John Clay’s notes: WKU deserves some credit, don’t they?

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistSeptember 18, 2012 

Random notes:

■ I still say Kentucky did not lose Saturday's game on the trick play at the end of overtime. Western Kentucky won the game on the first drive of the second half. Kentucky had claimed momentum at the end of the second quarter. The Hilltoppers opened the third quarter with a bruising 12-play, 75-yard drive to extend their lead to 24-10.

■ Let's give Western credit. The Hilltoppers, from the Sun Belt Conference, have won nine of their last 11. The two losses: 42-9 at LSU last season, 35-0 at Alabama this season. Alabama is the defending BCS national champ. LSU is the defending BCS runner-up.

■ Ask Arkansas and Auburn about Sun Belt member Louisiana-Monroe.

■ And didn't Sun Belt team Florida International beat Louisville at Louisville last season?

■ Kentucky's average attendance for its first two home games was 51,163. If it continues on that pace, it would be the lowest Commonwealth Stadium attendance since the 1996 season, Bill Curry's last as coach. UK averaged 40,647 that year.

■ Willie Taggart has done what you want a head coach to do — set the tone for the program.

■ Went to Cincinnati to see the Bengals beat Cleveland 34-27. I exited feeling a bit optimistic about my Browns. Quarterback Brandon Weeden played much better than his inauspicious debut. First-round pick Trent Richardson ran and caught the football the way he did at Alabama.

■ As for the Bengals, the defense must pick up the pace. Mike Zimmer's group has allowed 71 points in the first two games.

■ NFL coaches seize on vulnerability, and right now the replacement refs are clearly vulnerable.

■ I assume John L. Smith is renting in Fayetteville.

■ Did you see where former Duke forward Lance Thomas settled that lawsuit on non-payment of a $97,000 jewelry purchase? Thomas made the purchase as a starting forward on Duke's national championship team in 2010. You can hear the NCAA warming up the "nothing more to be seen here" press release.

■ Having now signed with the NBA champion Miami Heat, Josh Harrellson has clearly gone from the outhouse to the penthouse.

■ RIP Steve Sabol, who along with his father built NFL Films. How many of us of a certain age became hooked on pro football through those slow-motion, set-to-music, John Facenda-narrated highlight shows of our youth?

■ How odd is it to think of a Florida football team that lines up and plays smashmouth football? The Gators' Mike Gillislee leads the SEC in rushing. Steve Spurrier is shaking his head.

■ No chance of Kentucky turning this season around if it doesn't do a better job against the run.

■ After Billy Gillispie fills the order to avoid stress for the next 30 days, Texas Tech will politely extend the order indefinitely.

■ Joe B. Hall saying "the pigeons will appreciate it" about the unveiling of his statue outside Wildcat Coal Lodge was a great line.

■ If you don't think SEC football coaches would mention to recruits that Kentucky drew 10,000 for a charity basketball game the same day as a football game in Lexington, you don't know how league coaches operate.

■ My prediction: Andrew Wiggins will reclassify to the class of 2013. Speed up that NBA clock.

■ After all these years, maybe, finally, Notre Dame has found the right coach in Brian Kelly.

■ Walking off the field after a loss to Utah, BYU Coach Bronco Mendenhall was heckled by a Utah fan. Mendenhall stopped and took a step toward the heckler, who quickly backed away. I bet that fan is a regular poster on message boards, too.

■ With things being what they are around here, get ready for rampant rumorville. To that end, I liked KSTV's Thomas Beisner's tweet, "Just stood behind Bill Belichick at Walmart on Nicholasville Rd ... maybe just a guy in a hoodie, but couldn't tell."

John Clay: (859) 231-3226.Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com.Twitter: @johnclayiv.

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