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The Importance of the 13th Game

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

For six years UK fans have yearned for a bowl game.  The advantages of an extra game are numerous, from the fans to the players and coaches.

“I know for this team, it’s been awhile since we’ve been to a bowl game.” Stephen Johnson said at today’s press conference it means a lot for the fans and the seniors.  “They’ve been yearning for it and waiting for it for a long time.”

“It’s my last year,” Courtney Miggins said.  “Just to get these last practices around the guys and coach Stoops.  It’s been a joy.”

Jon Toth echoed a similar sentiment.  Referred to as the “staple” upfront by his head coach, Toth has watched the program blossom over his four years.  He knows how much this game means for the future of the program.

“It’s obviously new territory for Kentucky as a program in our recent history.  I think it is a good thing we get the extra 15 practices.  It helps develop the younger guys and also the older guys,” Toth said.  “It helps lay a foundation for the future of the program.  I think it is advantageous that we’re in this position and I think it will be beneficial for the program.”

Toth took it one step further.  The advantages aren’t just from a few extra practices.  It’s how the team has approached their extra time together because of the culture Mark Stoops has created at Kentucky.

“It’s not because it’s the 13th game, it’s because it’s the next game,” Toth said.  “Coach Stoops has done a great job instilling in us to just keep your head down and go to work each and every day.”

Coach Stoops wants to make sure Toth’s career ends on a good note.

“He’s really the closest thing you can get to a professional player in a college player,” Stoops said.  “He’s a special guy.  We’re going to be sad to see him go, but we want to send him out the right way.”

Article written by Nick Roush

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