UK Football

John Clay's notes: Winning close games what Missouri does best

Random notes:

■ It should come as no surprise that 3-0 Missouri, Kentucky's Saturday opponent, has won its last two games by a grand total of 10 points. Mizzou is the king of the close shaves.

Last year, the Tigers won six games by 10 points or less on the way to a second straight SEC East title. The Tigers beat South Carolina 21-20, Vanderbilt 24-14, Kentucky 20-10, Texas A&M 34-27, Tennessee 29-21 and Arkansas 21-14.

No other SEC team won more than three SEC games by 10 points or less last season. Kentucky won two.

This year, same as last year. After a 34-3 win over Southeast Missouri State in the opener, Gary Pinkel's club won 27-20 at Arkansas State, then edged Connecticut 9-6 last week.

A team wins that many close games, it stops being a coincidence.

■ Kentucky held Florida to 245 yards and lost last Saturday. The last time the UK defense tasted defeat after holding an opponent under 250 yards of total offense? The 1993 Peach Bowl when Clemson managed just 248 total yards but won 14-13 in Atlanta.

Between that game and Saturday, UK was 26-0 in games in which it limited the opponent to less than 250 yards.

■ We should have known Auburn would have trouble stopping Leonard Fournette when the Tigers had trouble stopping Louisville on the ground. The Tigers gave up 238 rushing yards to the Cards. LSU rushed for 411.

■ During the Bengals' 24-19 win over the Chargers last Sunday, Cincinnati offensive tackle Jake Fisher caught a pass on a tackle-eligible play for a 31-yard gain. That's the longest catch by an NFL offensive lineman in 27 years.

■ Not ready to write off Alabama just because the Tide got rolled by Ole Miss. It's tough to beat anyone when you turn the football over five times.

■ Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert set an SEC record by completing 24 of 25 passes in the Bulldogs' rout of South Carolina last Saturday.

Now comes news Lambert is dating Adeline Kenerly, who is to be crowned Miss Georgia at halftime of the Alabama-Georgia game on Oct. 3. The current Miss Georgia runner-up, she replaces Betty Cantrell who has been named Miss America.

■ After extending its winning streak over Kentucky to 29 games, Florida attempts to extend its winning streak over Tennessee to 11 Saturday.

■ I'm not judging Patrick Towles off his 8-for-24 passing performance last Saturday. The No. 1 job for any offense: Protect the quarterback. Kentucky didn't do that against the Gators.

■ As an AP college football poll voter, I kept Ohio State No. 1 this week despite its less-than-dominant effort against Northern Illinois. Urban Meyer's biggest job this year will be keeping the Buckeyes interested.

■ Eno Sarris of the website FanGraphs thinks that rookies Anthony DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias and John Lamb have set the Reds up to have a strong starting staff as soon as next year.

"No other team has gotten as much production from their rookie starters, after all," writes Sarris.

■ It would be so much fun if Louisville Coach Bobby Petrino started a different quarterback every game this season just because he can.

■ Say this for Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, he really knows how to get under the skin of fellow coaches.

After Texas Tech thumped Arkansas last Saturday, Tech Coach Kliff Kingsbury made no bones about wanting to make Bielema pay for remarks he made at a Texas high school coaches convention saying his team would kick the (butt) of Air Raid/spread teams.

■ It should be noted that Missouri blocked a punt and an extra point last Saturday in beating Connecticut. You've been warned.

■ If only there was a one-week fantasy football league with big cash payouts. Has anyone heard of such a thing?

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