I’m going to make this recap quick because you guys are going nuts with $12 t-shirts. Which I’m not mad at. Just a reminder, all of our shirts are on sale through Monday for just $12 when you use the promo code “MUCHLOVE”.
Please ignore all typos because my fingers go faster than my brain sometimes.
Wow. What a game. If the UK/U of L game wants to be like that every single year, I’m down. It really had the feel of a game that was going to go seven overtimes and last six-plus hours. But, in the end it only took Louisville 60 minutes to beat Kentucky, 44-40. The game did last almost four hours though.
Going into the game, I thought the story would be Louisville’s ability to just run it down Kentucky’s throat. Didn’t happen. Louisville managed just 83 yards on the ground. In Kentucky’s last five games, these are the numbers they gave up on the ground: 214, 305, 156, 326, and 303.
For Kentucky to have a chance, they had to limit the Cards’ rushing attack. They did just that. And they did have a chance.
Here are some quick hitters on the game.
UK dominated the first quarter, but couldn’t get into the end zone and managed just six points. That ended up being huge.
UK’s up 13-0. Reggie Bonnafon gets hurt early in the second quarter. It’s third and seven. Enter redshirt freshman and Lexington native Kyle Bolin. Things appear to be in a tailspin for the Cards. Bolin then hits Eli Rogers to his right for ten yards and a first down. The next play Bolin stands in the pocket, takes a monster hit from Bud Dupree and find DeVante Parker streaking down the sideline after he beat Fred Tiller. Just like that it’s 13-7. And Bolin has confidence. Tailspin avoided.
From that point on the game was pretty much back and forth.
Wow, was Bolin good. I know he made two critical turnovers that led directly to UK points, but still. He finished the game 21-for-31 for 381 yards, three touchdowns and a pick.
Speaking of good, how good is DeVante Parker? The kid is a difference maker. He gives you the option as a QB to just loft it up anytime the defense brings pressure and Bolin took advantage of that. He just goes up and makes plays. Then he’s impossible to tackle. And for a team like UK that struggles to tackle anyways, tackling a guy like Parker is near impossible.
For UK, two guys stood out because of their good play. Boom Williams. How has he not been UK’s featured back for at least the last eight games. The true freshman is an absolute stood. UK’s best offense was getting him outside. Yet, they didn’t continuously do that. His touchdown late in the fourth quarter that gave Kentucky a 40-37 lead was an absolute man’s run.
Bud Dupree. It appeared that he was in on every single play. The Bolin fumble that was scooped up by Mike Douglas. That was Dupree. He was already going to be a decent NFL draft pick, but man he made himself a lot of money on Saturday afternoon.
Mike Douglas. Yeah, he made up for it a bit with his scoop and score, but his personal foul early in the third quarter was straight ignorant. Bolin was a good two steps out of bounds. They were going to punt. Instead you give them a free first down. Next play Bolin hits Parker for a 33 yard touchdown to give the Cards a 28-20 lead.
I didn’t get either teams’ play calls. I thought Louisville should have focused on the run more. Even though they still racked up 44 points and 472 yards.
Kentucky’s offense was putrid. It really reminded me of the Missouri game where UK’s defense kept them in the game, but their O’s couldn’t do anything. The O’s were a little more effective against U of L, but I still don’t get a lot of the things they do. They look down field never. I don’t know if Neal Brown is a bad coordinator or if he just has zero confidence in Towles and the UK offensive line. But, be more creative. Try to go down field.
And Towles looked lost, but the one thing he can do, when protected, is make throws down field. His throw to Joey Herrick for 42 yards early in the fourth quarter on 3rd and sixth was perfect. On that play, U of L only brought three guys. I didn’t get that. When pressured, Towles has happier feet than Julianne Hough.
After the Douglas fumble touchdown that put UK up 33-28, the Cards started at their own four. It was third and ten from their own four. Then Bolin found James Quick streaking the sideline in between the safety and the corner for 29 yards and a first down. Four plays later he hit Parker on the same play down the left sideline for 45 yards and a touchdown and a 34-33 lead.
Bolin just made plays when he had to and knew to rely on Parker.
In the end, it was too easy for Louisville to score and for UK it was like pulling teeth.
The play that really summed up the game for me was the second down call with just about a minute to go and UK trailing 44-40. It’s second and ten. You have two timeouts. And they run a QB draw. I’ve been a critic of their commitment to run Towles all year. But right there? With a minute to go? You’re running? A joke. I’ll have fun with that tomorrow on ESPN 680.
In the end, the game was fun. I thought Kentucky competed. I think that surprised Louisville a little bit. UK’s defense, which has been putrid, was a little less than putrid and kept the Cats in the game. Bolin was unreal, which was totally unexpected. Parker was unreal, which was expected.
The better team won.
Nick Curran and I will break down this game on ESPN 680 tomorrow from 10 to noon.