Sitting at a Bruce Springsteen concert with his mom, quarterback Patrick Towles was trying to block out what had happened earlier that day when he'd been a part of a 40-0 throttling by Vanderbilt.
He was trying to block out the memory of the sparse crowd of maybe 20,000 people at Commonwealth Stadium and the buzz that his head coach was going to be fired.
But not even a Springsteen concert could drown out the negatives from that 40-0 loss in 2012, the last time Vandy came to Lexington.
"Somebody sitting to my left was like, 'Gosh, man, Kentucky really did not play well today,' and had a score," Towles recalled from the Springsteen concert. "I was sitting right next to him and he had no idea. Just wasn't good. Wasn't good."
Never miss a local story.
No, those weren't the "Glory Days" Springsteen sings about.
But Towles and his teammates are hopeful that those days are ahead of them.
"We're way past that," Kentucky's starting quarterback said of the loss that ultimately sealed the coaching fate of Joker Phillips. "We are miles ahead of that, miles past that."
The Cats are much different thanks in part to Towles, who has helped bring the offense to life, and together they will try to end a 17-game Southeastern Conference losing streak on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
If UK is going to break that nagging streak, Towles will have to do his part.
He likely will have plenty of opportunities to show off his improved arm and decision making against Vanderbilt, which has allowed 45 passing plays of 10 or more yards already this season and 17 of 20 or more yards.
Vanderbilt's goal is to stop the run and force Towles into bad decisions.
"At the end of the day, those balls down the field become bang-bang plays and/or interceptions," Vandy Coach Derek Mason said. "Tips and overthrows. You saw it at Florida. Florida had a good formula for it."
But the Commodores' secondary will have to grow up in a hurry with all corners on the depth chart sophomores or younger.
"It's a young group," Mason conceded. "All those guys I'm naming are young guys on the perimeter learning how to play football. It's hard to grow up in the SEC, but that's a fact of life."
It's also a group that has yet to pick off a pass this season.
Junior safety Jahmel McIntosh thinks that could change.
"Once we get one, they're going to start raining in," he said.
So far the Kentucky coaches like Towles' ability to make good decisions. He went into the Florida game turnover free and left with three interceptions, but the sophomore learned from those mistakes.
"Been very pleased with the progress of Patrick," UK Coach Mark Stoops said. "He's really developing into a very good football player and a great quarterback. He's becoming a very good leader for us, so I've been very encouraged with the way Patrick has played. He's really given us an opportunity to win each time he stepped out on the field this year."
Towles' numbers speak to what Stoops is saying.
Combine his rush and passing yards and the sophomore has gone for more than 1,000 yards in three games. He is 11th in the nation and third in the league in total offense, averaging 342.3 yards a game.
That's nearly 58 more yards a game than Vanderbilt's offense after four games.
As Springsteen might sing, Towles gives the Cats a "Reason to Believe."
Throwback to old school?
It used to be spread offenses were the flashy new thing that coaches had a hard time preparing for, but now it's the other way around. Vanderbilt is a throwback offense with its three tight end sets, its loaded up lines.
"We just don't see a lot of that stuff, so we've got to make sure that we're playing sound," Kentucky's defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said.
The Cats' defensive minds have had two weeks of prep for the unusual. It's been difficult for UK to simulate it with the scout team, especially since the Cats only have three tight ends on the roster and just one on the scout team.
"We've just had to do it with the best of our ability, with guys that maybe play running back, guys that play big wideouts and the tight ends that we do have," Eliot explained.
The loaded up line doesn't mean the Commodores are going to run it every time. They are fairly balanced so far with 124 runs to 107 passes this season (and of their five offensive touchdowns, three are passing and two are rushing), but the different look up front is enough to catch a young defense off guard.
"They do a lot of creative things with big sets," Stoops said. "That was helpful for them against South Carolina. ... They create some big problems from the run and pass with big sets. That's really new now because not too many people are doing it."
'They've been locked in'
Fans on message boards might worry that the Kentucky players got big heads over a close loss at the Swamp.
Fans in the stands might wring their hands over the potential for complacency with the bye week or the Cats being favored over an SEC opponent.
Stoops is worried about none of the above.
"They've been locked in," the head coach said of his team. "Our coaches have been adamant about just handling our business and doing more this week — being more locked in, spending some extra time around here studying film and doing the little things.
"So it seems like they've been very good around here. I hope they are when they leave. We have no reason but to be locked in and hungry for this game."
■ Kentucky and Vanderbilt coaching staffs will wear "Coach to Cure MD" patches this week to raise awareness for muscular dystrophy research.
■ UK Athletics has launched a new free Gameday App that offers game day information, live game audio, Instragram and Twitter feeds from the team, stadium maps, scores and stats and more.
■ A seat selection demonstration is available to fans inside Nutter Field House immediately following Saturday's game. Staff from the ticket office and K-Fund will be available to answer questions about the 2015 seat selection process.