By now you’ve likely come down from that postgame high, so let’s take a moment to look back at what happened out there in Columbia, where Kentucky won a very important football game against the Missouri Tigers, 35-21.
1. Boom Williams and Benny Snell could not be stopped.
Kentucky set out to run the ball and control the clock against Missouri and its high-powered offense, and that is exactly what the Wildcats did, to the tune of 377 yards on the ground.
Boom Williams accounted for 182 of those yards, while Benny Snell rushed for a career-high 192 yards on a career-high 38 carries. Snell’s big day set a new school record for yards by a freshman, and his 38 touches were the most since Artose Pinner ran the ball 31 times against Vanderbilt in 2002. Meanwhile, Williams became only the eighth player in school history to hit the 2,000-yard mark, and only the third to do it prior to his senior season.
Together, the Kentucky rushing attack had its best game against an SEC opponent since the 1953 team rushed for 409 against Vanderbilt. You remember that team.
2. Missouri really missed Michael Scherer and Terry Beckner Jr.
The Cats’ explosion on the ground came because Williams and Snell are two very, very, very good backs, but it didn’t hurt that Mizzou was without two of its best defenders, who suffered season-ending ACL injuries last week.
The concerns surrounding the Tigers’ run defense was a major storyline going into the game, its first without Michael Scherer, a three-year starter and the captain of the defense, and Terry Beckner Jr., the team’s best defensive tackle. It’s very unlikely those two would’ve made a difference to the game’s outcome, but they certainly would’ve helped slow down Williams and Snell, if even a little bit.
3. The offensive line has made some major progress.
Williams and Snell are getting all of the love, but none of what they accomplished would’ve been possible without the big guys paving the way. Kentucky’s offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the entire game in a very dominant performance by all. Jon Toth is the group’s star and future millionaire, but all of the pieces played well alongside him in the trenches.
These days it’s not crazy to say Kentucky has one of the best offensive lines in the conference, which is not something we get to say very often around here.
4. Jeff Badet is eating.
Whatever Mark Stoops said to Jeff Badet in their closed-door meeting two Fridays ago, it sure as hell worked. Badet’s now had back-to-back 100-yard games with three touchdowns in the two big wins since that meeting.
Watch him go get this perfectly thrown ball from Stephen Johnson for a 65-yard score:
That boy got speed.
5. Stephen Johnson still missing simple throws, still winning football games.
Johnson isn’t a great quarterback, but he’s good enough to win, and that’s all that matters. Johnson is now 4-1 as the Cats’ starting QB with the one loss coming on the road at the unbeatable Alabama. Aside from that one, he has four victories in four must-win conference games.
With that said, Johnson is still frustrating at times. There were plenty of missed throws (CJ Conrad must owe him money) and one inexcusable interception that cost his team some points.
But hey, he didn’t fumble! And he’s a winner!
6. I love me some Eddie Gran.
The addition of Eddie Gran to Stoops’ staff has done wonders for the offense. Under his guidance and play-calling, UK now has two consecutive 500-yard games in SEC play. For a little perspective on that, UK had only two 500-yard games over the last eight seasons.
7. Did Mizzou fans really boo when Kentucky players were down?
That wasn’t cool. Even if you’re assuming a player is faking an injury to stall the game, booing when a player is down is pure savagery. What if the player is really hurt? Then you’re an asshole. Don’t be assholes, Missouri.
8. Don’t lie: You thought there was chance Kentucky could blow the game.
You weren’t alone in letting out a loud groan when Mizzou started adding some points down the stretch. And you can admit it: you started doing a little math to see if a comeback was possible. At some point after that 57-yard touchdown, you started thinking about an onside-touchdown-onside-touchdown ending. It’s okay. I did, too. It’s in our blood. We’re Kentucky football fans.
9. Kentucky actually has a football team right now.
Offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage with two deep at each spot. A two-headed monster in the backfield. A cool and composed QB that simply gets it done in the end. An offensive coordinator that actually knows what the hell he is doing. Stoops’ control of the much-improved D. Youth across the board. Playing with attitude. Winning close games. An SEC win streak and a shot at the East title.
WHAT IS THIS NEW FEELING??????