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Sunday Afternoon Takeaways From Last Night’s Win

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

How ’bout those Wildcats?

Last night, Kentucky snapped an SEC home losing streak and the winless streak to Missouri by getting the job done in Commonwealth Stadium. The 21-13 victory over the No. 25 Tigers moved UK to 3-1 on the season and third place in the SEC East. It was a win that changed the entire landscape of the rest of the season.

Mark Stoops said afterward, “Obviously a very big victory for us. I’m very proud of the team. Like I told them just a moment ago, it was just very gratifying to win a game like that against such a quality opponent in a hard-fought SEC football game.”

Now that we’ve slept on it (a little bit), let’s take a moment before NFL Sunday to reflect on the many positives from the game. There’s plenty to celebrate, but here are a few takeaways as I look back on the pivotal W.


A bowl bid is very, very likely.

With two conference wins already on the board, a bowl bid is almost a certainty for Kentucky. Assuming Eastern Kentucky and Charlotte are wins, the Cats will only need to beat a very bad Vanderbilt team to hit the six-win plateau on the season. And that’s just doing the bare minimum.

Auburn is now a very winnable contest and anything can happen in the Tennessee and Mississippi State games. The bowl ticket may be punched long before most people expected this year.

Suddenly those 8-4 predictions some optimistic fans made in the preseason don’t sound too farfetched. There is still a lot of football to be played, but closing out the first four-game stretch at 3-1 is a dream situation.

Patrick Towles is Kentucky’s quarterback.

Sorry, Drew Barker fans. Not this week.

Towles played arguably his best game as a Wildcat when it mattered most. With the weight of the Big Blue Nation on his shoulders and a quarterback controversy breathing down his neck, he stepped up and silenced his critics with a three-touchdown night. Two of those came through the air on 22-for-27 passing for 249 yards, while the other was Kentucky’s first points on the board, a 14-yard scramble to paydirt.

Towles’ 81.5 completion percentage was the best of his career and it came against a very good Mizzou defense.

Statement game.

Hello, C.J. Conrad.

Well would you look at that: Kentucky does have a tight end in the passing game.

Conrad hauled in the first three receptions of his career and scored his first college touchdown last night. The TD came on first and goal from the 24-yard line when UK trailed by a field goal in the third quarter.

Conrad has blocked well all season, but his emergence as a pass-catcher really changes things for the offense. Looking forward to more of what we saw last night throughout the season.

Dorian Baker is on his way to stardom.

I can’t remember a swaggy receiver in Lexington like Dorian Baker. There have been good receivers, but Baker has the ‘it’ factor fans love to see at that position. From the one-handed grab (filthy) to his eagerness to knock someone’s head off in the open field, Baker is a very exciting player to watch. He knows it, too.


He and Garrett Johnson make one of the better receiving duos we’ve seen in Kentucky blue. Legit weapons in the passing game.

And, can we forget about those drops now?

The offensive line held its own.

The big bodies up front played well against a very good Mizzou pass rush and they did it without Jordan Swindle, the starting left tackle and team captain. There were definitely some slip-ups, but it was a solid job of protecting Towles for the most part. Much better than the effort in the Florida game, for sure.

Kentucky has a defense.

All the talk entering the season was Kentucky will need to score a lot of points because it won’t be able to stop anyone. All offense, no defense, we thought. Boy, were we wrong. Kentucky’s defense has been solid this season and some of the biggest plays have come from the unlikeliest heroes. (Looking at you, J.D. Harmon.) Now, with Ryan Flannigan and Jason Hatcher back in the mix, and the young guys finding their groove, linebacker play has improved and will only get better each game.

And what about C.J. Johnson last night? A career-high 11 tackles and a sack on the defensive line. The line is getting better everyday, too.

27 points allowed in games against Florida and the defending SEC East champ. Didn’t see that one coming.

Go Cats.

UK Athletics




Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

17 Comments for Sunday Afternoon Takeaways From Last Night’s Win

  1. Drew Barker's Father
    12:59 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

    Hope Drew gets some snaps in versus Eastern…. We deserve to see what a SEC level QB can do leading this team.

    • Wow
      1:22 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

      Still trolling……

  2. Ebell55
    1:10 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

    Don’t know why you guys light weight throw shade at JD Harmon the kid has been a big play maker on Defense since he lead the team in INTs his freshman year. The guy has been solid from day one always room for improvement but you guys act like he has been crap. Let’s just give the defense some praise without the backhanded compliments

    • Old Coach John
      2:31 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

      IMO the unsung hero of this game was the Kentucky defense. I’m happy that Patrick’s performance got him the game ball but I sure hope BBN can stop for just a moment and realizes that the UK DEFENSE held Missouri to 13 points last night….13!!! Defense wins football games and our defense has a history of giving up 30 points (or more) a game. Of all the things that make me proud of this team it is the improvement (against Florida too!) in their overall defensive effort. What an amazing and wonderful turn around. These guys finally look like they are taking pride in their performance. If they can continue to hold teams under 21 points a game, they have a chance to win ’em all, and if they do win them all, we MUST heep the praise on the vastly improved defense. With any victory, the defense will rarely get the glory, but they most certainly have the pride. GREAT JOB UK DEFENSE…you may take your bow.

  3. Rich Brooks
    1:24 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

    This team can be great, once Dawson and Stools decide to put a real QB in the game.

    • Ha!
      1:29 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

      Congrats on your first win against Samford!

  4. Wadmalawcat
    1:24 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

    SBNation now predicts the Cats to make the Liberty Bowl against Ok St. Still early and a lot of football to play, but it’s nice to see the efforts begin to payoff for our young Cats and excellent coaching staff.

  5. GACAT
    1:38 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

    Is Jason Elam a “bust”?

    • Dude
      1:59 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

      “A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Elam won two Super Bowl rings with the Broncos and was tied with Tom Dempsey, Sebastian Janikowski and David Akers for the longest field goal in NFL history at 63 yards before it was broken by another Bronco, Matt Prater, on December 8, 2013, with a 64-yard field goal.”

      I’d argue no. He had a fine career.

  6. Chuck Norris
    2:00 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

    Maybe I missed some news, but did Boom get hurt last night or did they just go with the the hot hand in Jojo?

  7. 8 god
    2:03 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

    Love how Conrad laid out the safety who tried to hit him in the end zone. Tough.

  8. Dano
    3:52 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

    Good read Drew, agree with most of it. Can’t buy the O line playing well. They have continued to miss blocks on the interior and get beat off the edges. Thankfully Towles remembered he can run. As a positive, our O line won’t face too many other defensive lines like we have faced against Missouri and Florida.

  9. CardFan502
    3:55 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

    UK does not have an impressive win yet.
    Good grief dude, we would be 4-0 if we played their schedule, not 3-1.
    UK is better but that whole division of the $ECash is weak this year.
    South Carolina, Mizzou, Vandy, Kentucky … these teams are very mediocre. Tennessee folds for the second big game in a row. Florida is trying to recover from the Will Muschamp era. Basically, UGA and the six dwarfs.
    Only Georgia looks to be better than good. We’ll get better every game as the season progresses. UKant, same as always. You all peak in June.
    Both USC & Mizzou are worse than anyone else we’ve played (outside Samford).
    People may look at that Samford win as Fool’s Gold, but I can promise we would’ve put SoCar and ULL away instead of letting them linger around too long.
    Where is the guy on here that argued with me that Missouri was an elite program? Mizzou is hot garbage and Maty Mauk would be 5th on our depth chart…and that’s saying a lot.
    It took a late touchdown while the Missouri defense was sleeping to win the thing.
    Kensucky was lucky to play decent against an obviously very down Missouri team.
    Even at 1-3, you’d still rather be us. Truth is, our program is the real deal, and no isolated four game stretch can change that fact.

    Vandy will beat UK. I think Jackson will stun them!
    We are still gonna pound dat big blu *** at the end of the season like we always do.

    • evan
      4:39 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

      please go elsewhere. stop commenting on a Kentucky blog. Worry about your 1-3 team.

    • Johnboy
      5:32 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

      CardFan502… You’re an idiot and delusional. Say or promise all you want but at the end of the day your “real deal” program is 1-3 (0-1). While the Wildcats, which you so pathetically troll and comment on their website like a moron, are 3-1 (2-1). Good luck against NC State.

    • CatsBy80
      8:47 am September 28, 2015 Permalink

      you all must be new here… cardfan502 is a parody account.

  10. Zacb
    7:38 pm September 27, 2015 Permalink

    Swaggy receiver = Stevie Johnson.
    Duo = Johnson and Burton.

    Otherwise, I agree with this great post!