Instant analysis from Kentucky’s 44-17 loss to Louisville:
How the game was won
Lamar Jackson and the Louisville offense scored points — five touchdowns, three field goals — on its first eight drives of the game and routed UK to reclaim the Governor’s Cup.
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1. Lamar Jackson. The Louisville QB deserves to be remembered with Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson, Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow and Cam Newton among the best players ever to play at the venue formerly known as Commonwealth Stadium.
2. Bobby Petrino. The U of L head man presumably had a point to prove after his No. 11 Cardinals were upset by UK last season. Suffice to say, Petrino and his team delivered that message.
3. Jaire Alexander. The return to health by the star Louisville cornerback for the final three games seemed to transform the U of L defense for the better.
4. Benny Snell. Over the final five games of his sophomore year, the Kentucky running back played at an All-America caliber.
1. Mark Stoops. Lamar Jackson and the Louisville offense are very good but, five years into the Kentucky head coach’s tenure, shouldn’t the UK defense be better than this?
2. Kentucky composure. Rivalries are emotional, but UK’s lack of discipline in the form of several after-the-play unnecessary-roughness penalties really hurt the Cats.
3. UK run defense. A week after giving up 381 yards on the ground at Georgia, surrendered 346 to Louisville.
4. The heroes of UK’s 2016 win over U of L. Stephen Johnson struggled through the air. Garrett Johnson did not catch a pass. Kentucky’s defense did not force a turnover. Austin MacGinnis missed a short field goal.
The football gods have a way of evening things out.
Ten. Since the modern Governor’s Cup rivalry commenced in 1994, Louisville is now 10-4 against Kentucky in Lexington. Over the same period of time, the Cardinals are only 5-5 against the Wildcats in Louisville.
For its home finale, Kentucky wore silver chrome helmets, anthracite jerseys with white letters and numbers and blue pants. Since the start of the 2015 season, UK is 2-6 in silver chrome helmets.
For the first time since the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Kentucky (7-5, 4-4 SEC) will make a second straight bowl appearance. Last year, UK finished a 7-6 season by falling 33-18 to Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.
Know your (possible) foes
1. ESPN.com’s Kyle Bonagura and David Hale both project Kentucky facing Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte Dec. 29 at 1 p.m. (I’m dubious of that because it would mean UK football playing at the same time as the Kentucky-Louisville men’s basketball game, which tips off at 1 p.m. Dec. 29 in Rupp Arena).
2. USA Today’s Erick Smith also has Kentucky facing Wake Forest but in the Music City Bowl in Nashville Dec. 29 at 4:30 p.m. (I’m guessing UK football playing on TV on the same day but after the Kentucky-Louisville basketball game would work.)
3. Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com has Kentucky playing Texas in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Dec. 30 at 12:30 p.m.