There will be all kinds of connections between Kentucky and Louisville when the teams face off Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
UK offensive linemen Justin Jeffries and Matt Smith were high school teammates of U of L running back Victor Anderson and fullback Joe Tronzo at St. Xavier. Several players from Trinity are on both teams, including UK punter Ryan Tydlacka and U of L backup quarterback Will Stein.
And UK sophomore safety Winston Guy was a young sophomore teammate in 2005 when Louisville starting quarterback Justin Burke was running the show for a Lexington Catholic team that won the Class 3A state championship.
Guy had a flashback to the season opener that year, when an Anderson-led St. X team nipped Catholic 37-34. Burke threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns, and Anderson rushed for 171 yards, caught two passes for 41 yards, and had 93 yards in kick returns.
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"That was a crazy game," Guy recalled.
Guy was complimentary of Burke and said he still talks regularly with Anderson.
"I called him before the Indiana State game just to see how he was doing," Guy said.
But Guy knows he'll have to put all that aside once the chin straps get snapped.
"We're enemies on the football field but, once the game's over, we can be friends just like we were," Guy said. "Before the game, you see each other, shake hands, wish each other good luck but, once that clock starts, it's game time. Ain't no friends."
Lexington Catholic Coach Bill Letton will have a special interest in this year's game. He was the defensive coordinator for Lexington Catholic's 2005 state champions and was the head coach when the Knights won the Class 4A title in 2007.
"It's pretty awesome, really," Letton said. "To see kids grow up and then see them have a chance like this in this game is special for us."
Letton said he hopes Burke "throws for 600, 700 yards. I really want to see him do well. But I hope Kentucky wins."
Cats look to extend streak
Kentucky will try to add to its streak of 15 consecutive non-conference wins. It's the second-longest streak in the nation, behind Louisiana State's 20, and the longest for UK since a 17-game non-conference streak from 1954-60.
If the Cats can get by the Cards, they'd need to beat Louisiana-Monroe (Oct. 24) and Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 7) to top that streak.
UK's Cat Walk will take place at 9:45 a.m. in front of Gate 1. Team buses will stop on Jerry Claiborne Way directly in front of the Ronald McDonald House.
Big Blue meter
Kentucky has proved it can respond as an underdog under Rich Brooks. Now how will it adjust to life as a significant favorite?
Louisville is trying to find any kind of spark it can to keep the Steve Kragthorpe era from flatlining.
Kentucky is a solid favorite on paper but has to avoid coming out and laying an egg. The Cards can't afford any moral victories; they need to win outright.
Kentucky will be happy with a win, but an impressive win would give the Cats momentum going into next week's visit from top-ranked and defending national champion Florida.