Sidelines with John Clay

UK football rising; UK volleyball rolling; Tennessee’s quiet QB and more links

Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, left, and running back Benny Snell walked off the field following the Cats’ 24-10 victory against South Carolina.
Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, left, and running back Benny Snell walked off the field following the Cats’ 24-10 victory against South Carolina. aslitz@herald-leader.com

Some links for Monday:

Kentucky football moves up to No. 13 in the Associated Press Top 25, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. It is UK’s highest ranking since Rich Brooks’ 2007 Cats topped out at No. 8. That team also started the season 5-0.

UK had trouble selling tickets for its first two home football games. After the win over then No. 14 Mississippi State, Kentucky sold out Saturday’s 24-10 victory over South Carolina. There’s no substitute for winning, says my column.

Kentucky’s next opponent, Texas A&M, overcame a sluggish performance to beat Arkansas, reports Robet Cessna of the College Station/Bryan Eagle. “Texas A&M’s worst was good enough for the Aggies to continue their mastery over the Arkansas Razorbacks. A&M missed two field goals, threw two interceptions and converted only three first downs Saturday but still walked out of AT&T Stadium with a 24-17 victory in the Southwest Classic.”

Matthew Mitchell picked up a commitment from a Top 100 recruit for UK women’s basketball, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “Deasia Merrill, a 6-foot-2 forward from Villa Rica, Ga., tweeted that she’s planning to play for Matthew Mitchell at Kentucky.”

After a rough start, Kentucky volleyball is rolling, reports Josh Sullivan of the Herald-Leader. “On Sunday, UK knocked off Missouri 3-1 (21-25, 25-14, 25-17, 29-27) for its sixth straight victory to improve to 9-4 overall and 3-0 in the Southeastern Conference. A major factor in the Wildcats’ quick turnaround has been the play and leadership of an emerging young star who has stepped into some mighty big shoes.”

National analysts are now predicting a top five men’s basketball recruit will pick UK, reports Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “247Sports national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels is now predicting that five-star post player Isaiah Stewart will end up at Kentucky.”

Before its collapse, Louisville football showed signs of improvement, reports Jake Lourim of the Courier-Journal. The Cardinals dropped a 28-24 decision to Florida State on Saturday at Cardinal Stadium. “The running backs had their best game of the season. Trey Smith finished with 14 carries for 70 yards. Hassan Hall added 11 for 57. Before Saturday, Louisville’s season-high yardage by a running back was 58 by Dae Williams against Western Kentucky.”

Mississippi State struggling on offense, reports Tyler Horka of the Clarion-Ledger. “Kylin Hill normally runs angry on the field. Saturday night, the sophomore running back ran hot off of it. After Mississippi State punted for the fifth straight time late in the fourth quarter against Florida, Hill lost his temper. He appeared to berate head coach Joe Moorhead before some teammates pulled him away and cooled him down.” Florida defeated the Bulldogs 13-6.

Florida is playing to its strengths, reports Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun. “Will the Gators hit any big plays in the passing game? They hit one, and the pass was not delivered by (Feleipe) Franks, but by slot receiver Kadarius Toney, who took a lateral pass from Franks and then launched a 20-yard TD strike to tight end Moral Stephens midway through the third quarter. Franks completed a deep pass to Trevon Grimes inside the 10-yard line, but the play was negated by a holding penalty on offensive tackle Martez Ivey. In this case, one big play was enough.”

Kadarius Toney’s biggest play didn’t come as a receiver, reports Alanis Thames of the Miami Herald. “Dan Mullen’s words proved true in Florida’s 13-6 upset of No. 23 Mississippi State in Starkville. Toney’s number was finally called, and he became one of the most impactful players of the contest as a result. It wasn’t what Toney did with his legs and feet that had the biggest influence. It was his arm.”

LSU and Florida preparing for big game Saturday, reports Sheldon Mickles of The Advocate in Baton Rouge. “Florida leads the SEC and is second in the FBS in pass defense, allowing 140 yards per game, but the Gators could be vulnerable against the run. The Gators rank 12th in the SEC and 85th nationally in giving up 171 yards a game. But they lead the FBS with 14 takeaways.”

Tennessee not allowing its starting quarterback to meet with the media, reports John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Jarrett Guarantano probably won’t be remembered as one of Tennessee’s best quarterbacks. He will be remembered as the quietest.”

Georgia has a plan (sort of) at quarterback, reports Brandon Sudge of the Macon Telegraph. “As multiple questions arose from reporters about the quarterback rotations, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart didn’t have much to reveal. He tried to pull off his best acting move by seemingly starting to explain his reasoning, then paused. Smart’s eyes widened in frustration with reporters, a finger was pointed for dramatic effect, then the response was the same.”

Arkansas has now lost seven straight games to FBS opponents, reports Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “No current University of Arkansas football player — not even sixth-year senior defensive back Kevin Richardson — has beaten Texas A&M. The Aggies extended their winning streak against the Razorbacks to seven games by hanging on for a 24-17 victory on Saturday at AT&T Stadium.”

SEC football standings

EASTSEC

Overall

TeamWLWL
Georgia3050
Kentucky3050
Florida2141
Missouri0131
South Carolina1222
Vanderbilt0132
Tennessee0223
WESTSEC

Overall

TeamWLWL
Alabama2050
LSU2050
Auburn1141
Texas A&M1132
Miss State0232
Ole Miss0232
Arkansas0214





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