Saturday gave 2020 arguably its most exciting sports day of this miserable year. The Big Ten returned to the gridiron at last, Game 4 of the World Series ended in shocking fashion, there was a major afternoon UFC fight, Kentucky football folded against Missouri and we have a full slate of NFL games ahead this Sunday. Here’s all that happened:
A WILD World Series Game 4
Let’s start with something besides the infuriating drudge that was Kentucky’s football game.
World Series game 4 was the most insane ending to a World Series game I’ve ever witnessed. The Tampa Bay Rays entered the bottom of the ninth inning down 7-6 to the LA Dodgers. With one out, Tampa’s Kevin Kiermaier singled off a broken-bat, followed by a fly-out by the next better. With two outs and just one person on base, a 3-1 series deficit seemed almost certain for Tampa Bay.
A walk to Randy Arozarena brought life back to the Rays, bringing up substitute hitter Brett Phillips, who’d had just 20 at-bats for Tampa in the regular season and was hitting under .200 for the year. Phillips clubbed one to right field and pandemonium ensued:
— MLB (@MLB) October 25, 2020
A single to right scored Kiermaier, tying the game. The outfielder botched the catch off the bounce, giving Arozarena enough time to try for the winning run. But in his dead sprint from third to home, he tripped and fell down. By the time he got back up the ball was headed towards Louisville alum Will Smith’s glove at the plate — but he dropped the catch also, allowing Arozarena to slide in for the winning run to tie the series 2-2.
I’ll echo the Brett Phillips quote after the game: “Baseball’s fun, man.”
An ugly, ugly loss for the ‘Cats
This time, Lynn Bowden Jr. wasn’t storming onto the field to save the day for Kentucky’s putrid offense as Kentucky’s five-game winning streak against the Tigers was snapped by a score of 20-10. Really, the game wasn’t nearly as close as the final tally indicated.
Mizzou out-gained Kentucky 421 to 145 in total yards, controlled the football for over 43 minutes and snapped the ball NINETY-TWO times — FORTY-FOUR more times than the Cats.
It was an all-systems failure, as we often like to refer to beat downs such as this one. The coaching staff put together one of its worst performances under Stoops; the weird decision to take the opening kick-off, the disorganized, stale playcalling, the refusal to go to Chris Rodriguez and the quarterback hot potato made Saturday afternoon as frustrating as any under Stoops.
Not what you want coming off a route of Tennessee.
Wilson or Gatewood?
Personally, I’ve never been a huge Terry Wilson guy, but even I was on my knees singing his praises after that beautiful bomb to Josh Ali early in the third quarter to put Kentucky right back in the game. Even with that stroke of brilliance, Wilson finished with a hideous stat line: 3-9, 35 yards, 1 TD. Take out the 26-yard Ali throw and he was 2-8 for 9 yards. Terry’s done a ton for this program, but that’s not getting it done, bad playcalling or not. Too many dropped snaps, bad reads, throw-aways on third down, etc. (yes, it’d help if his pass-catchers could get open).
I think I speak for a chunk of this fan base when I say Gatewood’s snaps were refreshing, even he was just 1-4 for 12 yards. One pass was a bad drop by Josh Ali, and then Ali fumbled his only completion later, plus a missed pass interference prevented Keaton Upshaw from snagging a sideline grab. The dude is far more talented than Wilson and is the future of the program. Even if folks prefer the steady arm of Terry, Gatewood has the better arm and is the guy beyond 2020. I’d opt for him getting more and more reps, for development and overall talent purposes.
Thoughts and Prayers to John Schlarman
As Matt Jones put it, in news much more important than a college football game, the Kentucky offensive line coach, who’s been battling stage four cancer, was unable to make the trip to Columbia. The Wildcats were obviously missing the bombastic energy and emotion Schlarman brings to this football team.
Everyone send your thoughts with Schlarman and his family in an uncertain time for the enthusiastic assistant coach.
Louisville finally wins an ACC game
Against terrible Florida State and two quarterbacks that were once committed/played-for the Cardinals. Either way, 48-16 is an invigorating beatdown after weeks and weeks of losing to ACC squads that ranged from mediocre to bad.
Indiana by a nose!
The play of the day across college football came from Indiana QB Michael Penix. After driving IU 75 yards for a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game late, Indiana and Penn State headed to overtime at 28 apiece. The Nittany Lions got on the board on their first OT possession with a touchdown and Indiana responded similarly but elected to go for two points, taking the game into their own hands. Check out this effort by Penix on the two-point conversion:
— Stadium (@Stadium) October 24, 2020
And look at this angle:
HERE IS THE VIDEO
I BELIEVE PENIX GOT THE 2 PT CONVERSION pic.twitter.com/1YREHvHI2i
— Abdul Memon (@abdulamemon) October 24, 2020
Close as it gets. I say…give it to him! He earned every inch of that two-point conversion. What a game!
Khabib defeats Gaethje
If you’re into watching major UFC fights, the Saturday afternoon start was a nice change of pace compared to the usual post-midnight starts for the bigtime bouts. Khabib kept his perfect record intact with a second-round triangle choke (whatever that is) of Justin Gaethje.
Khabib said this would be his last fight and he was retired because he did not want to fight without his recently-deceased father there to watch. If he’s really done, he finishes his career an invincible 29-0.
A full slate of NFL action
Panthers @ Saints
Bills @ Jets
Browns @ Bengals
Cowboys @ Football Team
Packers @ Texans
Lions @ Falcons
Steelers @ Titans
Buccaneers @ Raiders
Chiefs @ Broncos
Jaguars @ Chargers
49ers @ Patriots
Yesterday was one of those days we all longed for throughout Summer. Enjoy them while we have them guys; because, if there’s anything we learned about sports in 2020, don’t take the fun for granted. Hope everyone has a beautiful Sunday!