Saturday, August 31, 2013

W. Kentucky v. Kentucky (in Nashville, Tenn.)

I am so excited about the return of college football that I'm planning to do something I almost never do -- watch the University of Kentucky play a football game.  In recent years, this fixture has been embarrassing for Kentucky fans -- a close victory in a terrible game two years ago, and a loss at home last year.  But nothing would be worse than for new Kentucky coach Mark Stoops to lose his first game to Bobby Petrino -- the guy many UK fans wanted to coach the Big Blue.

This is also one of the great uniform match-ups in college football, as UK and WKU each have excellent uniforms.  So that's another reason to tune in.

Any further thoughts will go in the comments.

121 comments:

  1. Does any school have a better play-by-play guy than Tom Leach? I don't think so. Eli Gold does a great job for Alabama, but Eli's not as good at basketball as Tom Leach.

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  2. OK, I take back my comment on Western's uniforms. They have come out in a garish set -- red shirts with black numerals, and silver helmets with the canonical towel logo. They look very much like a high school team -- uniform-wise, that is.

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  3. UK, on the other hand, does look great -- white helmets with the blue UK logo, white shirts with blue numerals, white shirts with blue stripes. If Kentucky were any good at football, their uniforms would be regarded as some of the very best in the country.

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  4. This game is being played at Titans Stadium -- or whatever that big hulking place where the Titans play is called -- in Nashville. WKU is the "home" team, and props to someone at Western for painting the towel logo at mid-field.

    But it looks as though most of the people at the game are for UK.

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  5. Those people aren't happy now, however, as Western took the opening kickoff and is moving straight down the field. The Hilltoppers have a 1st and 10 at the UK 17.

    I don't see how it's possible for UK to have the third-best college coach in the Commonwealth. But that's what they've done.

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  6. So far, I can tell no difference between this iteration of UK's defense and the other versions I've been watching for the last 40 years.

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  7. And there's a touchdown for Western. The Hilltoppers went down the field with staggering ease -- I'm not even sure they ever had to make a third-down conversion. With 10:53 left in the opening quarter, Western leads 7-0.

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  8. Meanwhile, in Columbia, Missouri, Murray State and Mizzou are tied at 7 with 11:10 to go in the first quarter.

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  9. By the way, the William & Mary Tribe put up a game effort today, but they lost at West Virginia, 24-17.

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  10. Oh, and over at www.tucfc.com, we will be tracking the Baylor/Wofford game for the Unofficial Championship of College Football.

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  11. Tom Leach says that we have a crowd of about 50,000, with 60-65 percent of the fans wearing blue. From what I've seen on TV, that sounds about right.

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  12. During the basketball season, I'm always having to turn off Tom Leach because he makes me so nervous. It is a joy to hear him call a game.

    Meanwhile, on their second play of the game, UK was called for a false start. BEHOLD THE STOOPS ERA!

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  13. Kentucky goes three and out. Yeah, it's a good thing the folks in Lexington didn't sully themselves by hiring Petrino.

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  14. For the record, Mike Stoops -- Mark's brother, was head coach at Arizona from 2004 until halfway through the 2011 season, when he was fired. His career record was 41-50.

    After being fired at Arizona, he went to Oklahoma to serve as defensive coordinator to his brother Bob. Last year, in the Cotton Bowl, Texas A & M scored 41 points against Oklahoma's defense and won 41-13.

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  15. Hold the phone! Western fumbles the ball and UK takes over. UK is now on the move, down to the Western 8.

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  16. With 3:58 to go in the first quarter, Missouri and Murray State are tied at 13.

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  17. Western's defense holds, and UK is forced to settle for a field goal. With 4:40 to go in the first quarter, Western leads 7-3.

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  18. By the way, ESPN is referring to the two teams in this game as "KENTUCKY" and "WESTERN KY." Good for whoever refused to refer to the Hilltoppers as "WKU."

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    1. You are embarrassing yourself on this point.

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  19. Actually, Murray leads Missouri 14-13 with 1:41 left in the 1st Quarter.

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  20. Western just had a huge run that was called back by a totally jive blocking penalty. So on the next play, Western just throws a long pass for a first down at the UK 38.

    Then, on the next play, Western is called for a false start.

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  21. Oklahoma State beat Mississippi State 21-3 in Houston. "SEE," say Big XII fans everywhere, "THERE'S ONLY ONE OR TWO GOOD TEAMS IN THE SEC. THEY'RE NOT NEARLY AS DEEP AS WE ARE."

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  22. OK, I'm taking a dinner break.

    Western just made a first down at the Kentucky 23.

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  23. 13:50 to go in the 2d quarter. Western leads 14-3.

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  24. But wait! UK quickly strikes back with two long runs. The Wildcats score their first touchdown of the season, and they trail 14-10 with 12:47 to go in the first half.

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  25. With 9:44 to go in the 2d quarter, Auburn leads Washington State 8-7.

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  26. Western takes over at its own 25. On first down, they throw a pass for 8 yards.

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  27. Poor old Western. On third and 2 from their own 36, the Hilltoppers fake the run and have a tight end who is WIDE OPEN. He catches the ball and is off to the races. But he fumbles, and UK takes over deep in its own territory.

    BUT WAIT! UK IS CALLED FOR ROUGHING THE PASSER! Western KEEPS THE BALL!. The Hilltoppers have 1st and 10 at the UK 39.

    Well, that's only fair.

    On the next play, Western hits a pass down to UK 21.

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  28. And, a few plays later, Western blasts in for another touchdown. The Hilltoppers lead 21-10 with 7:46 to go.

    9 plays, 75 yards.

    BUT AT LEAST UK DOESN'T HAVE THAT GUY PETRINO COACHING THEIR TEAM. THE WILDCATS INSIST ON HIRING MEN OF CHARACTER!

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  29. Tom Leach, who is great at putting the best possible spin on anything UK does, says that drives like the one Western just had are "demoralizing." It's hard to argue with that.

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  30. Earlier today, Illinois beat Southern Illinois 42-34.

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  31. UK goes three and out. Western takes over at its own 44 with 6:22 left in the first half.

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  32. With 6:30 to go in the first half, Missouri leads Murray State 20-14.

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  33. And Baylor is keeping the Unofficial College Football Championship. The Bears lead Wofford 28-0 after the first quarter.

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  34. With 2:39 to go in the third quarter, Tennessee leads Austin Peay 45-0.

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  35. Western moving down the field with ease as usual, converts a third and 10, but FUMBLES the ball. That's Western's third fumble of the game, although one of those fumbles was cancelled by a roughing the passer penalty.

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  36. UK, given new life, takes immediate advantage. On first down, the UK quarterback makes a long run down to the Western 14.

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  37. And a few plays later, UK blasts in for a touchdown.

    With 3:55 left in the 2d Quarter, Western leads 21-17. Tom Leach notes that two lost fumbles by Western have led to 10 Kentucky points.

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  38. OK, Mizzou is now starting to roll. They lead Murray State 27-14 with 1:40 to go in the first half.

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  39. Two years ago, the Western-UK game was embarrassingly bad. This game has been extremely entertaining.

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  40. With 1:55 to go, Western faces a 4th and inches at its own 43. UK calls time.

    Western has 292 yards.
    UK has 182 yards.

    Western has 2 turnovers.
    UK has 0 turnovers.

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  41. Western punts. UK takes over at its own 12.

    That was Western's first punt of the game.

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  42. On 3d and 9 from their own 13, the Wildcats commit two false start penalties in a row.

    Now it's 3d and 18 from the UK 4.

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  43. UK has 4th and 16 from its own 6. There is 1:06 left, so Western will have one more chance to score.

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  44. Western takes over at the UK 44 after a 38-yard punt.

    57 seconds left before halftime.

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  45. On 3d and 4 from the UK 38, Western's quarterback is SACKED. The Hilltoppers are driven back to the UK 43.

    4th and 9 with 20 seconds to go. Tom Leach says that UK has gotten more pressure in the second quarter than it did in the first.

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  46. In Atlanta, Alabama beat Virginia Tech 35-10.

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  47. Halftime:

    Auburn 25 - 21 Washington St.
    Missouri 30 - 14 Murray St.

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  48. Western punts, and UK runs out the clock. At the half:

    W. Kentucky 21 - 17 Kentucky

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  49. UK's color commentator says that Western's 22 starters are as good as UK's starters. He says UK's advantage is that the Wildcats have better depth.

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  50. At the half, Coach Stoops says that UK has to be more physical on defense.

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  51. Kentucky was extremely lucky to get those two fumbles from Western. If Western had scored on those two drives -- and it looked like that was going to happen -- the Toppers would have a big lead right now.

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  52. Meanwhile, down in South Carolina, Clemson leads Georgia 14-7 with 4:51 to go in the first quarter.

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  53. But Georgia scores a touchdown. So Georgia and Clemson are tied at 14 with 4:12 to go.

    Clemson beat LSU in last year's Peach Bowl, so the Tigers are going for their second-straight win over SEC competition.

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  54. Meanwhile, it's not going so well for Willie Taggert, who coached Western last year. In Taggert's first game as the coach of South Florida, his Bulls are losing 33-7 -- at home -- at the half -- to McNeese State.

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  55. What a great opening weekend! LIFE, MORE LIFE!

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  56. UK takes the kickoff to start the second half. The Wildcats will start from their own 26.

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  57. In the first half, UK had 174 rushing yards and 16 passing yards. Western had 194 passing yards and 99 rushing yards.

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  58. UK is on the move. The Cats have a 2d and 10 at the Western 41.

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  59. Now the Cats have a 3d and 8 at the Western 39. Big play here.

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  60. On 3d and 8, UK tries a sweep. They lose a yard or two, and they will have to punt.

    The UK color commentator thinks UK is better off taking it between the tackles.

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  61. UK's punt goes into the end zone. Western takes over with 11:59 to go in the 3d quarter.

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  62. With 13 minutes to go in the 2d quarter, Georgia leads Clemson 21-14. That will be a huge win for whichever team gets it.

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  63. UK's defense now looking much better. The Hilltoppers go three and out -- the third time in a row that UK has forced a Western punt.

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  64. Western's punt is downed at the UK 29. The Cats will take over there with 9:47 to go.

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  65. In Knoxville, the Butch Jones era gets off to a good start as the Vols pound Austin Peay 45-0. My guess is that it will be a long while before Vandy or UK get another win over You Tee.

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  66. On 3d and 11, UK hits a pass to the UK 45. First and 10 for the Cats.

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  67. But on 3d and 1 from the Western 46, the Cats are hammered for a five-yard loss, and they will have to punt.

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  68. On the punt return, UK is called for a 15-yard penalty for interference. Western will take over at its own 30 with 5:50 to play in the third:

    W. Kentucky 21 - 17 Kentucky

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  69. Well, it was nice while it lasted. With 6:23 to go in the third quarter, Missouri leads Murray State 51-14.

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  70. Now Western's on the move. The Hilltoppers hit a pass, and they have first and 10 at the UK 49.

    Total yards:
    Western Kentucky: 322
    Kentucky: 250

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  71. Western keeps moving. The Hilltoppers get another first down at the UK 30.

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  72. Western now carving huge holes in the UK line. Hilltoppers make two big runs to get a first and goal at the UK 9. Tom Leach says, "Nothing fancy here for Western. They are just lining up and playing power football."

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  73. But here's a little misdirection. On 2d and goal from the 8, Western fakes a handoff, throws back to the tight end, who dashes into the end zone for a TOUCHDOWN. With 1:50 to play in the 3d quarter:

    W. Kentucky 28 - 17 Kentucky

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    1. WKU was fantastic on those misdirection pass plays all game.

      "W. Kentucky?" What is wrong with you?

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  74. UK takes the kickoff and will start at its own 22.

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  75. The Cats go three and out, and were lucky Western dropped a potential interception that would have been a touchdown.

    UK punts, and Western will take over at its own 41 with 14 seconds to play in the third quarter.

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  76. With 2:30 to go in the first half, Clemson and Georgia are tied at 21.

    With 42 seconds left in the first quarter, LSU leads TCU 6-3 down in Arlington, Texas.

    This is an amazing night of football for the first weekend of the season.

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  77. Western breaks a huge run down to the UK 36. That was just a plain old power sweep.

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  78. Western is averaging 7.3 yards per play on first down.

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  79. Another big run for Western. Down to the UK 14. Western now has 176 rushing yards.

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  80. And there's another big run -- 14 yards into the front corner of the end zone. On these last two drives, Western has just manhandled Kentucky. With 13:32 left in the fourth quarter:

    W. Kentucky 35 - 17 Kentucky

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  81. UK changes quarterbacks, putting in Maxwell Smith. The Cats start at their own 25.

    Smith is apparently supposed to be more of a passing threat than Jalen Whitlow, who has been UK's QB so far tonight.

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  82. On 3d and 15, Maxwell Smith hits a long pass down to the Western 42.

    On first and 10 from the Western 42, Smith is sacked back to the Western 46.

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  83. Smith continues to attack the Western defense. He hits back-to-back passes, and the Cats are down to the Western 19.

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  84. Kentucky commits a false start. Tom Leach says that Kentucky "has been out of rhythm in this offense," which is an extremely negative comment from Tom Leach.

    Then Smith is sacked back to the Western 31.

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  85. On 3d and 22 from the Western 31, Smith completes a pass down to the 13. It will be 4th and 4 from there.

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  86. Kentucky goes for the field goal. There is some booing from the UK fans, but that was absolutely the right call. The kick is good. With 9:52 to play in the game:

    W. Kentucky 35 - 20 Kentucky

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  87. Final score from Denton, Texas:

    N. Texas 40 - 6 Idaho

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  88. With 12:31 to go in the 2d quarter, LSU leads TCU 13-10.

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  89. The kickoff goes into the end zone, and Western will start at the 25.

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  90. On the radio, they say there were "quite a few boos" when UK went for the field goal. But Tom Leach and company correctly argue that UK had to put points on the board there.

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  91. Final Score:

    Missouri 58 - 14 Murray St.

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  92. On third and 2 from the Western 45, the Hilltoppers are stopped for no gain. They will punt with about 7 minutes to go.

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  93. UK gets a good punt return, and they will take over at the UK 40 with 6:42 to play. The Cats are still alive.

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  94. With 9:07 to go in the game:

    Auburn 31 - 24 Washington St.

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  95. On 1st and 10 from the 40, UK runs an end-around play that breaks open and goes all the way down to the Western 27. But there is an illegal block on UK. UK may have also fumbled the ball -- that play is under review.

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  96. Tom Leach says that if this is a fumble -- and it looks like one on TV -- then "that would be game, set, and match."

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  97. The review shows that UK did fumble the ball. Western takes over at its own 28 with 6:30 to play. That was UK's first turnover of the game.

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  98. Tom Leach says that Bobby Petrino is 8-0 in season openers.

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  99. On 3d and 6 from their own 43, Western throws an incomplete pass. They will punt. Tom Leach says that Kentucky is "clinging to a sliver of hope."

    Another great punt return for the Cats, and UK will take over at its own 41 with 3:24 to play. Tom Leach says "they obviously must score very quickly."

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  100. With 11:54 to go in the 4th quarter:

    Baylor 66 - 3 Wofford

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  101. Maxwell Smith in at QB for the Cats. He quickly gets them down to the Western 38. 2:15 to go.

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  102. Back to back incompletions. UK has a 4th and 1 at the Western 38 with 1:56 to go.

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  103. Final score:

    S. Florida 21 - 53 McNeese St.

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  104. On 4th and 1, Whitlow comes in at QB and runs for the first down.

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  105. On 1st and 10, Smith throws a long pass to the end zone -- was it a touchdown? The call on the field was an incomplete pass, but on the replay it looks like a touchdown.

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  106. If this is a touchdown, everyone in Lexington will conclude that UK is MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION and that STOOPS WAS THE RIGHT HIRE.

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  107. IT IS A TOUCHDOWN. "Good call!" says Tom Leach.

    Now UK has to kick the extra point to get within 8. The UK announcers explain that you have to take the one-point conversion now, and then go for two if you get the onside kick.

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  108. BUT UK MISSES THE EXTRA POINT!! THE BALL BOUNCES OFF THE UPRIGHT!!!

    The UK color commentator makes one of my favorite all-time statements, when he says that you simply cannot overstate the agony of being a Kentucky football fan. With 1:37 to go:

    W. Kentucky 35 - 26 Kentucky

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  109. UK's attempted onside kick goes out of bounds. UK's color commentator says that the kicker "has not had a good last minute and a half."

    Western takes over at the Kentucky 37.

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  110. With 8:07 to go in the third quarter:

    Clemson 28 - 21 Georgia

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  111. The color commentator assures the UK fans that "this is not an easy game." He also tells us that Petrino has won "everywhere he's ever been with the exception of the NFL."

    Does that mean he would have won in Lexington?

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  112. With 7:41 to go in the third quarter:

    Clemson 28 - 28 Georgia

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  113. Western has 4th and 2 at the UK 29 with 1:19 to go. They run a play fake, and hit the tight end, who is wide open at the UK 12.

    That's the ball game. UK has no more time outs.

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  114. Western takes a couple of knees, and the game is over. Final score:

    W. Kentucky 35 - 26 Kentucky

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  115. Stand up and cheer! Tops looked really good, I thought. I thought UK looked better, too. I'm excited about WKU's trip to Tennessee.

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