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Flashback: Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky


Welcome, Big Blue Nation, to a new series beginning here on KSR. What you are looking at is the first of a weekly three-part series that will come to you on the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of a football game week. Part one will be this: a flashback in time of the history between Kentucky and the opponent for that week. On Thursday will be a head-to-head statistical breakdown of the two teams and how they compare. Finally on Friday, there will be a scouting report of the opponent, detailing matchups and play calling

This first week I will be getting some of the kinks worked out and figuring out exactly how I want to do this for the next twelve (or thirteen) games, so bear with me. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Without further ado, let us take a step back in time and revisit the history between Kentucky and Western Kentucky…


The term “history” in this instance is used loosely. Western Kentucky has only been a member of the FBS for a handful of years, but the progress the Hilltoppers’ program has made in such a short time has been astounding. In 2008 WKU began play as a full-fledged Division-I FBS member after nearly 100 years playing in Division-II and FCS. Now, just five years later, the program is looking in the rearview mirror of a monumental bowl berth and is poised to upgrade to the newly remodeled Conference USA, leaving the Sun Belt behind.

Undoubtedly Western Kentucky owes much of its success to the host of non-conference opponents played over the years, including Alabama, Florida, Virginia Tech, and of course Kentucky, among others. Without the exposure and financial stability those games offered the WKU program would have never launched. And that goes back to why losing this UK-WKU series — at least for now — will be such a shame. Kentucky helped Western become what it is today, and that is really cool. Yes, the two schools are “rivals” on the gridiron, but when it’s not game day; does anybody honestly root against the Tops?


The date was September 15, 2012. The place was Commonwealth Stadium; a feeble 53,000 fans filled the stands, thanks in part to a strong Toppers contingent. Joker Phillips and his Wildcats already on the brink of destruction, taking on Willie Taggart and his Hilltoppers team with nothing to lose. It was a perfect storm for the opposition.

WKU opened up a 17-0 lead through the first quarter-and-a-half before the Wildcats ever sniffed the end zone, and WKU was feeding off the momentum. The largely ugly half ended well for UK, thanks to Jonathan George and Craig McIntosh, helping to make it 17-10 heading into the locker room with the Cats regaining some positive vibes.

Western answered first in the 3rd, a 13-yard pass from Kawaun Jakes made it 24-10. But Max Smith fired right back with a deep pass of his own, making it 24-17 with a little more than a quarter to play. It wouldn’t be until the final ticks of the 4th quarter that Max Smith connects with DeMarcus Sweat from 22-yards out to make it 24-23, and McIntosh delivers the PAT to tie the game.

Overtime saw George carry it in for a score on just the third play, giving the Cats its first lead of the ballgame. But Western came in playing for keeps, and following an Antonio Andrews touchdown, Taggart busted out a trick play for the two-point conversion and that was that.

The biggest victory in WKU football history.


The victory last year gave Western its first win in the brief series with the Wildcats, who own the series record 3-1 in just four games played. The 32 points scored by WKU was the most it has ever scored in the series going back to 2008. Kentucky had won the first two games by a combined score of 104-31, but scored just 14 points in 2011 and, of course, suffered the loss in 2012.


Kawaun Jakes (WKU) — Jakes will be remembered best in this short series for his performance last season in Commonwealth Stadium. He collected 160 yards through the air with a .727 completion percentage. In the series Jakes is 34-for-64 with 350 yards passing. His six interceptions look ugly, but his play against the Cats in 2012 is enough to put him in the conversation where “history” is rather limited.

Antonio Andrews (WKU)  Head coach Bobby Petrino will be looking to Andrews as a leader and a key component to the Hilltoppers offense this season. Against the Cats, Andrews has piled up 119 rushing yards on 37 carries with three touchdowns. He will surely make an imprint this weekend.

Jonathan George (UK) — If not for the efforts of George last year the Wildcats would have never made a game of it. His line in the box score is not pretty, just 51 yards on 13 carries, but in a game where the Cats found it almost impossible to move the ball on the ground, George was clutch. He scored three times in the game.


In a series with such little background and all-in-all very few “good games” — even the close one in 2011 was an unpleasant affair to watch — the best moment for Kentucky must be the two minute drill led by Max Smith last year. Down by a touchdown with 2:14 remaining, Smith reels off a 12-play 77-yard drive to even the score with 24 seconds left.

Joker Phillips’ final year was a grim one, and even though the Wildcats lost that game in the end, you would be hard pressed to find a better drive by the UK offense than what was demonstrated there.


It seems after the 14-7 nail biter in 2011 in Nashville, and the Tops victory last year in Lexington, the momentum in the series has shifted well into the hands of WKU. The Cats obviously have a big boost with the coaching staff over last year — but the same could be argued with the Hilltoppers.

Regardless, the future of this series, for now, is nonexistent. This Saturday we bid farewell to our Bluegrass brethren in Bowling Green, as they go on to play Illinois, Navy, Indiana, and Miami (OH) in the coming years.

If nothing else, take solace in the fact that, no matter what, Kentucky will still own the series lead for the foreseeable future.


Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

23 Comments for Flashback: Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky

  1. classof68
    3:17 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks to Western for helping us get a coach.

  2. Jacob Brooks
    3:27 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    I laugh every time people talk about Andrews running wild on us last year. He had 125 yards… That’s a good game, but he did it on 34 carries! Thats about 3.65 yards a carry. Not a heisman moment people. He also did thst against a bad d line and awful d coordinator

    We had worst UK team in 8-10 years, worst coach in program history, and we threw 4 picks… And they won by 1 in OT on a trick play… Clap

  3. SackPack
    3:37 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    I think Doughty is going to have a long day. Smith and Dupree have a sack party and will meet in the pocket!! Go Cats!!

  4. Jacob Brooks
    3:38 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    And “just” 51 yards on 13 carries and a higher ypc average than 125 on 34 (you said 119 but I saw 125 on ESPN not sure which is correct but either way)

  5. btowncatfan
    3:39 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    2. Great points, although they did win the game, and UK should never lose to Western. UK’s worst team in recent memory especailly from a coaching standpoint, WKU’s best team ever. Petrino’s system isn’t easily learned, look at his first Arkansas team. I like the Cats by 2 touchdowns, pulling away in second half.

  6. Wade Allen
    3:40 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    1). Um, u got the 2011 score wrong.
    2). My god we UK fans think the world revolves around us. As If WKU owes us something for their success. Guys we sucked the past few years. If anything we should thank them for being our easy win. But that did obviously did not happen.

  7. MountainCat
    3:42 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    2 – To me 125 yards on 34 carries is more impressive than the same amount of yards on just a few carries. That means he earned those yards, didn’t just get lucky and break an 80 yard run because somebody missed their assignment. I also agree with the writer that George was big last year even though his number may not seem all that impressive.

    Also, I can’t say I agree with the Max Smith drive being a big moment. If you remember correctly, during that drive Max through a pick which the WKU defender then fumbled back to UK in better field position. Sure we ended up scoring and sending it in to over time, but if you can argue that 4 picks is the only reason that game was close, you could also argue that if the WKU defender doesn’t fumble that interception they could have melted the clock down to nearly nothing and the game never even goes to OT.

  8. Confused and sad
    3:47 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    What happened to “know your enemy” where we made fun of the opposing team their campus and location?

  9. Joe
    3:48 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Andrews played well. WKU ran the ball 7 times in that game on 3rd and short or 3rd and mid. They converted 6 of the 7 into first downs, mostly with Andrews. In a game where they held the lead throughout and were the smaller and supposedly weaker team, that was pretty significant.

    FWIW, he also caught three passes for 36 yards, returned a punt 22 yards, and returned two kickoffs for 50 yards. 233 total yards is nothing to sneeze at.

  10. Joe
    3:50 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Actually, the fumbled interception was the first play of the fourth quarter, not the last drive.

    I’d have gone with Derrick Locke’s 100 plus yard kick return TD vs. WKU in 2008 as the biggest moment.

  11. Jacob Brooks
    3:53 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    6) not sure what your talking about I never said anything that correlated to your post

    7) my point was more geared toward the wku fans that think they’re a superior program and act like their team was light years ahead of us last year and this year.

    Wku beat us but we played dreadful, turned it over 4 times, and it still took a trick play in OT… We upgraded coaching, personnel, and return more experience then them… Yet I heard wku fans on matt’s show talking about blowing us out

  12. NCAA
    3:55 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Off subject but damn: half a game suspension for Johnny football? NCAA is so hypocritical. Free Enes! lol

  13. cracka
    4:05 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    are we really going to remember and discuss the past like this every week? this is going to be rough …

    stuart, i like the idea of the past, the stats and the gameplan as a series each week, but bro, wednesdays are gonna be rough

    how about instead of “a flashback in time of the history” you could do “top games in this series’ history” and you could talk about our upsets or at least good memories … try to focus on the good games we’ve had, the best performances of uk players, etc. … i don’t wanna see an all-time greats with 2 red blobs and only 1 uk player … this is wku and we can’t even dominate that section

  14. The Reality-Check
    4:08 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    UK sucks at football. End O story.

  15. paintsville'sdairyqueen
    4:28 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    @ 14 You suck at posting comments. end o story?

  16. Do whut?
    4:44 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    #2 Bill Curry called. He asked if you’re sure about that.

  17. Big Blue Earl
    4:56 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    Some UK players that played well in this short series include Randall Cobb (3 TD’s in 2010, punt return TD, rec TD and threw TD pass), Derrick Locke (100 yd kick-off return TD in 2008, 102 yds rushing and rush TD in 2010), Mike Hartline (completed 16 of 20 passes for 213 yards and tied a career-high with 3 TD passes in 2010), Cory Peters (2 sacks in 2008).

  18. Jacob Brooks
    4:56 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    #16, I’m sure

  19. Jacob Brooks
    5:00 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink


    Read the comments the current and past players have made about the previous staff and you’ll reconsider.

    One of the worst staffs in NCAA history outside of our OLine coach

  20. Do whut?
    5:04 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    #19 what comments? Where would I read them? I think you’re deluding yourself if you think Joker’s staff was the worst in a long line of coaching failures in the illustrious past of this storied program.

  21. Jacob Brooks
    5:09 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink


    Um they’re pretty abundant. Ksr has had some, cats pause has had several stories with players comparing the 2 staffs, and Matt has mentioned the comments several times on his radio show.

    Do you not read these sites or listen to the radio show? So you acquire zero information then call people delusional? Interesting

  22. Do whut?
    5:16 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    #21 links? Quotes? Anything other than vague references to alleged comments? Would these be the same kids who carried Joker off the field at his final home game? It’s highly unlikely kids that played college football would be so disloyal as to trash their coach publicly but I’ll have to take your word for it until I happen upon some of the comments you reference.

  23. Arguable
    6:24 pm August 28, 2013 Permalink

    #22 I would call Hal Mumme’s staff the worst. Claude Bassett the inept cheater, Mike Majors the clueless D coordinator but best friend of Mumme, and arrogant “who needs defense” Hal himself. The clincher is that Mumme left us on probation. Say what you will about Joker, he left with a clean slate and no worries about cheating. I also get your point about Curry. Elliot Uzelac had to be a double agent, sent to ruin Tim Couch. Should also mention there hasn’t been a coach leave UK with a winning record since Blanton Collier in 1961, so at some point you have to quit blaming coaches. I hope Stoops can turn it around, but honestly it would be more shocking if he does than if he doesn’t.