Quick hitters from the Upton/Verlander wedding reception:
21. Hardest jobs in sports media. When it comes to game coverage, I’ve always believed the two most pressure-packed positions are photographer and radio play-by-play announcer.
20. The reason. In those professions, you have to capture the hectic action of a major sports event in real time.
19. Tom Leach. When Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf soared above Kentucky cornerback Lonnie Johnson for the game-winning touchdown catch with five seconds left in Ole Miss’s 37-34 win over the Wildcats on Saturday night, listeners to the UK radio broadcast initially got a very different version of the play.
18. Called a pass breakup. UK play-by-plan man Leach first described the play as an incompletion in which Johnson had broken up Jordan Ta’amu’s pass. Eventually, UK radio color analyst Jeff Piecoro cut in and said Metcalf had caught the ball for a TD.
17. Understandable confusion. In the Kroger Field press box, my seat is roughly five down from where Leach was. It was dark, the play was in the corner of the end zone and the officials did not immediately signal touchdown. I couldn’t tell in real time that Metcalf had caught the ball. Fortunately, I didn’t have to provide a contemporaneous account.
16. “Hate that it happened.” “No excuses,” Leach said Monday. “I jumped the gun (on the call). I’m glad Jeff stepped in and we got it corrected quickly. I hate that it happened.”
15. Watching game film. Leach said he has been studying film of the play “to learn what happened so it doesn’t happen again. I saw (Johnson’s) hand reach up (in front of Metcalf) and the ball was thrown to that hand. So when I saw a hand come in and knock the ball, I thought it was Lonnie. In retrospect, that hand I saw was actually Metcalf snatching the ball.”
14. Charles Walker. With Mississippi winning Saturday, people will not remember the remarkable catch UK senior wideout Walker made on a high Stephen Johnson pass to move the chains on third-and-3 from the Cats’ 31 during what became UK’s 95-yard, go-ahead drive in the fourth period.
13. “That was incredible.” Johnson said his pass “was obviously high, and (Walker) came down with a great catch. That was incredible.”
12. Kentucky pass defense. Mark Stoops, a former defensive backs coach, is UK head man. The Wildcats’ secondary is filled with veteran players. Yet the Cats are 120th out of 129 FBS schools in passing yards allowed (279.4 yards a game).
11. Taking it personal. At his Monday news conference, Stoops was asked if Kentucky’s struggles against the pass are even more disappointing because of his background. “It is to me, sure,” the UK coach said. “You’re asking me and I’m giving an honest answer. Sure, it’s disappointing to me.”
9. Grant McKinniss. With Panton out, UK will turn to its starting punter from last season, sophomore McKinniss, to kick at Vanderbilt. In doing so, it means asking McKinniss to trade a potential redshirt — and a full year of eligibility — to punt in one game.
8. A big sacrifice. “With the situation the way it is, (McKinniss is) our best option,” Mark Stoops said. “Every game is important. I talked to Grant about that, and he is willing to go do whatever is necessary to help the football team win. We appreciate Grant for his unselfishness.”
7. Jeff Brohm. In his first year as Purdue coach, the ex-Western Kentucky head man has been alternating two quarterbacks. That ended Saturday, however, when David Blough suffered a dislocated right ankle in a win over Illinois that has knocked him out for the season.
6. Elijah Sindelar. With Blough sidelined, former Caldwell County star and Kentucky 2014 Mr. Football Sindelar will have the Purdue QB job to himself. While alternating with Blough, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Sindelar has started four games.
5. Needs to dial in the radar. Sindelar, a redshirt sophomore, has completed only 53.3 percent of his passes (80-of-150), but has thrown for 1,103 yards and nine touchdowns.
4. Taveion Hollingsworth. Western Kentucky men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury told me last summer he does not believe WKU would have gotten Hollingsworth if the Hilltoppers had not signed the ex-Paul Laurence Dunbar star in last year’s early signing period.
3. Would UK have offered? Had the 6-2, 165-pound Hollingsworth, Kentucky’s 2017 Mr. Basketball, waited to sign in the spring, might he have gotten an offer from his hometown university? Remember, Kentucky spent last spring scouring the country looking for backcourt help.
2. Hot start. In the first two of Western’s three exhibition games, Hollingsworth is averaging 19.5 points and has made 16 of 23 field goal attempts.
1. Jake Ohmer. WKU’s other in-state signee, ex-Scott High star Ohmer, is also off to a strong exhibition start. The breakout star of the 2017 Sweet Sixteen has averaged 15 points in Western victories over Samford and Campbellsville and has made 11 of 22 field goals, five of 12 treys.