Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Kentucky-Louisville football the day after

Louisville Cardinals running back Brandon Radcliff (23) scored the winning touchdown on a run as the University of Kentucky played the University of Louisville at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, November 28, 2015. This is fourth quarter action. Louisville won 38-24.
Louisville Cardinals running back Brandon Radcliff (23) scored the winning touchdown on a run as the University of Kentucky played the University of Louisville at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, November 28, 2015. This is fourth quarter action. Louisville won 38-24. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Sunday:

Louisville rallies from 21-0 deficit to beat UK, reports Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader. “I’m tired of the would’ve, could’ve, should’ves, just as the fans are,” Coach Mark Stoops said. “We’ve got to make those plays. And that’s when our program will grow, when we make those plays to win games.”

Kentucky doesn’t have an offensive identity, writes Mark Story of the Herald-Leader. “Yet, in his three years as UK head man, Mark Stoops often has seemed frustrated when his coordinators, first Neal Brown and now Dawson, have not called plays designed to take pressure off the Kentucky defense.”

Pressure awaits Mark Stoops in 2016, says my column. “That’s why this Governor’s Cup was the most important game of the Stoops’ Era. Beat Louisville and Kentucky would earn the program’s first bowl bid since 2010, easing the questions and criticism. Lose to Louisville, however, and the knocks would only multiply. And Kentucky lost.”

Lamar Jackson beat Kentucky with his feet, writes Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “I thought he really grew up,” said U of L Coach Bobby Petrino. “He made some great plays — running the ball, throwing it. I think that’s the thing that was good for me to see. He really concentrated on reading the plays. Not guessing and not making a predetermined decision.”

Mark Stoops has gone from Yahtzee to Sorry, writes Eric Crawford of WDRB. “Once again, Kentucky coaches were apologizing for not making a bowl game, for not beating their rival, and for not living up to the promise of a season in which they had eight home games, a renovated Commonwealth Stadium with new recruiting lounge, a $45 million practice facility on the way, an SEC East that turned out to be historically weak and two years of banner recruiting classes.”

Louisville owns this rivalry, writes Rick Bozich of WDRB. “This one earned a special category in the record book. Here is the reason: The 21-point hole became the largest deficit Louisville has overcome since year three of the Howard Schnellenberger Era when the Cardinals trailed 37-14 in the third quarter before beating Tulane 42-40 on Sept. 5, 1987.”

Jackson runs circles around Kentucky, writes Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal. Louisville’s freshman quarterback rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. He completed eight of 21 passes for 130 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Kentucky’s second-half collapse leads to another loss, writes Anthony Crawford of the Kentucky Kernel. “UK went into the half with all the momentum leading 24-7. Unfortunately for the Cats, there was another half to play. After trading three-and-outs, U of L started it’s scoring with a field goal. From there it was all Lamar Jackson and Louisville.”

Cats can’t contain a mobile quarterback again, reports Alex Forkner of the Cats Pause. “"We had some guys on the edge that were just getting outran and not playing with proper technique and not understanding where their help was within the defense,” said Stoops. “And he just flat out made some plays. He outran us and really made us look bad on the edge, on the perimeter on some plays.”

Kentucky completes another late-season collapse, reports Keith Taylor of KyForward. “I understand the frustration — believe me — very clearly,” Stoops said. “We’ve got to do a better job, but we’re going to do that. We’re going to go back to work. And we need to get a lot tougher in the offseason. It starts there. And it starts with the way we go about our business right away here in this offseason program.”

One loss more painful than most, writes Derek Terry of Cats Illustrated. A key stretch was when Louisville shanked a punt giving UK the ball at the Cardinals’ 25-yard line and the Kentucky offense ended up going backwards.

Kentucky blows a 21-point lead, reports Jeff Drummond of All Wildcats. “Leading big in the first half, the Cats missed a golden opportunity to put Louisville in a deeper hole by squandering great field position on four occasions. Drives that featured first down at the UofL 25, UofL 32 and UK 44 yielded no points. Another possession with first-and-goal at the 9 produced a field goal just before the half. That was four opportunities to put the game away, and UK would get only one scoring opportunity the remainder of the game.”

LSU will retain Les Miles after all, reports Scott Rabalais of The Advocate. “And even more than beating the Aggies, that groundswell of popular support may have gone as far as anything to keeping Miles employed at LSU. That and possibly the news out of Florida that Jimbo Fisher, LSU’s top candidate to replace Miles were there a change, was telling folks there he was staying at Florida State.”

No miracles left for Auburn in loss to Alabama, reports Michael Niziolek of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. “Auburn’s latest miracle in the Iron Bowl came a little too early. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson hit Jason Smith for an unbelievable 77-yard touchdown in the third quarter to make Saturday’s 80th rivalry matchup against Alabama a one-possession game at 19-13.”

Eight wins not enough for Tennessee, writes Mike Strange of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “We have a lot of momentum,’’ Butch Jones said after Tennessee’s fifth consecutive win was in the bag. “I believe we’re one of the best teams in the country and our players believe that.’’

South Carolina’s upset bid comes up short, writes Josh Kendall of The State. The Gamecocks fell 37-32 to top-ranked Clemson on Saturday to end their season at 3-9.

Georgia’s defense shuts down Georgia Tech, reports Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph. “This team keeps fighting,” running back Sony Michel said. “That’s who we are. We are going to keep fighting and finish the drill. That’s one of our slogans, and we are going to stick to it. Going into the bowl game, we are going to try to finish strong.”

Chad Kelly leads Ole Miss to romp over Mississippi State, reports David Brandt of the AP. “Chad Kelly threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead No. 19 Ole Miss over No. 23 Mississippi State 38-27 on Saturday night. Ole Miss (9-3, 6-2 Southeastern Conference, No. 18 CFP) jumped out to a 28-3 halftime lead and was never in serious trouble during the second half.”

Last 10 Kentucky-Louisville football games

  • 2015 - Louisville 38, Kentucky 24
  • 2014 - Louisville 44, Kentucky 40
  • 2013 - Louisville 27, Kentucky 13
  • 2012 - Louisville 32, Kentucky 14
  • 2011 - Louisville 24, Kentucky 17
  • 2010 - Kentucky 23, Louisville 16
  • 2009 - Kentucky 31, Louisville 27
  • 2008 - Kentucky 27, Louisville 2
  • 2007 - Kentucky 40, Louisville 34
  • 2006 - Louisville 59, Kentucky 28
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