UK Football

Patrick Towles on LSU's crowd: Bring the noise, I'll bring the focus

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles threw for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns in the win over Louisiana Monroe, 48-14. 

The University of Kentucky hosted University of Louisiana Monroe, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington. Photo by Jonathan Palmer
Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles threw for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns in the win over Louisiana Monroe, 48-14. The University of Kentucky hosted University of Louisiana Monroe, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington. Photo by Jonathan Palmer Herald-Leader

If Patrick Towles wants to concentrate, don't put him in a library.

While discussing the prospect of playing in front of a rowdy 102,000 at Louisiana State's Tiger Stadium on Saturday, the Kentucky quarterback seemed unfazed.

In fact, he seemed excited by the prospect of going on the road to yet another hostile environment.

"I love playing on the road because it really helps me focus better," Towles said on Tuesday. "If I got a lot of people yelling, I know that, 'Hey, I gotta really focus right now.' So I like it. I hope they get as loud as they can."

Well, maybe not that loud.

The environment at the place they call "Death Valley" is unlike almost any other in the Southeastern Conference. Add to it that it's a Saturday night game and it gets even trickier.

LSU is 44-3 in Saturday night home games under Coach Les Miles.

If Kentucky were to go into Tiger Stadium and pull off the victory, it would be in rare — and top-rated — company.

The Tigers' three losses in that span were either against teams that were No. 1 at the time (Florida in 2008 and Alabama in 2012) or became No. 1, which is the case for Mississippi State, which topped LSU there this season.

Miles did his part to poke the Tigers this week.

"I want this stadium to be just like it's always been, a very live place for our opponents to witness a very, very noisy and very loud partisan crowd," he said Monday. "I want to encourage everybody to come out to the stadium and enjoy us, because we will enjoy you."

Kentucky might not enjoy it that much.

"Hostile environment," UK fullback D.J. Warren said of his last trip to LSU. "It's very, very loud. They have a lot of crazy fans that love their team, as they should."

When asked whether he could recall anything fans screamed at the Cats when they visited there last, Warren smiled.

"I can, but I don't think I can say that," the senior said. "It was a little out of hand. You know once they get that alcohol in them, there's no filter."

Both Towles and his coaches talked about the UK offensive game plan being effective at The Swamp a few weeks ago. They'll do many of the same things this time around.

Kentucky's ability to use a silent count helps, offensive coordinator Neal Brown said.

"We really had no issues down at Florida," he said. "I don't really expect us to. We practice in the indoor with loud music playing all the time. ... It is loud, though, and they've added a few thousand seats since last time I was down there."

Coach Mark Stoops said there's not a lot he can do to prepare Kentucky for the noise there.

"Crowd noise is not going to simulate what it's like down there at 7:30 kickoff," he said. "The good news is we've been to a hostile environment. ... I think we grew from that game, and hopefully we can take something away from it again."

2015 schedule unveiled

The league office announced the schedule of games to be played next season inside the shiny new Commonwealth Stadium.

Along with turf, new luxury suites and VIP seating, there will be a few more firsts in 2015.

The largest of those will be UK's first-ever Thursday night SEC game against Auburn on Oct. 15.

University and athletics officials already are working to iron out some of the logistical concerns involved with a Thursday night game that have kept UK from staging one before.

There is likely to be some logistical concerns about Halloween for UK and the city as the Cats host Tennessee on Oct. 31, the same weekend that the Breeders' Cup makes its first stop at Keeneland.

It will be the earliest that Kentucky and the Volunteers have met since 1909.

The $120 million renovated stadium will open with Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 5. It is one of eight home games on the schedule.

Kentucky will go on the road first to South Carolina (Sept. 12) for the first time in program history. For the past six seasons, UK had opened Southeastern Conference play against Florida.

After the trip to Columbia, though, UK will have plenty of time to enjoy its new stadium, with five straight weeks at home (including one bye week on Oct. 10), the Cats' longest home stand since 2001.

Those home games will be Florida (Sept. 19), Missouri (Sept. 26), Eastern Kentucky (Oct. 3) and then the Thursday night Auburn game on Oct. 15.

The Cats are meeting the in-state Colonels for the first time since 2009. UK leads that series 3-0.

After the long homestand, Kentucky will go to Mississippi State on Oct. 24 before returning home to face Tennessee.

Back-to-back SEC road games open November with games at Georgia (Nov. 7) and then at Vanderbilt (Nov. 14).

The Cats will end the season with two non-conference foes for the first time since UK joined the league in 1933, with games against Charlotte (Nov. 21) and then Louisville (Nov. 28).

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