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Cats should be bowl bound, but how about SEC title game bound?

Kyle Meadows and Jordan Jones with UK fans after Saturday's road win. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Kyle Meadows and Jordan Jones with UK fans after Saturday’s road win. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Maybe it’s time to start believing — and thanking the football Gods.

Missouri had looked awful but scored late in the first half to cut Kentucky’s lead to 21-7 Saturday. Then the Tigers had a first down inside UK’s 10-yard line to open the second half. But UK held, the Tigers missed a 24-yard field goal and Kentucky put together a scoring drive ended by a 13-yard screen pass to Boom Williams to stretch the lead back to 28-7.

Kentucky went on to win 35-21 and is now 5-3 — and 4-2 in the SEC Eastern Division.

The Cats again relied on a punishing ground — once reason they had four 80-yard scoring drives — led by Benny Snell (192 yards, 2 touchdowns on 38 carries) and Boom Williams (182 yards, 1 touchdown on 19 attempts) along with some big early catches by Jeff Badet (3 catches, 104 yards, 1 touchdown).

How good is Snell? Well, he didn’t get a touch the first two games but after eight games has now moved past Randall Cobb for the most rushing touchdowns by a freshman with eight. And you might remember that Cobb was pretty good — and still is.

Kentucky had 582 total yards of offense, the most it has had against an SEC team since piling up 597 yards against Vanderbilt in 2006. It had two backs rush for over 175 yards against a SEC team for the first time ever.

Kentucky had 59 rushes for 377 yards, an average of 6.4 yards per play. It had the ball almost 40 minutes thanks to the dominating performance of the UK offensive line from start to finish.

Even though it had just seven points in the first quarter, Kentucky amassed 187 total yards and the defense shut down Missouri’s so-called high powered offense time after time. That set the tone for the game.

Assuming UK can beat winless Austin Peay, the Cats are now assured of being at least bowl eligible with six wins.

But there is a lot more at stake. If the Cats could beat Georgia in Commonwealth Stadium next Saturday night, they would be 5-2 in SEC play going to Tennessee. Win that game also and UK could become Eastern Division champion and play in the SEC title game.

Okay. Time to slow down. But after an 0-2 start, let’s dream a little bit and congratulate Mark Stoops for salvaging a season that seemed lost compared to the two previous years when UK blew seasons that seemed set for at least bowl bids.

13 comments

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  1. kbrown

    A convincing win on the road in the SEC. Kentucky football fans haven’t gotten to utter those words very often through the years. Commonwealth ought to be rocking for the Georgia game.

  2. Larry Pup

    Big road win for the Cats. They looked like a football team out there today, but they sort of let Mizzou score a couple they shouldn’t have, one over Westry on a bomb, and then one a punt return.. Sort of sloppy down the stretch too IMO. All in all the rushing attack for Kentucky looked very potent.. The UK Oline play was huge today. Johnson to Badet is starting to be a weapon. They are 5-3 and 4-2 in the SEC, that’s a big step forward. I would love to see a win over Georgia. Stephen Johnson has made a big difference in the UK offense at the QB position. Go Cats!!!!

    1. RJ

      KY will have o play a complete game next week against GA. If we get sloppy in the second half like we did today, we’ll get killed.

  3. Cats79

    This not the same UK football team we saw 5-7 weeks ago. They have made leap and bounds to be a better team. Go Cats!!;;

  4. Norman Einstein

    So very happy for this team. We look like an SEC football team and are getting better each week. Great work by Stoops, his staff and the players.

    GO CATS!!!!!!

  5. RJ

    Ditto Norm. But FL is kicking GA’s behind. Probably not going to be #1 in the East this year. I’ll settle for two more wins. Louisville would be icing on the cake to make it 3.

    1. Persimmon Knob

      Louisville had a world of trouble with a 2 – 5 UVA team today. They are not invincible. Actually they appeared immenintly beatable were it not for their qb who is in a class all of his own. My spy in Atlanta (granddaughter who graduated from UGA last year) tells me that their ground game is in shambles and Eason, being a freshman is still a work in progress. UK can win next week but they have to bring their A game. Played very well today. A few mistakes here and there. To be expected. It’s not the NFL.

  6. TheProfessor

    This team is getting stronger each week, and as Coach Stoops said after today’s game, this team is still hungry. Let’s get Georgia next week in CWS.

    BTW, For me, this makes the corner turning complete and official.

    1. UKFMLY

      Was waiting to hear that Prof

  7. Juan4UK

    We should all be looking forward to some viewer submissions updating their “belief in Coaching staff and Team submissions”.
    Now, everybody take notice how young this team is. Look at what they are doing, how they are winning. And you should be able to see why they slipped up early.
    This staff is on it, and has been since the beginning. They got some Jimmy and Joe’s in here, but it takes time to develop those Joe’s.
    In a program where there were very little SEC talent, how would you possibly expect to run even with teams that have 5 yr programs for depth (meaning a full Redshirt development) already developed. Especially when you are basically new on the scene from everything from muscle mass to leadership.

    Bottom line, we are good going forward. Excitement from the base should kick in and Stoops/Marrow will bring in a good recruiting class to shore up the Redshirts that Stoops had to decimate this yr in order to save it.

    1. Persimmon Knob

      I’m certain Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee will appear at some point and describe how they saw this coming months ago ….but…..with this pair there is always a “but”…..we’ve all been “duped by Stoops”.

  8. Mike

    PK….you were duped and you know you were. I know…..you knew this turnaround from where we started to where at now was going to happen. I certainly did not see this coming but am very glad that we appear to have arrived. We do have a chance to be 7-5 and maybe even 8-4 if we catch UT at right time.

    1. Larry Pup

      Mike, I didn’t hear much out of PK after the Southern Miss loss, did you? Had UK took care of business back then they would already be bowl eligible. But since that loss they have inserted a real good power back into the mix in Snell, and a real steady QB in Johnson, and a much better Oline. UK is playing well now, and it is real good to see, but they still are not bowl eligible yet with only 5 wins. When they get that 6th win, probably against AP, They will have turned the corner on the season somewhat. If they beat UGA Sat. at CWS they will get a whole lot of respect in the national sports world. If they beat Tennessee or Louisville I will admit that Stoops has turned it around. I will have no complaints.

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