After an emotional, topsy-turvy week that was capped by Saturday's come-from-behind win over Arkansas, the Kentucky football team finds itself up against it once again.
A week after losing its No. 1 receiver, Dicky Lyons Jr., to a season-ending knee injury, the Wildcats found out Monday that its most productive running back, Derrick Locke, also suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Arkansas game. Locke, who led UK in rushing with 303 yards on 63 carries and was the second-leading receiver with 23 catches for 195 yards, tore both his ACL and MCL and will require surgery.
UK is also likely to be without Myron Pryor, who suffered a high ankle sprain Saturday.
Oh yeah, and Kentucky also must travel to No. 5 Florida this week. Going to The Swamp is a daunting enough task under normal circumstances, much less going as banged up as UK.
And the Gators seem to have hit their stride after some early-season struggles, laying a 51-21 smackdown on No. 11 LSU in their most recent game.
To top that off, Urban Meyer's squad is also well-rested, having an open date to heal some nagging injuries after the win over LSU. Wide receiver Percy Harvin, who has battled heel and ankle injuries all season, caught two touchdown passes (including a 70-yarder) against the Tigers.
"We know how good Florida is," UK Coach Rich Brooks said. "They put a whippin' on LSU like I haven't seen in a long time. And that's just what we need going down there, for them to be good and rested. It looks like they've found some answers after struggling a little bit early. It's a big challenge for us going down there."
But just think if the Wildcats had to go to Gainesville fresh off a lifeless loss to Arkansas.
"At this point of the season, winning or losing that game was going to determine how the rest of the season was going to go for us," defensive tackle Corey Peters said. "I think after that win, it re-energized us. We can still compete for our goal, which is winning the SEC East."
Perhaps just as important as getting the win was the way the Wildcats won it. The UK offense, whipping boys for much of the season, came through with two touchdowns in the final 4:15 to beat Arkansas.
"We've been waiting the whole season for that spark in the offense," quarterback Mike Hartline said. "It really did help. Obviously Florida's a great team, and especially playing them there, you have to play loose and with confidence. What we showed at the end of the game will give us confidence going into this game."
Cobb SEC Freshman of Week
UK receiver/quarterback Randall Cobb was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance against Arkansas last weekend. Cobb caught five passes for 73 yards and two TDs as UK pulled off a 21-20 come-from-behind win over the Razorbacks. Cobb's 32-yard TD catch brought the Cats to within six, 20-14, with 4:15 remaining, and his 21-yard reception tied the score with 2:21 left and set up Lones Seiber's game-winning extra point.
Hartline gets ESPN honor
Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline was one of six players from across the nation who received an ESPN helmet sticker on the network's "College Football Final" show on Sunday morning.
Hartline completed 17 of 32 passes for 239 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in Kentucky's victory over Arkansas. The rally tied the school record for the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in school history. In 2004, UK trailed Vanderbilt 13-0 in the final period before rallying to a 14-13 triumph.
It was the second time this season that Hartline has led a fourth-quarter victory. The Wildcats trailed Middle Tennessee 14-10 in the last period before coming back for a 20-14 win.
UK-MSU not selected for TV
The Nov. 2 UK-Mississippi State game will kick off at 2:30 EST, MSU announced on Monday. The game was not picked up for live broadcast.