This morning, I sat down and watched “SEC Inside,” the SEC Network’s behind-the-scenes look at Kentucky’s win over Mississippi State. I knew it would probably be good because the end of the game was so exciting, but man, what a way to start your day. If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, check SEC Network for a replay, or watch it on YouTube thanks to our friends at UK Basketball Live.
The dramatic voice-over and horse racing metaphors were a bit much, but there were several moments that I felt genuinely portrayed how this team has come together to fight for Mark Stoops. Fourteen of them, in fact.
1. The emergence of Benny Snell
You could argue that this team really started to turn things around when Benny Snell started playing. Snell had zero carries vs. Southern Miss or Florida, and even though he had four touchdowns in Kentucky’s romp over New Mexico State, I think you could argue he really broke out vs. South Carolina. Snell’s go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter helped the Cats knock out the Gamecocks, and “SEC Inside” honored that big moment with some glorious slow-mo footage of Benny bouncing off runners and into the end zone. They also showed his big touchdown vs. Mississippi State, and this montage of him yelling afterwards is great:
“You try arm tackling that guy, you’re gonna bounce off those thighs.”
2. “Go get your damn respect”
One of Stoops’ latest talking points is the importance of game week prep (it’s the new “gotta get back to fundamentals”) and “SEC Inside” featured a look inside the team meeting room at the training center the Wednesday before the Mississippi State game.
“People have been kicking dirt on you for a while, right? Go get your damn respect. Take care of business today. Prepare today to take care of Saturday.”
3. The chemistry between Stephen Johnson and Jeff Badet
Jeff Badet had his breakout game vs. Mississippi State with a season-high seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns, thanks in part to his budding rapport with Stephen Johnson. “SEC Inside” touched on that in their footage of Kentucky’s game prep last week.
4. Stoops’ pregame pep talk
We’ve heard about Mark Stoops’ pregame pep talks, but they never fail to get me riled up.
5. JoJo Kemp with the American flag
Almost as good as Matt Elam with the Kentucky flag.
6. The shirtless kid punching
Remember how cold it was that night? This kid is a beast.
7. Stephen Johnson’s hurdle in slow mo
Never gets old.
8. “Play with some damn urgency. Let’s go!”
After Mississippi State scored to go up 24-20, Mark Stoops came over to the sideline and screamed, “Play with some damn urgency, let’s go!” before giving his defense the death stare:
9. The guy in the Jared Lorenzen costume somehow made the cut
You may remember this Jared Lorenzen superfan from “SEC Nation” last year and this year. I loved that they showed him at an especially dramatic and pivotal moment, right after Jeff Badet’s touchdown to put UK up 27-24. Sadly, they did not show his fake stomach.
10. “IT’S GOOD!!!!”
11. The team running on the field and putting MacGinnis on their shoulders
12. Boom crying
I talked about this on my podcast with Freddie today, but if you don’t tear up a little watching Boom Williams cry after the game, you don’t fully appreciate what he’s gone through. Boom essentially quit the team last year and was part of the “locker room divide” that haunted that squad, had a major elbow injury and surgery, and then his sister died over the summer. That’s a lot for anyone to deal with, but a 19-20 year old kid? Watching him let all of his emotions out to Austin MacGinnis and Mark Stoops gave me all the feels.
13. Stoops’ victory walk
He certainly earned it.
14. And his postgame speech
– SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 27, 2016
Now, let’s go beat Missouri and make some more memories.