Around the same time Kentucky was putting the finishing touches on its 23-16 win over Louisville on Saturday, something strange was going on down in Oxford, Miss.
Jacksonville State, an FCS program from the Ohio Valley Conference, was on the verge of a shocking 49-48 takedown of Southeastern Conference brethren Mississippi.
The game sent shockwaves throughout the nation, and even though the Cats were caught up in the euphoria of their own victory, the Ole Miss score didn't get past them, either.
"We definitely heard about it," junior linebacker Danny Trevathan said. "It was all over ESPN all weekend."
"We talked about that on the bus," said senior fullback Moncell Allen. "That just shows you anything can happen."
The Ole Miss loss is something UK Coach Joker Phillips plans to exploit as he prepares his team for Saturday's home opener with Western Kentucky.
"Definitely," Phillips said. "We point out all the games across the country. Everybody expects you to win, so-called 'expects' you to win. If you don't play well, if we play like we did in the third and fourth quarter (at Louisville), any given day anybody can beat you."
UK might not need the extra motivation after its uneven effort against Louisville. Penalties and special teams mistakes kept the Cats from closing the door on a early 20-3 lead.
"We still have a lot to prove and a lot of mistakes to clean up," senior offensive lineman Brad Durham said.
"We've got to play smarter, no question about that," Phillips said. "Eleven penalties. Kentucky does not have 11 penalties for 90 yards. That's Kentucky beating Kentucky. That's one of the things we talk about, we don't beat ourselves."
The Wildcats would love to use the non-conference portion of the schedule to get their younger players some game action, but Phillips said the team has to be much sharper for that to happen. Before the season, Phillips said as many as eight true freshmen might play, but only five were able to get in against Louisville: defensive tackle Donte Rumph, kicker Joe Mansour, tight end Tyler Robinson, tailback Raymond Sanders and linebacker Avery Williamson. The only player who saw action outside of special teams was Rumph, who had a few snaps at tackle.
"We want to put people away when we have the opportunity," Phillips said. "As we go through this thing, we got to get experience with some other guys, too. We have to put people away so we can get other people in the game for us."
The Hilltoppers showed they could be pretty feisty against No. 8 Nebraska this past weekend. Though WKU lost 49-10, there were some positives, such as running back Bobby Rainey's 155 rushing yards against a defense ranked ninth nationally against the run last season.
Rainey ran for 99 yards against UK two years ago as a freshman in a 41-3 loss, and Phillips said the 5-foot-8, 196-pounder is similar to Wildcat back Derrick Locke.
"He's fast, really fast," Phillips said. "He's shifty. He's a strong guy. He had a pretty good game against us when he was a freshman. This guy's experienced obviously. But we've just got to wrap him up. We can't let him get started because he's got that type of speed."
UK allowed Louisville's Bilal Powell to rush for 153 yards Saturday, including an 80-yard TD run, and Trevathan said the defense will have to do a better job at containment this week.
"Powell had a big game on us, and (Rainey) had a big game against Nebraska, so we have to be ready," Trevathan said.
Game day changes
There will be several changes to game-day operations for UK home football games this fall:
■ Tow-behind trailers will not be allowed to park on paved surface lots within the Commonwealth Stadium complex, unless they too have a parking permit.
■ Golf cart use will be prohibited on the Commonwealth Stadium Complex. The ban includes all parking lots, sidewalks, streets, etc; this includes motorized scooters/coolers, etc.
■ Tailgate setups and parking vehicles may begin no earlier than noon on Fridays before game day.
■ Hospital Drive, connecting Limestone and University Drive, will be closed strictly for Emergency Room traffic on game day. Guests with Parking Structure No. 1 permits may access Parking Structure No. 1 via University Drive only.
■ No backpacks will be permitted inside the stadium. Purses, small handbags, etc. will be permitted, and all bags are subject to search.
For more detailed information on the changes, visit www.ukathletics.com/fbgameday.