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Something Changed During Kentucky’s Improbable Win over Missouri

© Denny Medley | USATSI

© Denny Medley | USATSI

Mark Stoops’ Kentucky football teams have won quite a few close games in miraculous fashion.

Fans will not soon forget Bud Dupree’s Pick Six vs. South Carolina, Austin MacGinnis’ Mississippi State game-winner, Lamar Jackson’s fumble or Stephen Johnson’s end zone leap that defeated Tennessee.  Those wins helped move the program forward in different ways.  Saturday’s miraculous walk-off victory vs. Missouri changed Kentucky football, even though it’s difficult to quantify exactly how.

The Missouri victory shared similarities with many others.

“It’s really gratifying to see all three phases have to step up big late in that game to give us an opportunity to win,” Stoops said today.  “(It) Says an awful lot about our team’s character, their heart and just sheer will and determination to find a way to win a football game.”

Almost every aforementioned victory required big plays from all three phases of football, but never in such an impactful manner.  The defense prevented the nation’s No. 12 offense from getting a first down in the second half.  The special teams provided a blocked field goal and a punt return touchdown. The final piece of the equation provided an 88-yard drive in just over a minute to clinch the victory.

“What you saw was great leaders really perform. Guys that have been doing it and working so hard and doing the right things and being such good leaders, really just show up. Who you are in the dead of the night is going to show up under the brightest lights. You saw that with some of these players who responded and showed up in a really big moment with a lot of pressure on them.”

Kentucky needed their leaders to be their best in the biggest moments to defeat Vanderbilt too, yet there’s something about Saturday felt different.  What’s different?  That’s hard to describe, even for Mark Stoops.

“I also do feel like something changed a bit Saturday: that growth, another step, however you might say it.  I don’t know how to put it into words, but I just felt like that truly everybody said that somehow, someway they’re going to do their part to help us win this game. Certainly some guys stepped up a in a really big way, but everybody did. Everybody in there made a difference. I definitely think we evolved another step.”

Like Stoops, it’s hard to accurately describe what made Saturday night’s win so special.  From the fans at home to the players on the field, it was an emotional experience.  All too often those emotional Kentucky football experiences don’t end with pure, unadulterated joy, but Saturday was different.  Something changed Saturday and the Kentucky football team will never be the same.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

23 Comments for Something Changed During Kentucky’s Improbable Win over Missouri

  1. michaelb
    7:09 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

    These guys already played for each other per say. Winning in a fashion such as Saturday’s extremely solidifies the groups bond. Every player that took the field in that game will ultimately & literally die for one another now (after the last win) . Every step of the season bonds this team stronger & stronger – so much that they will have what it takes to beat Georgia come Saturday in my opinion

  2. michaelb
    7:18 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

    Georgia may have the upper hand according to betting world … but I guarantee the dawgs don’t wanna see us right now … uks wave is bigger than ever right now . We all know benny is gonna have a bounce back game Saturday – that happens to be the dawgs weakness (d line). Plus we’re a hungry team right now that believes in one another . Ga is scared .

    • ThankfulCat
      7:29 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

      I guarantee you UGA is not scared

      Kirby Smart will have them ready to fight

    • Cokely53
      7:40 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

      Let the guy have his moment. Don’t steal his excitement.

    • michaelb
      7:48 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

      Visit me here again Saturday nite mmmk

    • michaelb
      7:47 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

      21-17 cats

    • cats646
      7:55 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

      Damn right michealb!!!

    • michaelb
      7:59 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

      Hell yes cats646

    • UKBoo
      8:05 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

      “Was it over when the German’s bombed Pearl Harbor?!?!” ~~ Bluto… Worked in Animal House, maybe it will work for the Cats Saturday. LMAO

  3. kjd
    10:05 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

    O line has to improve if Benny is going to improve production. Also passing game has to move some defensive players out of the box.

  4. rickwhitetx
    10:56 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

    Down by 11, less than 6 minutes left, the offense sputtering. A punt return for a touchdown, more defense, and a miraculous final drive by the offense.

    Corner turned.

    Bring on the Dawgs and the rest of the regular season. 10-2 with a New Year’s Day bowl or 11-1 and a trip to Atlanta.

    Thank you coach Stoops!!

    • jakew60
      12:48 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

      Why is everyone saying our offensive line is so bad? They are actually a very solid group with some winning offensive linemen of the week even more than once. The only way I can see them not being solid is through when terry holds the ball a little to long and is pressured because of it otherwise they carry the leading back in the sec and they also have done well most of the time just look at the last drive of Saturday !

  5. Dundee
    1:11 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

    @ Nick Roush
    GREAT READ!!! Oh so VERY TRUE. I I FEEL 100% the same way. It felt like something special is happening inspire of ourselves(the team and COACHES). Dundee

    • Dundee
      1:12 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

      Inspite NOT inspire.

    • johnrenfroe
      4:57 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

      As much as we adore our UK ball, the fan base is overcome with football at this moment. For a large portion of us, we are very nearly the greatest UK football round of our lives and this rush of energy will construct every day of this current week.

  6. Dundee
    1:16 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

    I REALLY wish we even had a semblance of a BASIC passing game???!!!! Our play calling is so freaking ugly and sorta almost high schoolish even. It looks like Gran has a special love of “as they say #26” ummm yeah he runs REALLY HARD AND PLAYS WITH PASSION but he prolly won’t play on sundays. Hey 26. You better play your senior year and work on your non helping attitude and your quickness. Pro scouts cringed watching YOU bark at the coaches. Go Cats

    • E11Q
      8:50 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

      Non-helping attitude? You mean the same #26 that sold out his body and picked up, not one, but TWO free blitzers on the winning play when Missouri sent 6 after Wilson? Gosh, what a selfish individual he must be! I can’t believe that a highly competitive Division 1 athlete would ever get so emotionally invested in a game that he voiced his concerns with a coach (who objectively was calling a middle school offensive scheme). Geez! I mean who would want THAT kind of guy on their team. And as far as not playing on Sundays, he may not, however I’ll take a side bet that he gets much closer to achieving that reality than you ever did. Honestly though Dundee, how does it feel waking up in the morning, looking into a mirror, and knowing that you’re the kind of adult that attempts to character assassinate a college kid? You’re telling on yourself champ.

  7. Shively1978
    7:37 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

    He will be playing on Sundays very soon. NFL teams have quality receivers and can’t just go after Benny. I would go after the coaches to when they call an offense the way they been calling it and the O line has not been very good the last two weeks. No one is saying they haven’t played well throughout the year but against Missouri we missed way to many blocks and the def penetration was ridiculous.

  8. babbus
    7:49 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

    Generally, when thoughts aren’t well formed enough to articulate, they probably weren’t ready to be published

  9. JohnnyCheeseSticks
    8:36 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

    Why is Gran still our OC?

  10. E11Q
    8:43 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

    Missouri was such a nightmare matchup for UK. A team that gave up nearly 7 million yards a game passing, but only 100 on the ground (partly due to giving up 7 million yards a game in the air) very easily could have spelled doom for UK. I don’t think Gran called a good game, but then again, what option does he really have? I mean Wilson (prior to the final drive when he HAD to throw the ball) gave us no indication the previous two games that we could rely on him being even moderately successful throwing the ball down the field. I’m not trying to defend Gran, but good lord idk what the man was supposed to do except try to let Benny carry the team against 8-9 man fronts until the end of the game. Hopefully that will boost Wilson’s confidence and we can see him return to the form he was in against Florida. I believe it’s going to take at least a 24-28 point performance to beat UGA. Could be wrong, but I just feel like UGA is the one team in the East that truly has better athletes than us at some key positions which will make it tough on the defense.

    That being said, it’s a testament to to recruiting that I don’t feel like UK has been “out-athleted” in any game so far this year.

  11. secrick
    9:00 am October 30, 2018 Permalink

    MICHAELB, I like the way your thinking .

  12. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    3:16 pm November 1, 2018 Permalink

    DJ hasn’t been playing at 100% either which is slowed the oline down a little.