UK Football

UK notes: Flying fists make Phillips furious

UK cornerback Martavius Neloms forced Vandy's Larry Smith to hurry a throw during the third quarter.
UK cornerback Martavius Neloms forced Vandy's Larry Smith to hurry a throw during the third quarter.

Things weren't entirely rosy for Kentucky during its 38-20 win over Vanderbilt on Senior Day Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.

Sophomore cornerback Martavius Neloms and Vanderbilt receiver Udom Umoh were ejected after exchanging punches midway through the fourth quarter.

Senior receiver Chris Matthews was assessed two personal fouls, one for spiking the ball in the end zone after catching a 55-yard TD pass from Mike Hartline.

Coach Joker Phillips was not pleased during his post-game news conference.

"We will not be that team," he said. "We will not be that team that has personal fouls. We will not be that team that's throwing punches, and I'm disappointed in that. We will get that corrected. It's really ridiculous for a guy to retaliate after somebody has thrown a punch on him. We will not tolerate that from our players here at Kentucky.

"It's not what we're about. We will not be about those types of things, throwing punches."

Sophomore linebacker Ridge Wilson accused the Commodores of dirty play.

"Their linemen, to their corners, to their running backs, they were all dirty," Wilson said. "They were pushing people after the play, saying a bunch of stuff, one of their guys even spit in DeQuin (Evans') face.

"There's always a bunch of stuff that goes on under the piles or after the play that people don't see."

Phillips said he'll have to wait on a ruling from the Southeastern Conference office about a potential suspension for Neloms for the regular-season finale at Tennessee on Nov. 27. Phillips said he had a talk with Neloms on the sideline about retaliation.

"(Neloms) mentioned, 'Am I supposed to let the guy punch me?'" Phillips said. "Yes, you are. You are supposed to let the guy punch you all day. Then from whistle to whistle, you punch him with your pads, not with your fists. So, yes, it was building up all day. He cannot get frustrated with that. He's got to continue to play. He's one of our better players, one of our better tacklers. We cannot afford to have Neloms on the sidelines with us."

Wilson admitted that it's often hard to turn the other cheek.

"For one, it's about pride," Wilson said. "But at the end of the day, you've got to think, 'Is it worth it? Is it worth it for me to hit this guy or get in a fist fight when we're winning and I know it's going to get me kicked out of the game?' "

Smallest crowd of season

Saturday's announced attendance of 60,391 was the smallest at Commonwealth Stadium this season. The crowd was also scarce for the Senior Day ceremony that took place 30 minutes before kickoff.

"I think there were a lot of people still in the parking lot still tailgating, and time kind of gets away from you," UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. "You look up at the clock, and all of a sudden you're hustling trying to get in there. But I'm glad the seniors got the reception they got, and I was thankful that the people who were in the stands were there to honor them. They're deserving, and a great group of guys."

Extra points

■ Randall Cobb broke UK's single-season record for all-purpose yards with 2,047, surpassing the 1,982 set by Rafael Little in 2005.

■ Junior safety Winston Guy recorded a career-high 18 tackles, the third-most in a single game in UK history.

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