For one final time in 2019, it’s Football Time in the Bluegrass (technically the Tar Heel State, but let’s not split hairs). Kentucky kicks off at Bank America Stadium against Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl at Noon on ESPN.
Kentucky’s fourth consecutive bowl appearance will highlight one of the most dynamic players to ever wear blue and white, Lynn Bowden. Playing in his final game for the Wildcats, the wide receiver-turned-quarterback has rushed for more than 100 yards in six of his seven games as UK’s starter, most recently etching his name in the UK record books with 284 yards rushing and four scores against Louisville.
Eddie Gran’s Bowden Ball offense will go toe-to-toe against Bud Foster’s Lunch Pail Defense. The Kentucky native will be on the Virginia Tech sideline for the final time Tuesday afternoon. The legendary defensive coordinator is a big reason why this will be the Hokies’ 27th consecutive bowl appearance, the longest streak in the nation.
Will Bud Foster go out with a bang or will Lynn Bowden put on one final show for the Big Blue Nation? We’ll see who is celebrating when the final horn sounds in Charlotte on New Year’s Eve 2019.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) December 29, 2019
Fuel on the Fire
Kentucky’s motivation isn’t coming from pundits picking games on national television. They got more than enough during a shouting match at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Lynn Bowden refused to answer questions about the Hokies at Belk Bowl media day. “I ain’t got nothing to say about them.” The beef stemmed from a confrontation at a bowl outing, one that was actually videotaped and posted to social media by a Virginia Tech player. Bowl performances can often be defined by how much a team cares. I think it’s safe to say that this UK team has enough motivation to bring their A-game one final time in 2019.
What to Watch For
— Lynn Bowden Running Angry. See above.
— Trick Plays. Last game of the year, can’t hold anything back now.
— Agressive Virginia Tech Defense. Bud Foster always brings the heat. He will go down swinging against Bowden ball. It will result in a few busted plays for UK, but also open lanes for big plays. Bowden and Co. must take advantage of every opportunity.
— 50-50 Balls. Hendon Hooker is just going to throw it up for grabs on fades, especially in the red zone. Kentucky’s defense has to make plays to ensure we don’t have another Tennessee game.
— Plenty of Punts. It’s going to be a low-scoring game. Max Duffy has to win field position in this slug-fest.
Brad White gets Comfortable
Kentucky’s defensive coordinator had an outstanding first season calling plays for UK’s defense. KSR has learned White will sign a contract extension with the Cats to remain in Lexington for the foreseeable future. The greatest coaching staff Freddie Maggard has ever seen at the University of Kentucky, it’s a step in the right direction to making sure it remains largely intact ahead of what could be an historic 2020 campaign.
A Four-Hour KSR Pregame Show
The KSR Pregame Show typically runs for two hours, beginning four hours before kickoff. Since the radio show’s time-slot is from ten-noon, Matt Jones and the KSR crew will continue talking football until just minutes before the ball is kicked at Bank of America Field in Charlotte.
The action begins at 8 a.m. ET on 630 WLAP and iHeart Radio. You can watch the show live when the doors to KSBar and Grille open at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m. switch the channel to TalkRadio 1080 WKJK on iHeart to hear the final two hours. While you’re at it, don’t forget to submit your picks to the Hammer Bowl Challenge at KSBar.
TV, Radio, Vegas
Your University of Kentucky Wildcats opened as 3-point underdogs against Virginia Tech, a number that’s dropped to 2.5 in many books. Vegas expects a low-scoring game, with a total of 52.5. Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht and Rocky Boiman are on the call for ESPN.
ESPN’s bowl game rights make listening to The Voice of the Wildcats more difficult than normal. Obviously, you can still hear the UK Sports Network call on your AM/FM dial (840 WHAS, 630 WLAP or 98.1 WBUL-FM). Online streaming and Sirius/XM are only available on ESPN Radio (Channel 80) or on the ESPN Radio app. Chris Cotter is the play-by-play man for ESPN.
No Cat Walk at the Stadium
Bank of America Stadium’s setup takes the team buses under the facility. There’s really no place for the fans, but you can greet the team is they leave their hotel at Hilton Charlotte City Center (222 E 3rd Street) right around the corner from the NASCAR Hall of Fame at approximately 9:30 a.m. ET. There will not be a typical Cat Walk setup with security, so please be kind, courteous and sensible.
- 8:00: KSR Pregame Show on 630 WLAP
- 9:00: Doors Open at KSBar and Grille
- 9:30: Team departs for Bank of America Stadium
- 10:00: KSR Pregame Show goes to 1080 WKJK
- Noon: Kickoff on ESPN
The Cats are rocking the chrome domes with Kentucky Blue in Charlotte.