, Lynn Bowden had not really made a serious splash in a game.  Kash Daniel has had a nightmare senior season, not only with the ankle twisting incident, but the multiple off-field moments but no real impact on the field.  The whiff on the tackle Saturday, even in a win, was a good symbol of the season he’s had.  The running backs have been inconsistent and the defensive line as well.  Point being, those have been non-injury performance issues that have also plagued the Cats.

Nobody is going to agree, barring a turnaround to 8 wins, that this season has been great.  It’s been a struggle to watch at times both on and off the field.  The win against Arkansas at least gives fans hope that something magical could happen.  The effort and performance this weekend against Georgia, even against huge odds, will be a good determining factor if the fans remain with this team moving forward.  But I think it is OK to shift the goalposts a little from what the pre-season expectations were for the Cats, admitting what the injuries have done, while also saying those have not been the exclusive reason the Cats have been underwhelming this year.

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Tuesday Morning Defensive Breakdown

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Tuesday Morning Defensive Breakdown

1st Down
Run: 15 rushes for 87 yards, 1 TD

Pass: 4-9, 28 yards

Combined Season Statistics
Run: 87 rushes for 414 yards, 6 TD (1 fumble recovery)
Pass: 55-84, 608 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 2 sacks (1 fumble recovery)

Breakdown: All in all, not a bad performance from the Cats defense here.  The rush defense not as strong, giving up over 5 yards per carry but they did avoid too many big plays.

2nd Down
Run: 9 rushes for 98 yards, 1 TD

Pass: 3-10, 55 yards

Combined Season Statistics
Run: 72 rushes for 447 yards, 6 TD
Pass: 25-53, 315 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT, 4 sacks

Breakdown: When you take out the 74 yard run on the 2nd play of the game, UK was fantastic on 2nd down.  The other 8 carries went for just 24 yards and the 10 pass plays went for 55 yards.  Those 18 plays netted Arkansas just 79 yards.  Solid production on 2nd down, a down where the Cats have been strangely good all year.

3rd Down and Long (6 yards or more)
Run: 1 rush for 0 yards (converted 0 of 1)

Pass: 2-2, 9 yards, 1 sack (converted 1 of 3)

Combined Season Statistics
Run: 11 rushes for 155 yards, 2 TD (converted 5 of 11)
Pass: 19-28, 177 yards, 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery (converted 11 of 32)

Breakdown: While not facing a ton of these situations in 3rd and long, Cats were great.  They’ve been pretty good here most of the year, especially in SEC play.

3rd Down and Short (5 yards or fewer)
Run: 2 rushes for 17 yards (converted 2 of 2)
Pass: 3-4, 30 yards, 2 sacks (converted 3 of 6)

Combined Season Statistics
Run: 14 rushes for 118 yards (converted 9 of 14)
Pass: 9-14, 123 yards, 5 sacks (converted 9 of 19)

Breakdown: Mixed results on 3rd and short but getting 2 big sacks ending drives was huge.  And for the season, the pass defense in this situation has been really good.