Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

The Old Kentucky Football tried to rear its ugly head, but failed

Photo by UK Athletics

For a minute there, the script seemed all too familiar. After the grand opening of the new — and beautiful — Commonwealth Stadium, old Kentucky football tried to make a comeback.

After the Cats squandered a 21-point lead to let Louisiana Lafayette tie it up with 7:36 left, it felt like the ghosts of old were rising up from the ancient burial grounds beneath Commonwealth Stadium to have the last laugh. With the team on their heels and the much-ballyhooed youth trembling in their cleats, admit it: part of you thought they were going to lose. Part of you was ready to throw your hands up to the football gods in defeat.

Not Mikel Horton. With 57 seconds left, the sophomore running back ran 12 yards into the end zone, putting the nail on the coffin of a devastating season-opening loss. From the fans still left in the stands, one might say Horton heard a “phew.”

“Losing didn’t cross my mind,” Horton said afterwards. “It was about executing. We worked so hard through the summer and spring and now we have the opportunity to show what we have worked for. That was the frustrating part for us.”

A win is a win, but there were a lot of frustrating parts. After moving the ball well in the first half, Patrick Towles was completely out of it in the second, completing only 6-of-16 passes for 38 yards and throwing an interception. The normally poised veteran was so rattled, he even fumbled a snap.

Then there were the freshmen, four of which got their first collegiate start. Their talent has been hyped, but after the energy of a big start wore off and Louisiana Lafayette refused to go away, the nerves kicked in. With the score tied at 33 late in the fourth quarter, senior linebacker Josh Forrest sensed panic on the sidelines and stepped up.

“I think a few heads were down, but some of the vocal leaders got the younger guys together,” Forrest said. “Telling the young guys that if they make mistakes to keep their heads up. Denzil (Ware) lost an edge on one play and came to the sideline with his head down. I said, ‘It’s alright. We got this. We’re going to be OK. (The) offense is going to get it done, and we’re going to come out and make the last stop.’ I think last year I would have argued and been frustrated, but I know that people mess up. We play better when we’re calm. When we’re arguing and are uptight and upset, we don’t play so good.”

Forrest was pleased to notice Ware took his words to heart.

“I watched Denzil after I told him to keep his head up. He plays so much better when he’s calm and I watched him and said ‘you’re alright, you’re alright.'”

Forrest’s fellow Paducah Tilghman alum JD Harmon also stood tall. After spending part of last season in Stoops’ doghouse, the junior corner had a career night, with six tackles, a forced fumble, a pick, and a kickoff returned inside the 20-yard-line. More importantly, he helped keep his teammates calm and focused when the game was on the line.

“Just keeping our composure. That’s the one thing we were screaming on the sideline. ‘Stay calm, stay calm! We’ve got time. Don’t get too emotional, keep your composure.’ That was the main thing that we had to do. We did that and I think we showed a good sign of character. Games like this, I think they’re going to help us out in the long run, being in a pressured situation like this, to finish the game strong. I feel like we did a good job with that.”

Harmon said once he and other vocal leaders on the team got their younger counterparts focused on the positive and not the negative, the fog cleared.

“Everyone was screaming the same thing, ‘Composure, composure. Let’s go!’ Make sure who’s on the field was getting those guys fired up. The offense, defense. I feel like that helped a lot. We were rooting for offense. ‘Come on, let’s do that! Take it in, take it in!’ Next thing you know, Mikel, he gets a nice run and gets in the end zone. Then we come on special teams, we get riled up before we take the field and we stop them. Defense, we get those guys ready and we come up with a good stop. All in all, we did a good job of keeping each other composed.”

Whether it be first-game jitters, the remnants of Kentucky football’s losing mentality stirring in the drywall dust, or just one hell of a Louisiana Lafayette team, the Cats survived a scare. For a minute, the glitz and glamor of the new stadium, Boom Williams’ incredible opening run, and deep pass after deep pass connecting had us believing the most optimistic of season predictions; however, after the shine wore off, flaws were exposed. Where there is talent, there is youth. Thankfully, when that youth faltered, there was veteran leadership to hold it steady.

The biggest sign the old Kentucky football is gone and buried?

They won.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

52 Comments for The Old Kentucky Football tried to rear its ugly head, but failed

  1. Kuzzy
    12:09 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Where there is talent there is youth? Dnt get that.

  2. fatbrat
    12:14 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Say what you want but the Cats’ are 1-0.

    • Tom
      1:20 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Wonder if these lob passes are going to be effective against SEC teams?

    • Bulldawg
      1:47 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Yes sir!!! A win is a win!!! I saw some things to be excited about and I also saw first game/freshman type mistakes. All in all a great learning experience and its a win. That’s what I call a win/win! Go Cats!

  3. CalRipken
    12:16 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Started out good but they stunk in the second half. Don’t know if it was first game jitters but the Cats can’t be playing like this in the SEC. They better shape up or they will be sitting and watching bowl games instead of playing on one.

    • AreallyOLDfan
      1:10 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Are we really going to have to watch our defense give up 30, and 40, and 50 (or more) points again in every game again this year? If our defense could force our opponent to go 3-and-out a couple of times a game they could get a lot more rest and wouldn’t be so tired and exhausted. Anyway, I would really enjoy seeing the other teams punter a lot more often!

    • UK Football, Again
      5:12 am September 7, 2015 Permalink

      No outside containment from LB and DE. ZERO!!! We can not stop a SUNBELT TEAM, on a two point conversion. Our Defense Is AWFUL!
      PT at QB is going to get us killed in the SEC. Sacked and intercepted against a SUNBELT team. C’mon man. Louisville is going to drill us like a bad molar. SC is going to kill us, forget about beating Florida, ever.
      It took 3 years to get rid of Joker. I hope it does not take as long this time. 2-10, 3-9, 4-8, maybe. No chance at 5+ wins playing like this.
      This is going to be a long year. This is a bitter disappointment. What are we paying these guys?

  4. Uncle Sigh
    12:22 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    You must be joking. Did you take even a passing glance at the box score before proclaiming “Old KY football is gone and buried”? LOL geez. ULL might be a decent Sun Belt team, but they would be no better than 14th or 13th in the SEC. We were outrushed, outgained, out first downed, out time of possessioned, out emotioned, out coached, outnumbered in total plays, out tacked for loss. But hey, Matthew Mitchell was entertaining and the Cat Walk was cool. Old Kentucky football is not gone and buried. Its alive and well.

    • Ben
      12:50 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Well said, some day the old KY ways may be gone, but not today.

    • Leuther
      1:54 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink


    • A win is a win
      7:48 am September 7, 2015 Permalink

      Yet UK is 1-0 and ULL is 0-1. Only stat that matters in the box score! Go BIG BLUE!

  5. Oops
    12:23 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Uh, that pic of Harmon wasn’t from last night. Good job, good effort

    • Time Expired
      1:09 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Yeah these guys at KSR could at least get that right and another turnover on them.

  6. Duder
    12:24 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    “Old Kentucky Football is dead and buried”. No. Squeaking out a game over a Sunbelt team, on your home field, isn’t burying anything. I’m an optimist, myself. But let’s be real. Only time will tell if all of this focus on football yields tangible, repeatable results. Joker left us in a hell of a mess. And I give Stoops a pass until year 5. I do. But let’s not kid ourselves. No demons were exercised last night, against a glorified OVC team.

  7. Not a Louisville fan
    12:31 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Wow ! It seems that right after the Harmon interception He and the whole team decided to change uniforms… I guess Mrs Tyler thought that we Cat fans wouldn’t be smart enough to catch that.
    Nice try Mrs Tyler. Maybe we should just call you Mrs Repeat Tyler cause every thing that Matt and Drew write about you repeat it. And its always about you also. Well Coach Stoops told ME this and Cal told ME that and we don’t need to see your picture every time we turn around. You and that nutty Ryan Lemond are Turrible.
    That’s right Matt Jones go ahead and block me but you know I’m right. Thank God for you and Drew and Freddie Maggard ( some one who actually knows football) The rest can go.

  8. Disgusting
    12:39 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    I’m disgusted by all of the negative “fans”. Go cheer on Louisville or something. We don’t want you here.

    • Duder
      12:50 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Being truthful isn’t being negative, its just saying it like it is. If last night wasn’t a disappointment, then maybe YOU aren’t the true fan.

    • Bulldawg
      2:02 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      I’m with you. I hate the negativity after a win. ULL is a solid, well coached team. They gave UK everything they had and their QB that came in later played a heck of a game. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely! Was this the first game of the year? Absolutely! I know just a couple years ago, the Cats would have lost this game (i.e. Western). This program IS on the rise. They do have a long way to go, but they are getting better every day. I just wish I could say the same for some of our poor old negative fans. Some of them will never be happy. Some of them just do not understand football. ULL has a winning environment right now. They have a solid program going to and winning bowl games the past few years. For this UK team to take their best shot and still come out on top shows me that the culture is changing in the UK locker room. Unfortunately, some fans will never change. Too bad some of them couldn’t have been replaced along with the renovated parts of Commonwealth stadium. I don’t understand why people would even follow a team if they are more disappointed after a win than they are a loss. Poor, poor negative fans. Just stay at home and keep your bandwagon comments to yourself when the Cats shock South Carolina next week. Go Cats!!!

    • cig107
      5:02 pm September 7, 2015 Permalink

      Exactly. It’s pathetic and when it’s proven wrong, I’m going to enjoy it.

  9. Check your photo
    12:42 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    That photo is from last season!

  10. Nerds
    12:46 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Maybe this will cause players like Elam to keep their mouths shut. 12-0? It’s going to be a long season, yet again, if this is a sign of things to come. Towles should practice throwing with a touch.

    • Time Expired
      1:16 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Elam needs to eat celery not Big Macs and lift some weights and lose at least 20-30 pounds.

    • Leuther
      1:56 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Elam needs to walk his talk and lose 50…

  11. GoCats13
    12:49 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Who gives a $hit if the photo was from last season? JD had a great game; therefore, she posted a close-up picture of JD.

  12. JB
    12:59 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    If you listen to Josh’s entire quote he says “no panic” at the end. Josh said specifically he did not sense panic and you bolded “…senior linebacker Josh Forrest sensed panic on the sidelines and stepped up.” Geez… Get your act together.

  13. linebeard
    1:00 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    The defense just looked slow to me. Maybe they were thinking and not reacting due to inexperience? The offense will be fine though.

    • Time Expired
      1:12 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      The offense will be fine? I guess you didn’t see the second half as Towles was MIA. Terrible passing, terrible reads, over throwing wide open receivers, and throwing into double coverage. The Cats need a QB and Towles is not it.

    • Probably Not
      2:37 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      How does one say the O will be fine. We could not put together solid drives all night, we just hit big plays vs a team we are way more talented than. Patrick was horrible yet the staff left him out there while the other coach saw his qb sucked and made a change that nearly won the game.

  14. Air Raid
    1:07 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Way to polish a turd Tyler. UK was a joke yesterday. Stoops looked as confused as ever.

  15. GoCats
    1:09 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Geez guys, way to support the young and inexperienced team… Those of you dissing should be ashamed. Give them time. We will be fine.

    • AreallyOLDfan
      2:24 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      And just how much time would you like? Exactly how much time do you think they have? It’s football season RIGHT NOW! They have not learned how to play defense in two years. Need more time??

    • GoCats
      2:42 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      In case you didnt know, it takes time to build a program. Things like this take years to do. If you arent happy with the team then don’t watch them. Leave the negativity away from everyone.

  16. bluegrassstu
    1:11 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Elam predicts 12 and 0, that was funny. After yesterdays game, i am wondering if the Cats will win 6.

    • Time Expired
      1:18 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Wining six will be very hard for a team that cannot stop a good high school team from rushing over 200 yds a game.

  17. Just Say'n
    1:21 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    I was hopeful prior to the game that Towles had made great progress; turns out to be wishful thinking. Leading up to the game my greatest concern was Towles inability to not lock on to one receiver, and accuracy. Well, he has the same problem this year. You can see from the snap that whomever the ‘primary’ receiver on the play is, he gets the first look and Patrick never looks away unless he’s panicking under duress. Conrad was wide open on several plays and never got a look.

    He also had real problems with accuracy. In the first half, his best, he had 2 good throws. All of the other completions were woefully under thrown and the receivers had to come back to the ball. On 3 of those if he’d led them we would have had easy touchdowns. Corners and safeties in the SEC will breakup or intercept nearly all of those completed passes under thrown last night. The second half, well, just write that off all together.

    I’d really like to see Patrick be successful, but unless this is fixed, we’re in for a long season; again.

    • Offense SUCKED
      1:43 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      He also never looked to run…last year he was beat up and ran way to much but he has decent speed for his size and never looked to move the ball with his legs. Also the Offense continued to go for homerun passes and neve really allowed a running back to get momentum

  18. Tom
    1:25 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    When did they start selling tickets for the first half only? Did the new wear off Barnhart’ Crystal Chandelier that quickly?

  19. wildcat502
    1:46 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Everyone says they want big time football at Kentucky, but its embarrassing when CBS shows the stadium and its half full. Big time teams have full stadiums up to game completion.
    I was disappointed in our QB play. I thought with a season behind him, things would have been better. But his throws were short the entire game, but the receivers was able to bail him out on occasion. There were a couple of touchdowns, not completed, due to being over thrown, just no accuracy. I`m not a coach, but Towles would have a very short leash during the next couple of games. This is year 3 and some improvement should be shown over last year.
    Allen should be redshirted because he needs to add about 30 pounds of muscle. One long touchdown occured because he was unable to get off the block to make the tackle at the line of scrimmage. Our linebackers were lost on several plays last night, except for Forest. I`m hoping that Flannegan and Hatcher returning will improve this.
    I`m a Cat fan and have been for over 45 years. I just want to see winning football before I die. We havent seen that since the Curci days and that was in the 70`s when we were 8-3 and 10-1.

    • joe
      2:22 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      I remember the Curci era. When you look at Ky, it is what it is.

    • Bulldawg
      2:39 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      I guess you missed the Andre Woodson, Jacob Tamme, Stevie Johnson, Keenan Burton, Micah Johnson, Wesley Woodyard, and Raf Little year… You know when they beat a top ten ranked Loserville team in a wonderfully exciting finish. Sorry to hear that you missed that since you have been waiting for 45 years. That season UK beat the national champion LSU in overtime. UK was also ranked in the top ten at one point, had college game day host their big time game against UF, and by the way, won their bowl game. I feel so bad for you that you missed that season… Go Cats!!!

      I agree with you about the fans leaving early. That is my biggest complaint about UK football. It’s not the team or the coaches. It is the ridiculous fans that think basketball and football are the same sport. You see blue hairs exiting Rupp early and they think it is acceptable. They do this and UK is the best B-Ball program in the country!!! The football team has a long way to go but a few that consider themselves a member of the UK fan base has a much further way to go than the team does… Some of the UK fan base needs to grow up. Of course it’s just a few, but they seem to always be the ones on message boards and the ones the camera shows leaving the game early. These types of fans are a cancer to the program. They are the ones always whining, “Why can’t UK get better?” Well, if they would just remove themselves from the picture or do a complete change of attitude, the UK football program would automatically take a step in the right direction and move up faster just by dropping that “dead” weight. Grow up deadbeat fans or go root for loserville. I hear bandwagon fans are pretty much all they have and you would fit right in there. Sorry for the rant, but these so-called UK “fans” drive me nuts! Get a life. Support the team or support someone else. UK has enough challenges to overcome without these “fans” adding to the already heavy load that they must carry. GO CATS!!!!!!!!!!!

    • catdaddyd
      2:53 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Didn’t Fran put us on probation?

  20. joe
    2:20 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    One of the things that always stuck in my mind when I start thinking that this could be the year that we don’t stink is; It’s Kentucky, what were you expecting? Still waiting.

  21. Game 2
    2:22 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    I went through a lot just to get to this game and was wildly excited during the first half and equally disappointed in the second half, however we got a whole season ahead, way too early to give up on this team because they had a bad half in their first game. A lot can change as the young guys get some reps and the new offensive coordinator gets them in sync. 1-0 Go Cats

    • Dave n Lex
      2:35 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Your comment makes me think you are not old enough to drive. “We have a whole season ahead.” So just exactly when do you think would be a good time to learn to play football…AFTER the season is over?? New offensive coordinator?!?! Towles playing poorly has little to do with a new offensive coordinator however, he should have at least put Barker in to see if he could throw the ball. And the one area they really need help, the defense, and you didn’t say a word about the ‘same as last year’ defense. If they do not learn how to play defense in one week, then this season is over before it starts. Glad you ‘went to a lot’ to get to the game, Game 2, however, you and I must have been at different games!

  22. Steve
    2:42 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Towles is not the man. 1st game jitters would be in the first half, he got worse as the game went on. SEC DB’s will pick off lob passes. This is what he is, we saw it last year…mediocre at best. SEC will eat him up. Last year’s Florida game was a fluke and we still lost.

  23. GoCats
    2:46 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    You people love to jump to conclusions that we are terrible after just one game. And we ended up winning. Come on, now. Enjoy the ride.

  24. TTs Rogue Eye
    2:52 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    KSR is partially responsible for all of this negativity. They spun stories all summer long about how improved this team was. They promoted stories about players saying they were going 12-0, going to Atlanta, etc. Almost all the national sports analysts put UK at 12-13 in the SEC, but KSR downgraded or scoffed at these experts. Now reality has hit everyone in the face. The experts were right, as usual, and KSR has been exposed.

    Time to start talking basketball. At least that team can live up to its hype.

    • Fact
      2:59 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

      Outside of Maggard, no writer on this site has a clue about football. Nothing but a bunch of cheerleaders and sunshine pumpers.

  25. kes
    4:09 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    FACT, What are you talking about> Maggard is the BIGGEST sunshine pumper of them all

  26. Mike
    9:15 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Good article. Thanks.

  27. jimlowe7
    9:34 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Towles is a GREAT practice player, but his mind seems to wander sometimes in games (like Terrance Jones’ did in the Indiana loss and elsewhere). IMHO he had better get his head on straight FAST or if Barker gets in for a series or two and has success HE will become the starter. I just don’t know if our staff has the GUTS to make that move early in the season, but we gotta find out sooner or later, so…

  28. Fan 1738
    11:14 pm September 6, 2015 Permalink

    Why don’t KSR tweets appear in my bleacher report app anymore?