By Maggie Davis on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
It was another wonderful day in the land of Kentucky basketball, as I had the opportunity to spend my Sunday afternoon with the Caliparis, the 2019-20 men’s team and, most importantly, the ladies of BBN. For the first time in a couple of years, the John Calipari (soon to be renamed the Ellen Calipari) women’s basketball clinic returned to Rupp Arena, and from what I saw, it was a big hit. Previous clinics have been held inside Memorial Coliseum, but this year’s venue allowed the women to get a real inside look into basketball’s most-famous building.
The day started with pictures and autographs, which means Ashton Hagans had to jump on Instagram Live at least a few times, of course. The ladies loved it.
Ashton Hagans (the king of Instagram live!) had to take a few videos during the autograph line with the ladies: pic.twitter.com/db9G8tNalO
— Maggie Davis (@MaggieDavisKSR) October 13, 2019
Next, the players got to be re-introduced to the women, which was especially nice for those who weren’t able to attend Big Blue Madness. Don’t worry, Immanuel Quickley still stole the show:
Didn’t see enough dancing? Don’t worry, the women at the clinic didn’t either. One attendee requested a dance off, and what do you know, the Cats come through with a dance off.
Quickley is the easy pick for best moves, but I think EJ Montgomery and Keion Brooks are sleepers in this competition.
And yes, before you ask, Coach Calipari did call Nate Sestina “white Nick” when he asked if he can dance. I also really appreciated the amount of John Wall dances that were included. Who’s your pick for the team’s best dancer?
The dancing was fun, but my personal favorite part of the event each year comes during the assistant coaches’ question-and-answer session with the women. For nearly an hour, the ladies had the chance to put the assistants on the hot seat and, for the most part, the coaches were pretty transparent. Here are some of the best moments from the Q-and-A.
Joel Justus began by explaining the sport’s latest rule changes, including the deeper three-point line, the 20-second shot clock following an offensive rebound, the ability to review goal tending (with an LSU game joke, of course) and the way officials can call unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. That last one led to a conversation about flopping, which gave Coach Justus the perfect opportunity to get in a Louisville dig.
He discussed the team’s annual preparation before the rivalry game, saying they had to teach the freshmen each year how to react when opposing players would flop and try to draw a charge. He’s referencing this, right?
Either way, he says things should be different now: “There’s a new coach at Louisville though, so they’re not teaching that anymore.”
Coach Kenny Payne was asked about the most-improved returning player, and he gave the honor to Immanual Quickley.
“The way he’s mentally approaching it is very different. Last year, he was second-guessing everything he was doing,” Payne said. “The biggest growth is when you see guys not worried about what we’re thinking; it’s hard to please coaches.”
Coach Payne also weighed in on arguably his favorite player, his son. Zan Payne is still coming off an injury, and his dad said he’s not where he wants to be shooting-wise just yet, but that’s not all his father wants for him.
“Brad [Calipari] was an example to my son of how you earn respect from your teammates; it’s your work ethic and your discipline. If he can walk away from this and earn his own place, I’m proud.”
Speaking of Brad Calipari, Coach Payne says he still checks in with the youngest Cal. Apparently, the last text he received from Brad read: “I didn’t realize how much I would miss being at Kentucky.”
And speaking of family ties, Coach Justus also weighed in on the idea behind a basketball “family.” Despite the one-and-done era, Justus discussed Kentucky’s ability to hold people together in the long-term, not just while everyone is still wearing their UK uniform. It’s certainly not just for social media: “It’s a real family and not just a hashtag.”
Coach Payne took it a step further.
“We’ve had guys like Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight, then it went to Anthony [Davis] and Michael Kidd Gilchrist. You’re in their life and they still call you and tell you how they’re doing,” Payne said. “Sometimes, we as fans… say ‘this year’s team is going to be just as good.’ But it’s not just an input. Each person coming into this program has to earn that, and we take it for granted sometimes just how good the players were the year before. We’ve had a hell of a basketball [program] here.”
And finally, there was this quote on Nick Richards’ shooting, which was pretty impressive during Friday’s Big Blue Madness.
“If we have seven guys that are good three-point shooters, do we need eight? I would say I’m ok with him shooting threes once or twice, but this team is going to need post play very bad,” Payne said. “His behind better be giving us some post play, even though he can shoot.”
Finally, the women got the chance to interact with the team’s strength and conditioning staff, who challenged them to a plank-off. Ellen Calipari and LEX18’s Jennifer Palumbo went head-to-head, and both put up strong performances.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) October 13, 2019
Put that on Instagram!
All in all, it was a fun day with the team and the women of the BBN. The annual event is just another great reminder of how special this program is, and how lucky we all are to be part of the BBN. For those in attendance, feel free to comment about your experience or tweet me, @MaggieDavisKSR. And for those of you who weren’t in attendance, we’ll see you next year!
By Maggie Davis on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
After a busy couple of weeks covering the Cats, the ladies of KSR had the opportunity to unwind and try out one of Kentucky’s newest luxuries: the spa at the Kentucky Castle, which just opened over the summer. Our fabulous Editor-in-Chief Tyler Thompson, our incredible business manager Maria Taustine and myself were treated like royalty by the staff, and we’ll definitely be making a return trip soon. Here’s a quick recap of our relaxing day, and some information about how you can experience it all for yourself.
When I say it was one of the coolest days of my life, I’m speaking literally. In other words, I decided to subject myself to -220 degree temperatures (in the name of self care and journalism, of course).
Behold, the magic of cryotherapy.
Before my three-minute session, I had no idea what cryotherapy is or what the benefits could possibly be to merit freezing yourself. But the staff at the spa were wonderful and explained everything: after you get out from the cold, your body sends oxygenated blood throughout your body, which leads to quicker healing. This science is similar to athletes using ice baths for recovery. A lot of athletes have taken to cryotherapy for post-workout or injury recovery, but it’s also beneficial for us non-athletes, as it can also help with insomnia, arthritis, general soreness and weak immune systems.
They also assured me it would be a different kind of cold – it’s not the same kind of cold you experience at a late November football game or on your walk from the parking lot into Rupp Arena in February. The tank uses nitrogen to cool your body, so it’s more of a “dry” cold. I’m a baby when it comes to the cool temperatures, so if I can do it, anyone can.
Plus, you get to wear these fun socks and slippers (no Antonio Brown feet here!)
We were also each treated to massages by Rachel, and we all agree it was the best massage any of us have ever had. Not to be dramatic, but Rachel may have changed my life; she found and fixed knots in my back I didn’t even know existed. We all spend a lot of time hunched over our computers for our jobs, and Rachel’s magic hands and lavender oils were the perfect remedy.
Next up on our itineraries were customized facials by the fabulous Twana. As a rookie spa visitor, I had no idea what I was in for, but my expectations were definitely exceeded. Twana used a combination of steam and serums and creams and warm towels and more, all of which left my skin feeling great. Mrs. Tyler even decided to buy a few of the skincare products to take home with her. Meanwhile, I also tried a fancy light that zapped the bacteria found under my skin.
If you’re going to let someone pick at your face, you better trust them as much as you trust Tyler Herro at the free throw line. Trust me when I say Twana went 3-for-3 from the charity stripe.
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Spent the morning being absolutely pampered at @thekentuckycastlespa. What a treat! Try it yourself and mention “podcast deal” to receive 20% off your first treatment. #TheOTTPodcast #wellnesswednesday #selfcare #treatyoself #castle
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You can learn more about the amazing spa by checking out their website HERE. When you book your appointment online, use promo code KSRSPA for 20 percent off your services and products. If you book over the phone, just mention KSR or the “podcast deal” to get your discount.
Remember the Kentucky Castle also has a delicious restaurant with seasonal, local offerings, as well as plenty of fun, community events. You can also contact me on Twitter @MaggieDavisKSR with any questions. Happy spa-ing!
By Maggie Davis on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
I’m spending my Sunday afternoon with the ladies of the BBN at John Calipari’s annual women’s clinic (more to come on that later!), and I already received some exciting scoop. The notorious Blue Coats are seeking new membership. For the first time in their long and storied history, the exclusive club is no longer just a “brotherhood.” They’re also accepting women.
I spoke with the president of the blue coats, Charlie Higginbotham, who gave me some insight into the legendary group of volunteers. Higginbotham also discussed the importance of accepting women in the prestigious group, saying the group is finally “joining the 20th century.” He says there are approximately 12 women already working as blue coats, but he’s hoping to add more before the start of basketball season.
Currently, there are around 200 blue coats, and they’re looking for approximately 25-30 new members. It’s an impressive but busy life for those in the club. For every home football game, Higginbotham says they need approximately 200 volunteers; for basketball games, the number is closer to 130. You can find them at various UK Athletics events, and they help with the boys’ and girls’ high school Sweet 16 inside Rupp Arena. You can also find them at “specialty” events related to the university, such as Sunday’s women’s clinic.
The Blue Coats pay $90 in annual dues, which includes the name tag and tie (you’ll have to get the actual blue coat separately!).
How excited is Higginbotham to grow the group? He said I could put his personal email address on this post for those interested in joining the legendary group. Send an email to [email protected] for more information and an application to wear the most famous blazer in the Bluegrass.
By John Reecer on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 5:30pm
Another week has come and gone in the college football season. The SEC consistently gives the sport amazing games, moments, and players. Here are my five biggest takeaways in the conference from week six.
1. The First Big Upset
Just when we all thought this college football season was becoming too boring and too predictable, South Carolina made us remember why this sport is so special.
Their double-overtime victory over No. 3 Georgia sent shockwaves throughout the entirety FBS football. Make no mistake here: this was a monumental loss for the Bulldogs. Remember Ohio State’s only loss last season to a not-so-great Purdue team which kept them out of the playoff? Well, that should be the exact same situation here.
Yes, its great for the Gamecocks that they won, but they still aren’t a good team. In fact, they may be worse than Purdue was last season. What I am saying here is that unless a decent amount of chaos happens in front of them, this loss will keep the Bulldogs out of the playoffs.
Man, Georgia players’ Twitter accounts are gonna be LIT during the Playoff this year. Again.
— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) October 12, 2019
However, Georgia's chances to reach the Playoff have dropped to 16 percent, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor. https://t.co/DE7ML3DElf
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 12, 2019
All signs point to LSU and Alabama being the two teams from the conference who will get in, and there is no earthly way the committee lets three SEC teams in. I honestly think Georgia is already missing the playoffs. It will take a massive upset from the Tigers or the Crimson Tide to get Georgia back into the picture.
Meanwhile, this does throw the SEC East into a bit of an interesting situation now. Florida and Missouri have a legitimate chance to win the division if they just beat Georgia head-to-head. Time will tell how it all plays out, but I will hammer home my Missouri opinion: they will sneak up on people. This loss now leaves the door wide open for them.
2. LSU Proves Its Worth Again
Another almost-perfect performance from Joe Burrow gives the Tigers another victory over a top-10 team. This time, it came over a Florida squad that actually played one of its best games of the season. Losing by just two touchdowns in Death Valley isn’t all that bad.
But the real story here is the Tigers. They have the best two victories out of anyone in college football (Texas, Florida) and they should absolutely be the No. 1 ranked team in the country right now.
My @AP_Top25 ballot for @Stadium this week. My new No. 1: LSU. Three Big Ten teams in my Top 7. Four new teams ranked this week: Minnesota, Cincinnati, Appalachian State & Tulane https://t.co/iRnyDH9fTU
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) October 13, 2019
Of course, the good ole’ Alabama love affair that so many still have with Crimson Tide is strong as they are still ranked No. 1 this week. Don’t get me wrong, they are of course really good. But their wins don’t even begin to compare with LSU’s.
Anyways, LSU will be truly put to the test over the next three weeks as they play Auburn and Alabama back-to-back. I believe in Burrow and company this year, but that stretch will define how far the Tigers will go this season.
3. Bowden Saves Kentucky
All of Big Blue Nation owes a sincere “thank you” to Lynn Bowden.
He came in and played quarterback for the majority of the last night’s game with Arkansas, and basically won the contest for the Wildcats.
Kentucky's leading WR Lynn Bowden Jr. made his first start at QB. All he did was:
196 rush yards
1 conference win
— ESPN (@espn) October 13, 2019
If Kentucky had lost the game, there would’ve been a very good chance that the Wildcats were not going to make a bowl game. However, you can put those worries away for the moment.
Standing at 3-3 overall and 1-3 in SEC play, Kentucky has to get three wins out of Georgia/Missouri/Tennessee/Vanderbilt/UT-Martin/Louisville. UT-Martin and Vanderbilt should give UK five wins while Georgia and Missouri will probably put them at five losses.
How far the Wildcats go this season will depend on their performances against Tennessee and Louisville. Considering that both of those teams got big wins on Saturday, Kentucky still needs to further improve to get that sixth win.
4. Alabama Rolls On
The Crimson Tide won in typical fashion on Saturday over Texas A&M — Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdowns in what was a great day for his offense.
Another big game from Tua as Alabama scores 45+ points for the 5th straight game ? pic.twitter.com/gfCaJ8oo52
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 12, 2019
However, I’m still concerned about Alabama’s defense. They look considerably worse than last year, and they had another questionable day against the Aggies.
While a team like Clemson can completely shutdown Kellen Mond, he can still get over 350 yards of offense and three total touchdowns on the Crimson Tide.
Look, Tua will keep Alabama in any game it will play. But if they go up against the likes of Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Joe Burrow, and yes, Jalen Hurts, I don’t see it going well for the Crimson Tide.
Time will tell how much the defense improves, but I still think they have a long way to go.
5. Tennessee Finally Finds Some Success
For this week’s most underrated takeaway, I’m going with Tennessee’s big win over Mississippi State. The Volunteers have finally learned how to win a football game, and yes, it is surprising.
All jokes aside, they controlled their game with the Bulldogs which is not great news for Kentucky. Tennessee still has talent on their team. I had them pegged for seven wins this season which admittedly doesn’t look like a great prediction now.
Let’s check in on the locker room … pic.twitter.com/XEcXoom0BG
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) October 12, 2019
However, I still think they can absolutely make a bowl game. Still left on their schedule is South Carolina, UAB, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt. Quite frankly, those are all winnable games for the Volunteers.
If Jarrett Guarantano can play like he did yesterday against Mississippi State (6/7, 106 yards), then I think those four wins could very likely happen for Tennessee. Despite how they started out, the length of the college football season may prove to be the Volunteers’ saving grace.
By Maggie Davis on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
Kentucky’s victory over Arkansas was vital for the Wildcats’ bowl dreams, the team’s morale and the fanbase’s commitment to the remainder of the season. That’s what really mattered Saturday night. However, Kentucky’s win also gave Coach Mark Stoops some extra “cred.” Saturday’s victory was Stoops’ 39th ‘W’ as UK’s head coach.
With the win, Stoops ties Coach Rich Brooks for the No. 5 spot on Kentucky’s all-time winningest coaches list. Bear Bryant leads the list with 60 wins, followed by Blanton Collier and Jerry Claiborne, who are tied with 41 wins each. The victory also gave Stoops his 29th home win with the Wildcats, tying him with Coach Collier and Fran Curci for third place in school history.
Stoops’ win-loss record at Kentucky is now hovering near 50 percent – he’s currently sitting at 39-42 (48.1 percent). Could we see Mark Stoops also become only the third coach in UK football history to surpass a .500 win coaching record? Bear Bryant did it (60-23 for 72 percent), as did Blanton Collier (41-36 for 53 percent). Coach Curci was close (47-51), but he didn’t quite get there before the end of his tenure; Mark Stoops could.
With just six games left on the schedule, Stoops would have to win five of those outings to claim the accomplishment this season. That’d be tough, but it makes it clear just how close Coach Stoops is to actually breaking the .500 line. If the Cats can grab another handful of wins this season, Stoops will be set up to break 50 percent next year.
His 39 wins already puts Coach Stoops ahead of Coach Charlie Bradshaw (1962-68), John Ray (1969-72), Bill Curry (1990-96), Hal Mumme (1997-2000), Guy Morriss (2001-02), and Joker Phillips (2010-12).
By Sam Gormley on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
Lynn Bowden ran wild and the Cats picked up an exciting victory over Arkansas last night at Kroger Field. With Arkansas scoring on the second play of the game and the offense starting slow, social media began to buzz about this being another “letdown.”
A win over a 2-3 Arkansas is not necessarily “sexy,” but considering the circumstances, this is was a win that was completely needed.
Here is what people were saying on social media after the win:
On Lynn Bowden
— Paul Washington Jr (@PJWashington) October 13, 2019
ESPN TOTAL QBR WEEK 7
1 Malcolm Perry/NAVY 99.4
2 Evan Conley/LOU 99.2
3 Tyler Huntley/UTAH 98.9
4 Joe Burrow/LSU 98.1
5 Jack Coan/WIS 96.6
6 Trevor Lawrence/CLEM 96.4
7 Lynn Bowden Jr/UK 95.7
8 Chase Cord/BSU 94.6
9 Jack Plummer/PUR 91.9
10 Tua Tagovailoa/BAMA 91.8#CFB150
— CFB Focus ? (@cffmwachsman) October 13, 2019
I sat next to an Arkansas media member last night who didn't know a lot about Lynn Bowden. He said "Your QB can return punts? What can this guy not do?" pic.twitter.com/ZaXKFvjZje
— Adam Griggs (@businessraptor) October 13, 2019
Lynn Bowden on playing QB on the day UK honored Jared Lorenzen: "It’s very special. All the film they showed us throughout the week, I feel sorry for his family. He was a great guy, he was a legend here. I don’t want to talk about it, I might start tearing up. Too many cameras."
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) October 13, 2019
— Darius West (@D_1west25) October 13, 2019
I L O V E you #BBN ? hell of a team win all glory to God
— Lynn Bo (@LynnBowden_1) October 13, 2019
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 3:03pm
2020 No. 2 prospect Cade Cunningham just finished up his official visit to Kentucky, and things apparently went very well for the Wildcats.
Over at 247Sports, recruiting insider Evan Daniels just submitted a Crystal Ball pick for the 6-foot-7 superstar in favor of Kentucky.
Long seen as a strong Oklahoma State lean following the hiring of his brother, Cannen Cunningham, to the Cowboy coaching staff, momentum for both North Carolina and Kentucky has picked up over the last several weeks. After the Tar Heels picked up steam as the brief co-favorite with OSU back in late September prior to his official visit to the school, Kentucky has since surpassed UNC, with the Wildcats and Cowboys seen as the top contenders during the home stretch of Cunningham’s recruitment.
This weekend, Cunningham spent much of his official visit to Lexington with Kentucky commits Terrence Clarke and Lance Ware, along with 2021 top-three forward and reclassification candidate Paolo Banchero.
After the visit, Clarke took to social media to tell the Big Blue Nation to “talk to (his) boy.”
— Terrence Clarke (@terrenceclarke_) October 13, 2019
Cunningham is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks and sign during the early signing period in November.
This is big. Really big.
By Brandon Ramsey on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
After two Top 10 teams suffered their first loss of the season there was a little extra shake up in this week’s Coaches Poll. However, the top remained unchanged with Alabama and Clemson holding down the #1 and #2 spots respectively. LSU made the jump to #3 after their very impressive 42-28 victory over Florida. The loss dropped the Gators down only two spots to #9 while Georgia dropped 7 positions to #10 after being upset by South Carolina.
Wake Forest, Virginia, Memphis, and Texas A&M dropped out of the Top 25 this week while Cincinnati (#21), Washington (#23), Appalachian State (#24), and Temple (#25) made new appearances. The Southeastern Conference features 5 teams in the top 11 of this week’s Coaches Poll. To see the full Top 25 you can click HERE.
By Sam Gormley on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 2:30pm
The opening line for Kentucky’s game against Georgia has been set. The Cats will open as 27-point underdogs to the defending SEC East Champions.
Georgia is coming off of an embarrassing home loss to South Carolina so it is safe to say they will be fired up in between the hedges to be sure it doesn’t turn into two. In that game, kicking sensation Rodrigo Blankenship missed two field goals, including the game winner, and quarterback Jake Fromm threw three interceptions. In the most recent AP Top 25 poll, Georgia fell from #3 to #10.
Kentucky is coming off an exciting victory over Arkansas. Behind wide receiver Lynn Bowden at quarterback, the Cats ran down the Razorbacks’ throat en route to a home victory.
On the season, the Cats are 4-2 against the spread while the ‘Dawgs come in at 3-3.
Now I would be the first person to admit that I am probably the last person to give you betting advice, but I think this line is pretty dead on. It is still presumed that Sawyer Smith needs time to heel and I am not sure the Bowden schtick at quarterback can work against a defense as talented as Georgia’s. This all goes without mentioning that Georgia is coming off of an embarrassing loss at home. It doesn’t feel right for the Cats.
For more informed betting advice, definitely listen to Matt and Drew’s “Free Money Podcast.” If you’re like me and not a huge gambler, still check it out, because you always get more than just football talk.
Bet responsibly and Go Cats!
By Maggie Davis on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 1:30pm
Kash Daniel served as one of Kentucky’s captains during the Cats’ matchup against Arkansas, and he certainly brought the energy before the game had even officially started.
In this video, captured and tweeted by Lacy Robinson, you can see Daniel clearly playing the air guitar before the coin flip. It’s hard to tell what music was playing, but Daniel was definitely feeling it.
— Lacy Robinson (@LacyNFDA) October 12, 2019
On the night, Daniel totaled five tackles – four by himself and two that were tackles for loss.
By Maggie Davis on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 1:15pm
It’s official: the Kentucky Wildcats will face-off against the Georgia Bulldogs at 6:00 p.m. in Athens next Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN. The selected time slot was one of two options for the Wildcats’ fight against Georgia; the other option was a 3:30 kickoff on CBS.
The SEC also announced the kickoff times for two other conference match-ups next week:
Final TV selections for games of Oct. 19:
Florida at South Carolina, 12pm ET/11am CT on ESPN
LSU at Mississippi State, 3:30pm ET/2:30pm CT on CBS
Kentucky at Georgia, 6pm ET/5pm CT on ESPN
Other game times and networks were previously announced.
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) October 13, 2019
In case you missed it, No. 3 Georgia fell to South Carolina 20-17 at home last night in an absolute stunner of a game that went to double overtime. Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship ended the game with a miss on a 42-yard attempt.
One thing is certain: the Bulldogs will be angry come next Saturday at 6 p.m.
By Adam Luckett on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
There was no hiding from the fact that this was a monster game for the Kentucky football program. The team was fresh off embarrassing road losses to both Mississippi State and South Carolina after blowing a double-digit lead against Florida. Dealing with all kinds of quarterback injuries, the Wildcats had to figure out some type of spark in the bye week.
The decision was to move Lynn Bowden, Jr. to full-time quarterback and the gamble paid off after two weeks of preparation. The Youngstown, Ohio native was exhilarating in his first career start and Wildcats went on a 24-7 blitz in the final 35 minutes to win the football game.
Behind a unique offensive performance and a defense that made some timely stops, the Wildcats gave Mark Stoops his first SEC West win over a school not named Mississippi State and set UK up to have a nice finish in the last six games.
The Wildcats collected 418 yards (330 rushing, 88 passing) on 66 plays and put up 6.3 yards per snap. That was the offense’s second highest output of the season and their highest in an SEC game since the road win at Florida. The chunk play returned with the Wildcats collecting six plays of 20-plus yards with four of them occurring in the final quarter.
Lynn Bowden’s 51-yard run didn’t ice the game, but his 15-yard sprint on the next snap certainly did. The dual-threat quarterback finished with 196 rushing yards on 24 carries and he would have certainly got to the 200-yard mark if Kentucky doesn’t go to the victory formation on the final two plays. He provided the juice, but UK needed their running backs to do some heavy lifting.
A.J. Rose and Kavosiey Smoke combined for 135 yards on 27 carries to help power this ground game in between attempts from Bowden. Each provided a big play in the fourth quarter as Kentucky pulled away from the Hogs. The Wildcats are still struggling with their short-yardage offense, but when you rush for over 300 yards you are going to win a lot of football games. It was the sixth time they’ve reached that feat under Eddie Gran and the Wildcats are 5-1 when they hit that number.
It was a run heavy attack, but you still have prove you can throw the football. While this is never going to be an offense that goes all in on the pass with Bowden behind center, the future NFL wide receiver showed he can make some necessary throws to move the chains. The most impressive happened on a third-and-long in the red zone.
The star player can deliver the fade and also made some nice throws to Justin Rigg across the middle. He missed Christopher Rodriguez, Jr. on a beautifully designed throwback in the third quarter but otherwise did what he was asked. He’s limited as a passer, but can make more throws than you would think.
Whenever you have that big of day on the ground, your guys in the trenches have to be putting some work in. Again, the short-yardage offense needs work, but UK was moving people in the run game. The group gave up just one sack in limited in pass pro snaps, but also got some help from the tight ends. Keaton Upshaw had a beautiful downfield block to spring Lynn Bowden, Jr. on a 24-yard touchdown to put UK up for good in the final quarter. However, the Wildcats lost Landon Young to injury in the final quarter and his status will be something to monitor closely moving forward.
The performance by the offense was huge boost for the program for a lot of reasons. There was no denying that this group stunk up the last two games and Kentucky’s season would have been headed for a disaster if they didn’t fix things fast. With two weeks to prepare, they went all in on the Lynn Bowden, Jr. experience and it paid off.
UK established the run, converted third downs, scored on red zone trips, and created splash plays. This success allowed them to establish the tempo and make Arkansas play on their terms. That hasn’t happened the last two games and that will have to remain a trend if Kentucky hopes to continue winning football games.
Kentucky allowed 305 yards (183 rushing, 122 passing) on 57 plays and that was a yards per play total of 5.4. For the third time this season, UK held its opponent to 5.5 yards per less and that should win you some football games. With Nick Starkel struggling, the pass defense excelled while the run defense still needs a lot of work.
Rakeem Boyd entered tonight as the SEC’s second leading rusher and he showed why on the second play from scrimmage. The slasher can house it when given a crease and UK got stretched thin immediately out of the gate. After settling in, the Wildcats gave up 6.1 yards per carry and it was the second time this season an opponent put up that large a number. However, thinks to the style of a Chad Morris offense, the Hogs only attempted 27 non-sack rushes and that was a good thing because they put up over 201 yards in a small amount of attempts. This is a huge concern going into Athens next week.
There’s no hiding from the fact that the Wildcats are extremely young in the secondary and that youth is getting thrown to the fire. Brad White is playing a ton of freshman and sophomores in the backend and with that comes some growing pains. There were multiple coverage penalties, but other than that this group continues to grow.
Tonight might have been that group’s best work as they held a pass happy offense to less than 50 percent completions and just 4.5 yards per pass. This was the lowest total of the season for the Hogs and it was clear UK was ready for the challenge. After Nick Starkel was pulled, Ben Hicks had some success but the pass rush delivered when it was needed most.
Calvin Taylor, Jr. continues to play excellent football and the redshirt senior collected a huge third down sack to take Arkansas out of the red zone down just four. T.J Carter followed it up with a pressure on the next play that created a turnover on downs. Quinton Bohanna recorded the second sack of his career on a third down earlier in the fourth quarter and Boogie Watson continues to answer the bell by recording a sack fumble in the first quarter.
The Wildcats gave up too many third down conversions (6-of-13), but they did get some timely stops against the SEC’s worst red zone offense. Outside of the long run to begin the game, the last two Arkansas scoring drives were a product of possession that started inside the UK 35. The defense was put in some bad spots and they answered the challenge while showing some growth along the way.
Grant McKinniss continues to be a great kickoff specialist and the former punter now has a touchback rate of 82.1 percent as he is helping to eliminate any return opportunities. Max Duffy continues to do his thing with two punts downed inside the 20 with another one going 50-plus yards. However, Duffy punted out of his endzone and outkicked his coverage a bit and that setup Arkansas with a very short field that would result in a touchdown. However, Matt Ruffolo was the story of the night.
The walk-on missed a 47-yard attempt in the second quarter, but drilled one from 51 yards on UK’s first possession of the third quarter. After a sack and false start killed a promising drive, UK’s new kicked saved the team with a big kick to help keep the momentum building. UK should feel good about their kicking situation moving forward.
There were some issues in punt return and they were mainly due to a muff by Josh Ali on the first punt by Arkansas. UK was fortunate to recover and if they didn’t it could have been a totally different game. In the kick return department, Zach Johnson was very serviceable in putting up 48 yards in two returns.
There is no hiding from how big this game was for Kentucky. A loss likely meant a 5-7 season at best with your bowl streak ending while a win still gives you a legit chance at a 7-5 record and some momentum moving forward. With major quarterback issues and a hangover after the Florida loss that lasted two weeks, the Wildcats needed some juice. They got that from the best player on the team.
After a couple games of getting impatient with establishing the run, UK had to stick with the game plan this week after a slow start and it paid off. With some nifty option plays and some creation from a dynamic playmaker, Kentucky had their best offensive night of the season and gained some swagger that was lost in that fourth quarter loss to Florida.
The Wildcats are at their best under Eddie Gran when they are able to run the ball at will and throw no more than 20 times. This is where the coaching staff is most comfortable and that was easy to see in the win. The Wildcats were able to keep their defense fresh while riding an offensive line that led the way to over 300 yards being recorded on the ground. The result was exactly what the program needed and doing it after being down 13-0 makes it even more impressive.
Big picture moving forward is that Kentucky should have won that game. The Wildcats have a better roster than Arkansas at the moment and with an extra week to prepare, they should have been able to scheme up some things for Lynn Bowden, Jr. to have success at quarterback. Sometimes that can be easier said than done and we got to see some proof of concept on Saturday.
Moving forward, the Wildcats need to build on all the positives. The dominant ground game appears to be back and we should see a group that plays confident in the final six games. After the win, the staff now knows what Bowden is most comfortable with on the ground game and can now work to build the passing attack. A young defense continues to grow and now must figure out how to start fast. There’s plenty more things to grow with four home games remaining and a very winnable road trip to Nashville.
On to Georgia.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 12:30pm
Kentucky basketball will host one of the nation’s top forwards next weekend.
According to Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader, 2020 five-star forward Scottie Barnes will take an official visit to Kentucky for the school’s annual Blue-White Scrimmage.
NEW: Top 10 recruit Scottie Barnes told me that he’s planning to take an official visit to Kentucky this weekend. More on Barnes, his recruitment and his thoughts on UK … https://t.co/uQWxSCiOYL
— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) October 13, 2019
In an interview with Roberts at the Team USA Minicamp this weekend in Colorado Springs, CO, Barnes said that Kentucky is a legitimate option for him as his recruitment comes to a close in the coming months.
“The goals I really want, Kentucky really brings to that table,” Barnes told the Herald-Leader. “I want to be a one-and-done, get to the league. And not just be in the league for a few years — they proved that they really get people to the league and they stay 10, 15 years. I want to be like that in the future.”
As we have heard John Calipari preach over the last several weeks, Kentucky’s massive financial success in terms of its NBA talent is resonating with elite high school talent like Barnes.
“He really talked to me about what he can do for me as a player,” Barnes said. “He talks to me about my goals and dreams, and how he can really make those come true.”
Barnes, who cut his official list down to eight back in February, recently said he would focus on four schools moving forward: Oregon, Florida State, Kentucky, and Miami (FL).
This weekend, however, Adam Zagoria reported that the top-ten prospect has cancelled his upcoming visit to Miami and will no longer consider the Hurricanes.
Scottie Barnes will no longer visit Miami the weekend of 10/18 and isn't expected to visit at all, per sources. FSU and Oregon are the clubhouse leaders.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) October 12, 2019
Jerry Meyer of 247Sports compares Barnes to former Kentucky forward Jared Vanderbilt, highlighting the 6-foot-9, 215-pound prospect’s elite motor and rebounding skill.
“(Barnes is a) top-level athlete with tremendous length for a combo forward,” Meyer said of the five-star forward on his official player scouting report. “Elite-level motor and competes at a top-of-the-charts level. Can defend any position on the court. Rebounds outside of his area. High-level passing ability. Extremely dangerous starting the break after a defensive rebound. Also, a lethal finisher. Scores very well off the dribble inside 15 feet. Has a lot of room to improve as a shooter. Projects as a one-and-done and possible top-five pick.”
Check out some of his most recent highlights below:
Watch this one closely, BBN…
By Zack Geoghegan on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
The Queen of KSR is now the Queen of UK.
Congratulations to the brilliant and talented Maggie Davis as she was named the University of Kentucky Homecoming queen during halftime of the Wildcats Saturday night win over Arkansas.
Standing next to the elected king, Jonathan Thomas, Davis was named the winner after a talent show and a student voting poll that was open throughout the week.
If you didn’t already know, Davis, who graduates this May, spent the summer of 2019 as an intern for ESPN in Los Angeles and has also served as an intern for Hey Kentucky! She’s been a writer here at KSR for over three years, covering everything from men’s and women’s basketball, to football, to off-campus issues, and everything in between. On top of majoring in broadcast journalism (while minoring in political science and digital media and design), Davis is also a Singletary Scholar in the Lewis Honors College and is an active participant in the Chi Omega sorority, where she has held leadership positions such as New Member Educator. After she graduates, Davis plans on pursuing a career in sports broadcasting.
Fun fact, Davis was brought on to KSR as a senior in high school, making her the youngest hire in KSR history.
Here is her official response when I told her I would do the honor of writing up this humble brag post: “I’m so weak hahahha”
We are singing “One Shining Moment” in the press box pic.twitter.com/39F1MVAu3E
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) October 13, 2019
Congratulations to Maggie! I hope you know that Jack and I only make fun of you out of love and a serious case of jealousy.
We stan the KSR Queen.
By Eli Mitchell on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 11:00am
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mike Edwards) vs. Carolina Panthers
Mike Edwards is across the pond as two division foes match up in London. Edwards has a tough challenge ahead of him with Christian McCaffery playing at an unreal level.
New Orleans Saints (Larry Warford) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (Josh Allen)
Following a tough loss in Carolina the Jags are back in Duval to play the Teddy Bridgewater led Saints. Josh Allen is off to a solid start, totaling 17 tackles and 3 sacks in just five games.
Houston Texans (Lonnie Johnson Jr.) @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Texans defense has its hands full today as Pat Mahomes tries to bounce back from a tough loss last week. Johnson must be ready to play as Tyreek Hill returns from injury to provide even more explosiveness for the Chiefs.
Atlanta Falcons @ Arizona Cardinals (Corey Peters)
The Cardinals finally got their first win of the year last week, and Kliff Kingsbury has the offense playing at a high level. The Falcons are fighting for their life as they are in the midst of a three game losing streak.
Tenneesee Titans (Wesley Woodyard) @ Denver Broncos
Wesley Woodyard is excited to face some old teammates as he spent the first seven years of his career in Denver.
Dallas Cowboys (Randall Cobb) @ New York Jets
The Cowboys are looking to bounce back after dropping two straight. Cobb had three catches for 53 yards last week, and should see more targets against a beat-up Jets secondary.
Pittsburgh Steelers (Benny Snell Jr., Bud Dupree) @ LA Chargers
A huge week for Benny Snell Jr. as he is officially RB2 for the Steelers due to the injury of Jaylen Samuels. An increased workload on Sunday Night Football is exactly what Snell has been waiting for.
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers (Za’Darius Smith)
The Packers may be the most improved team in the NFL, and much of that has to do with the production from Za’Darius Smith. The former Kentucky star is tearing the league up with five sacks through five games.
By Daniel Dunston on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 10:30am
BS: The Joker is without a doubt the most iconic supervillain that the world will ever know, and will almost certainly never be outshined by anyone else. He’s one of those characters that is so much in the American lexicon that even the most lackadaisical grandmother out of Middlesboro could identify the character just by the name alone. Each film iteration of the character brings something completely new and original and has become something of a character piece for whoever decides to take on the role. From the unbridled chaos of Heath Ledger’s take on the character, Jack Nicholsons’s gleefully evil portrayal, and Jared Leto’s used condom laced antics behind the scenes, each actor has brought something different each time. The movie Joker found it’s star in character actor Joaquin Phoenix who certainly adds a lot of his signature commitment to the role and the movie is certainly better because of it.
DD: Let’s take a moment before we really get too lost in the review to at least set the stage of the film. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to spoil anything that isn’t in any of the trailers. Joker is about Arthur Fleck, a n unsuccessful comedian who lives with his mother and struggles with mental illness in his day to day life. Throughout the film you follow Arthur as his life takes twists and turns until he finally reaches a breaking point. It is at this breaking point that he finishes his transformation into the Batman comic book villain, the Joker. On the whole, the movie is a character piece about what makes someone change from a relatively normal life and become the Clown Prince of Crime.
Phoenix really goes all in on his role as Arthur Fleck, giving a very nuanced performance especially at the beginning of the film when he is primarily just someone suffering through mental illness and a general lack of hope. His performance is the centerpiece of the film and full credit to Phoenix for making a character like Arthur Fleck and later the Joker emotional and strangely charismatic. He clearly worked hard perfecting his own version of Joker’s laugh that sounds unnerving but also can carry subtler notes of what his emotional state is at the time and what pain this laugh is actually hiding. The big problem with his performance is that it highlights how poorly written every other character in the movie is. Joker has a strong base to build on but all of the other characters boil down to stock character cliches. Part of this could be intentional since we are in the Joker’s head for most of the film but intentional or not it only highlights the fact that the world feels empty. It exists only to be the motivation for his character and has no other real life to it.
BS: While I don’t think it’s a perfect performance, it’s clear how much time and commitment Phoenix went through to become Arthur Fleck and honestly, his performance is about the only thing I enjoyed about the film. Arthur/Joker is terrifying, and when his evolution to the Joker is complete, I could see him competing with the greats that have come before him. The Joker of the climax feels like the Joker we’ve seen in the comics, theatrical, a dark sense of humor, everything that I expected, and frankly wanted to see in the film when I saw the first trailer.If that Joker were to go up against Robert Patinson’s Batman, I would be irrationally excited because that’s a villain I’d love to see go up against the Caped Crusader. That Joker is only in the film for literal moments and the ride to get there was one of the most disturbing and dangerous journey’s that I’ve seen in a film.
DD: The film struggles at its core as to what kind of film it is. It starts seemingly telling the story of a sympathetic man who is let down by the system when he needs help but then it transitions to taking on an anti-establishment message that blames the wealthy and powerful for everybody’s problems for stealing funding from necessary services. Neither of those are on their own unheard of messages to have in films but the real problem comes in Joker’s final message which is basically that chaos and violence are the only true form of justice. It seem to want so badly the Joker to be a hero that it is willing to ignore the fact that he is a monster. At his core, the Joker is a creature of chaos who doesn’t really stand for anything, but while this movie’s version would certainly say that about himself, the film wants you to believe that in the end he is in the right. It paints every victim as someone who deserved what they got and someone the world would be better without. It riffs a lot on the works of Scorsese but seems to miss a fundamental element of his films. When Scorsese would make a film about someone who is a bad person, you would never lose sight of the fact that the character was in the wrong. Joker wants you to believe it’s protagonist is always in the right which is a terrifying message to put out there.
BS: The message is my biggest problem with the film because it scares me a lot and not in the way you traditionally want a film to scare you. It’s all over the place and I can’t help but feel that a movie like this can only do irreversible damage to the wrong person who sees this. It feels very school shooter friendly, trying to make us feel sympathy for a character who takes control of his life by murdering those who have wronged him. There’s a scene in the film where he spares someone he used to work with because in the Joker’s own words “You were always nice to me.” It’s a shockingly tone-deaf film, a film that has undercover cops and credible threats to showings of the film reported throughout the country. There was a moment in my screening, during a pivotal moment of transformation for Arthur, where the lights in the theater came on and the screen went blank. As I looked into the eyes of my girlfriend and those around us, I saw obvious fear that a Joker inspired tragedy was about to unfold, when really it was just a power surge. We live in a time where mass-shootings have become a common occurrence and we’ve become numb to it and it’s mind-boggling to me that Todd Phillips could make a film so oblivious to the tragedies we face on a daily basis and make a film that can only make them worse.
DD: While my experience with the film didn’t include any potential shooter scares like Bill’s did, it was not without worry. The people throughout the theater that would laugh at some of the darker and more macabre moments and even the people saying “Cool” as he would continue on his murder sprees only showcased that people can easily be taken in by all this, which to me was the most terrifying part of my film-going experience. I don’t think the filmmakers intentions were to inspire people to violence or even to promote it all but the structure of it all does seem to focus the audience’s attention towards thinking that. It has some genuinely impressive sequences with impressive cinematography and one outstanding performance that could have made for an impressive character piece showing the inner workings that turn someone into the criminal mastermind that the Joker becomes, similar to what happens with Walter White in Breaking Bad, but it was not meant to be because they couldn’t acknowledge that one of the most iconic villains of pop culture, might be a bad guy. The film may have started as an attempt to give context to Arthur Fleck’s battle with mental illness but it ends glorifying his acceptance of his own murderous tendencies. Any potential for actually getting an honest picture of a struggling person is sidelined so the film can show you how cool he looks as the Joker. If they had a deeper point to make, it probably sits on the cutting room floor along with any character moment not involving Joaquin Phoenix.
By Eli Mitchell on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 10:00am
A win in the Southeastern Conference is hard to come by these days, but Kentucky picked up its first of the year by rallying to defeat Arkansas 24-20.
Lynn Bowden Jr. completed 7 of 11 passes for 78 yards, and a touchdown to go along with 196 yards, and two touchdowns on the ground.
The victory moves Kentucky to 3-3 on the season with a trip to Athens coming up next Saturday.
A Winning Formula
The Kentucky Football team dominated the time of possession by running the ball for 330 yards on 54 carries. Not too shabby.
Trailing by double digits early, the easy decision would have been to put Sawyer Smith back at QB, but Eddie Gran trusted his gut. Bowden Jr. made the decision pay off in a big way.
Following a slow start the Kentucky defense buckled down in the 2nd half, and Calvin Taylor Jr. made a huge deflection on 4th down that sealed the game. It wasn’t pretty, but this young defense is improving each week.
“I was really proud of our team, because I think that, they just, something clicked, the switch went off and really gelled the past couple weeks and we worked hard at that,” Mark Stoops said after the game. “We felt good tonight.”
For a full breakdown of the game, check out Adam Luckett’s 10 Takeaways.
Jared Lorenzen Day
It was an emotional day for the state of Kentucky as we honored one of our own. The scene at Kroger Field as the Lorenzen family was honored is one that I will never forget. “My Old Kentucky Home” played as Lorenzen’s loved ones gathered to celebrate his life.
“Really proud that we got win in Jared’s memory and for his family,” Mark Stoops said after the game. “And proud of our team by the way they played and hopefully they kept him in the back of their mind because that’s how Jared played. He really laid it on the line for his team each and every week and I was proud of our group tonight in his memory.”
22 is smiling down today.
The Postgame Celebration
A winning locker room is a fun locker room.
The UK Football locker room celebration video is great pic.twitter.com/gViVPpYqzX
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) October 13, 2019
Enjoy your Sunday, BBN.
By ShopKSR.com on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 9:45am
Posted in Main
By Nick Roush on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 12:34am
After 25 minutes of game time, Kentucky was in a 13-point hole. It was a familiar situation, one the Cats faced in their previous two losses. Unlike the road trips to Starkville and Columbia, UK dug out of the hole to defeat Arkansas 24-20.
“I was really proud of our team, because I think that, they just, something clicked, the switch went off and really gelled the past couple weeks and we worked hard at that,” Mark Stoops said after the game. “We felt good tonight.”
It didn’t click right away. Rakeem Boyd ripped off a 74-yard touchdown on the second play of the game. Kentucky’s offense put its defense in a pickle when the Cats failed to convert a fourth down, setting up an easy field goal for the Hogs. Their next drive was a 10-play march down the field that resulted in another field goal.
Kentucky was reeling. Sawyer Smith was warming up on the sideline. The Cats considered making a change, but Eddie Gran remembered what he told himself earlier in the week.
“There were some discussions (on switching to Smith), but we said we had to be patient. Thank goodness that we were. Made that mistake twice, wasn’t patient. So we stuck to the gameplan that we thought was the best opportunity to give our kids a chance to win the good,” said Kentucky’s offensive coordinator.
“They played hard. They could have caved in at the beginning and they didn’t. That was really neat to see.”
When Bowden returned to the huddle, he told his teammates to keep fighting.
“All these guys on the team, they’re all fighters. From the sidelines on the field, everyone’s a fighter. No one wants to lose. Just keeping everybody’s confidence up. I think I did that tonight,” he said.
Led by Bowden, Kentucky’s offense immediately responded. He connected with the tight ends on back-to-back plays, forcing the Arkansas defense to respect UK’s passing game. It completely opened up the offense as the Cats marched 75 yards down the field in ten plays for a touchdown, sparking a 17-0 run that gave UK the lead in the third quarter. The offense got some help from their defense to make it happen.
“We’d like to start quicker and to play like we started in the second half. To start with a couple three-and-outs, that was the goal. You felt the pressure on third down. Guys were making plays. It shows a lot of character,” said defensive coordinator Brad White. “That shows character that they’re responding in adverse situations and that’s growth.”
Even though they were tough lessons to learn at South Carolina and Mississippi State, the Wildcats would not let those losses be in vein.
“The more mature you are, the more you can overcome some of those things,” said Stoops. “I just think that we learned from it…I don’t want to beat a dead horse but I just think the guys really responded well the past two weeks.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 13th, 2019 @ 12:22am
How big was Kentucky’s 24-20 win over Arkansas? Big enough for Mark Stoops to go crowdsurfing in the locker room afterwards. End your night by watching the team celebrate a much-needed W:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) October 13, 2019
Thankfully, he didn’t break any ceiling tiles like he did at Missouri.