UK Women's Basketball

Mark Story: The big thing to worry about as the UK football season moves forward

Louisville freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson
Louisville freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson Associated Press

Quick hitters from the Luke Bryan traffic jam:

21. The kryptonite of UK defenses. It has long been the mobile quarterback.

20. Never changes. Five different opposing QBs have run for touchdowns against the Cats (4-1) so far in 2015.

19. A new star every week. Louisiana-Lafayette's Jalen Nixon (five carries for 37 yards), Florida's Will Grier (12-61), Missouri's Maty Mauk (11-49) and EKU's Bennie Coney (9-30) have all hurt the Cats by foot.

18. Big challenges ahead. What's scary is the running QBs coming up on the UK schedule are better than the ones the Cats have played — think Mississippi State's Dak Prescott (217 yards rushing, three TDs), Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs (250 yards, three TDs) and Louisville freshman Lamar Jackson (435 yards, five TDs).

17. Patrick Towles. In his past six starts, the Kentucky quarterback has three games in which he's completed 69.5 percent or more of his passes — and three games in which he's been below 49 percent.

16. Drew Barker. Would the unused UK backup be a more consistent passer? No way to know. But we do know the past two times Barker performed under game conditions, he went 6-of-24 passing in a 2013 Conner High School playoff loss to Anderson County and 7-of-19 in UK's 2014 spring game.

15. Moral of the story. Assuming the unknown would automatically be an improvement over the known is fallacy.

14. A winning record. After UK's 34-27 overtime win over Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky's record in games started by Towles is 9-8.

13. A UK rarity. Since 1996, the only two UK starting QBs to leave Lexington with winning records are Mike Hartline (14-12) and — how about ya, Rocky Toppers — Matt Roark (1-0).

12. An early look at Russ Yeast? The 2017 UK football commitment, a wide receiver for Ohio's Fremont Ross High School, might get to play a high school game in Kentucky next season.

11. A Harrodsburg reunion? Woodford County Coach Dennis Johnson has reached out to Fremont Ross head man Craig Yeast, Russ's dad, about possibly opening next season in Versailles. Craig Yeast and Johnson were star players at Harrodsburg High School and standouts at UK.

10. Fingers crossed. Johnson said the Ohio school has things to resolve on its end before the game becomes a reality. "I know half of Harrodsburg would be there," Johnson said.

9. Johnson the coach. In his first year as Woodford County head man, the former NFL defensive end had his team off to a 3-2 start — before absorbing a 55-0 drubbing against Madison Central on Sept. 25.

8. Sleepless in Versailles. With an open date last week, Johnson said, "I haven't slept since that (Madison Central) game." Woodford will try to bounce back Friday night against Anderson County (3-3).

7. A UK Hoops recruit. Matthew Mitchell received a verbal commitment last month from 6-foot Chanin Scott, a class of 2016 wing from Myers Park High School in Charlotte, N.C. Scott is a three-star recruit, according to ESPN HoopGurlz.

6. Skal Labissiere. I just hope the NCAA resolves the 6-11 Kentucky freshman's eligibility situation in a timely manner.

5. NASCAR class. If you watched Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray last Sunday at Dover after they were eliminated from Sprint Cup championship contention, you saw two competitors handle disappointment as well as it can be done.

4. Ben Rhodes. The Louisvillian finished 13th in last weekend's Xfinity Series race at Dover. With only the season finale at Miami-Homestead (Nov. 21) left on the schedule of 10 races that Rhodes is running for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports, he has an average finish of 18th.

3. Tony Stewart. After the three-time Cup Series champion announced that 2016 would be his final full-time season, it means a second straight year in which Kentucky Speedway must find the appropriate way to say goodbye to an iconic driver.

2. Saying farewell. When four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon ran for the final time in Sparta in July, the Speedway presented him with specially labeled bottles of Kentucky bourbon produced by some of our state's top distillers.

1. Pressure back on. "When I saw the news, my first thought was, 'Now, what do we do for Tony?'" Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger said. "I don't know (what) yet. But we gotta do something for Tony."

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