Stoops hopes fans have team they can be proud of now

Kentucky players celebrated after beating Louisville. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Kentucky players celebrated after beating Louisville. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Before Austin MacGinnis went out to try a potential game-winning, 47-yard field goal against Louisville Saturday, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops must have had a few words of wisdom for his kicker.

Instead, the coach said nothing to MacGinnis, who hit a game-winning field goal earlier this season against Mississippi State as time expired.

MacGinnis delivered again as UK won 41-38.

“I had great confidence in him, but honestly I was numb. To be honest. Just wanted to finish it off, too. You knew you were gonna have to go back out, whether he missed it – we were gonna have to go and play with a dynamic guy (Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson) like that. We were thinking about the kickoff and what we were gonna do and the seconds. There was a lot going through my mind and what the next step was gonna be,” Stoops said in his postgame press conference.

Stoops said he could not really put into words how he felt after UK  held on for its seventh win of the season. After starting the year 0-2, UK went 7-3 to close the the season. The two previous years UK struggled to the finish.

“You know I’m a tough guy from Youngstown. I can’t show my emotions. No, it’s just really a lot of things going through your mind, and there’s so many people that these wins and losses affect. Our fan base has waited a long time and again, we know the ups and downs that we’ve gone through, but they deserve a football team that they’re proud of,” Stoops said.

“These players care. They work hard. Our administration has been so supportive. Dr. Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart, in the middle of 0-2 and playing like crap for half of the third game, didn’t budge for a second. I can truthfully say that, and when you feel that kind of support, you just put your head down and go to work and control the things you can control and get better. So it affects a lot of people. I’m really happy for everybody. Really am.”

Stoops didn’t even try to tell his players to quit celebrating after the win.

“It was hard for me to calm down them down and talk to them for a minute. I want them to enjoy it. They deserve it,” Stoops said.

Kentucky will learn its bowl destination on Dec. 4. He joked he had called Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher — Stoops was his defensive coordinator before coming to UK — for information on scheduling bowl practices.

“I was going to practice next week but I’m not going to. We’re gonna go the following week, whatever that Friday will be. But they will lift and they will run. And they have some academics that they have to get going through the next two weeks. Then we have a big recruiting weekend this weekend as well,” Stoops said.

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  1. To beat Louisville and knock them down a few pegs in their best year ever has made the whole season for me. And they have played well besides that. But still it was UL and it was Petrino and that whole arrogant atmosphere in Loserville. I have to rate this UK team as one of my top UK teams ever. Just think. Not so long ago UL looked like they were heading for the playoffs. And the Cats helped end that dream and the Heisman dream too. Jackson may win anyway. He is a great player. That just makes what the Cats did all the better. They stopped the best UL ever had in a huge game. Now UL is only 1 win better in the season than UK has been and UK plays in the SEC instead of the pansy league.

    UL is the arch nemesis. I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt or anything like that but to win that game is manna from heaven IMO.

    Proud of this team? Is he serious? I “LOVE” this team. It’s like Ohio St. and Michigan. Winning that one game can make or break a season for both teams. It just happened in the Bluegrass Brawl and I couldn’t be happier!

  2. As a fan, I am as proud of this team as any since George Adams’ team, and going back to the 1976 and 1977 teams.

    The reason for my pride in this team is their never quit work ethic, their continuous improvement throughout the season, and their ability to overcome great adversity

    WTG Cats!!!!

  3. My only regret is that Houston beat them the week before, I would have preferred to have been the team that landed the knockout blow on their playoff hopes. What a great victory, especially being a 27 point underdog. If I was a betting man, I would have put down a wager with those odds. Every year, there are three teams on the schedule that I dearly want to beat, Florida, Tennessee, and Louisville. Well, we got one of them.

    1. Next season may be your year John. All three of those games will be played at CWS, Lexington, A decided advantage. Saw where someone walked into the Hard Rock out in Vegas and bet UK to beat UL to the tune of $200. Cashed that ticket for $3400.00. Not a bad return.

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