About 20 friends and family drove six hours from Texas to Louisiana to see Ryan Flannigan play.
Instead, they watched him spend the entire game standing on the Kentucky sideline.
After the loss, the UK linebacker had to explain why to his mother, Sabrina.
"She was mad," he said. "She didn't get to see her baby get in, but it wasn't coach's fault. It was my fault."
That feeling after the LSU game, that look on his mom's face, was enough to get Flannigan moving.
"Just seeing that made me want to buckle down and work harder," he said, not to mention the dreaded team postgame film sessions he'd had to sit through.
"You know that play when you messed up and you're like, 'It's coming up; everybody's about to see it,'" he said. "That's the hard part right there."
Coaches saw the vast potential in their junior college transfer who didn't have the benefit of spring practices or summer workouts because of school obligations.
Flannigan arrived at UK in the first week of August and was tossed into the mix at a position of need. He showed tons of athleticism, but there were times when he struggled.
"It gets moving fast sometimes for guys in that first year," Coach Mark Stoops said.
"He was very much behind. There's always that balance of getting a talented guy but then somebody that understands what to do with all the different variations, all the different packages, blitzes and things that offenses do."
Flannigan didn't want to be the guy holding back the UK defense.
So the 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker from Missouri City, Texas, went to work. He tried to learn every step, every change, every nuance of every play in the book.
He tried to learn what teammates were doing, too, so he could be a part of the defense, not the one slowing it down.
"I just stayed in coach's pocket," Flannigan said of defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, who coaches linebackers. "I had questions, multiple questions. ... I was asking every question every chance I could."
At some point — it's hard to pinpoint exactly when for the linebacker and his coaches — a light flickered on for Flannigan.
He ended last season with 57 tackles, but more than 40 percent of those came in the final two games of the season with a career-high 12 tackles at Tennessee and then 11 more at Louisville along with a pass breakup.
Flannigan, UK's second-leading returning tackler, has been a steady player this spring. He's even caught the attention of new UK offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.
"(Dawson) doesn't know all of our defensive guys that well yet, but certain guys kind of pop out at you," Stoops relayed from a recent conversation with Dawson.
The senior linebacker "is playing more physical and he has that explosiveness. He's putting it altogether as far as what to do," Stoops added. "So that's been a big improvement for us."
The head coach went on to say that Flannigan is playing "with a little bit of an attitude and swagger," which the UK defense is going to need early in the season while younger players try to find their way — something all too familiar to the linebacker.
Flannigan feels confident that the next time his family gets to a game they won't be disappointed.
"I just feel good," he said of his play this spring. "I'm out there running around trying to make as many plays as I can. It just feels good, you know?"
Building ex citement sans spring game?
Kentucky's coach is still mulling over another open practice this weekend, but it's looking more and more likely that fans will get another chance to see the football team before spring practices officially wrap up on April 15.
Without a Blue-White Spring Game this season, UK has had to get creative in connecting with recruits and generating excitement. It sounds like Saturday will be a big recruiting day for that.
"We'll bring in our players' parents and we'll bring in recruits and have a big scrimmage and a cookout afterwards, spend some time with some kids," said Stoops, who opted not to move the spring game off campus while the $120 million stadium renovation is underway.
The spring games the past two seasons, which drew a combined 80,000-plus fans to Commonwealth Stadium, were exciting, Stoops said. UK will miss that part this year.
"The excitement we've had for the first two years for our fans and for recruiting, it's been a big help," Stoops said. "From that standpoint, it's going to be a big miss. We are going to miss that."
From an overall team perspective, it's a different story.
"We'll actually get more done with a practice and/or complete scrimmage than watering down two teams and trying to put a good product out there for the fans to be excited about," Stoops continued on Monday. "So from that standpoint not much."