Good morning, Big Blue Nation! Happy Friday to you all.
After a 2-2 season to start the season, the Kentucky Wildcats are ready to hit the road to play South Carolina in Columbia, SC and pull off their sixth consecutive victory against the Gamecocks.
Most importantly, they’ll be looking to go into the bye week with a 3-2 record with the likes of Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, UT-Martin, and Louisville still on the schedule to close out the season.
Let’s get you caught up on all the fun.
The Kentucky vs. South Carolina hype video is here
How about a hype video to get you ready to roll this morning?
This week, the KYWildcatsTV video crew focused on some of the top highlights of Lynn Bowden, Ahmad Wagner, and DeAndre Square, among others, we’ve seen this season.
Take a look:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) September 26, 2019
South Carolina will be without its backup quarterback
South Carolina’s starter to open the season, Jake Bentley, suffered a season-ending foot injury against North Carolina, leaving freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski as the top option to take over the Gamecock offense.
If Hilinski goes does down on Saturday, though, South Carolina just might be screwed.
Josh Kendall of The Athletic reported on Thursday that backup quarterback Dakereon Joyner has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against the Wildcats with a hamstring injury. The backup wildcat quarterback and wide receiver suffered the injury last week at Missouri.
A former four-star, top-100 prospect out of high school in the class of 2018, Joyner has served as a strong change-of-pace dual threat under center. This season, the 6-foot-1 quarterback has completed 7-of-12 passes for 89 yards, rushed 10 times for 49 yards and caught four passes for 29 yards this season. With Hilinski seen as a pure pocket passer, the Wildcats are unlikely to face a a running threat at quarterback on Saturday.
To make matters worse for USC Jr., Hilinski is also dealing with soreness in his elbow after taking a tough hit against Missouri last weekend. If that flares up, South Carolina’s lone quarterback option is Jay Urich, a former three-star quarterback in the class of 2017 who has completed just one pass for 14 yards in his two years as a Gamecock.
Can’t beat Kentucky with a backup if you don’t have a backup, right? (Kidding. Kind of. I hope.)
Stoops likes what he saw – including Matt Ruffolo – at practice
How about an update on the Kentucky kicker situation?
After practice on Thursday, UK head coach Mark Stoops told the media that Matt Ruffolo, Chance Poore’s replacement at kicker, had a solid day that included a 51-yard bomb to close practice.
“He hit it really good today,” Stoops said. “His last kick was 51 [yards] and it went through by ten yards.”
Outside of the kicking situation, the Kentucky head coach was happy with how his team has moved on from Mississippi State and prepared for South Carolina this week.
“We tweaked a few things this week as far as our prep,” Stoops said. “I’m not going to get into any of that. It’s nothing Earth-shattering or much different, but the guys have been good. We’ve had a good week and we’ve just got to go down there with a strong mindset and play a much cleaner game than we did a week ago.”
After a tough week dealing with the road atmosphere in Starkville, Stoops said he hopes his team will maintain its composure at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday the same way they did two years ago.
“I have great respect for the atmosphere,” he said. “I think it’s fantastic. You’ve got to give them credit, their fanbase. It’s an electric atmosphere.”
Who will be performing at Kroger Field?
On Thursday, the University of Kentucky announced that Kroger Field will soon host its first concert.
On Wednesday, October 2, the school has scheduled a “special announcement” to reveal who will be performing at the home of the Kentucky Wildcats’ football team.
Will it be Drake finally living up to his free concert promise at Big Blue Madness a few years back? Is Chris Stapleton putting on a show for his home state of Kentucky?
We’ll find out next week.
Georgia Tech receives a postseason ban
We can’t go the whole morning without discussing the NCAA’s first major punishment following the FBI’s investigation into college basketball, right?
On Thursday afternoon, the Division I Committee on Infractions announced that two Georgia Tech boosters violated multiple NCAA rules, resulting in a postseason ban for the school in 2019-20.
After receiving two Level 1 violations, here was the total damage from the NCAA:
- A 2019-20 postseason ban for Georgia Tech
- Four years of probation with one scholarship reduction each year.
- A fine of $5,000 plus 2% of the men’s basketball program budget.
- Vacation of wins for one season.
- No official visits may be conducted during home games for the first two years of probation.
If I were Kansas, LSU, Arizona, and Louisville, among others, I would be very, very, very worried right now.
KSR in an hour
After handing the reigns over to Shannon The Dude on Thursday, Matt is back to host Kentucky Sports Radio this morning.
From 10 a.m. to noon, the KSR crew will be in Georgetown at BiWater Farm.
KSR Radio tomorrow is in GEORGETOWN at BiWater Farm….come join us for a fun morning from 10-Noon
See you there Scott County!
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) September 26, 2019
You won’t want to miss it.