Where the Game Went Wrong for Kentucky

Tonight was a very tough night for the BBN. Tonight, Kentucky had Tennessee beat and let the game slip away.

It’s crazy to think, but the Cats have beaten the Vols only two times in my lifetime.

Kentucky had so many opportunities to win the game and didn’t convert on any of them, failing to score a point in the second half. Tennessee scored twice on their first two possessions of the second half and won, 17-13.

Here’s where the game went wrong for Kentucky.

Missed Extra-Point

I thought it couldn’t happen tonight, but it did. AGAIN.

Two weeks ago it was Matt Ruffolo, now it’s Chance Poore.

After Kentucky took advantage of a blocked punt and scored, Poore missed the PAT. Making the score 13-0 instead of 14-0. Completely changing the play-calling at the end of the game.

Lynn Bowden’s INT

Kentucky was on Tennessee’s side of the field with a chance to make it at least a 16-3 game.

Instead, Bowden under throws Justing Rigg and Nigel Warriors intercepts the pass and takes it to the house, but stepped out of bounds at mid-field, so no touchdown.

No, Tennessee did not score, but Kentucky would’ve if Bowden had just made a good throw.

Secondary

Kentucky’s secondary got destroyed in the second half. 50-50 balls and terrible coverage killed the Cats way too much tonight.

But, they’re freshman. They have been good, but they have their moments of terribleness.

Second Half Play-Calling

We’ve complained about play-calling in big games a ton in the Eddie Gran era, but tonight was really bad.

Kentucky needed to open up the playbook in the second half because Tennessee knew what was coming, but the coaches failed miserably.

They ran it up the middle too much. You don’t go deep on a 4th & 3, and you don’t run a QB option to the outside on 4th & 2 from the two yard-line needing a touchdown.

Blocking

The blocking for Lynn Bowden and the running backs was exceptionally awful tonight.

If your offense relies heavily on running the ball, then you have to have your offensive-line and receivers block well.

No Points in the Second Half

I had no idea what to title this, so forgive me.

Tennessee scored with just over six minutes left in the third quarter. After that, they punted once and fumbled it once. Kentucky had the ball three times inside Tennessee’s 40 and failed to come away with points.

Now, part of that is not having a field goal kicker. But, Kentucky had three great opportunities and four chances to score from the six yard-line.

Nothing.

Sawyer Smith?

The play-calling in the second half got too predictable, which is one reason why I think Kentucky failed to move the ball. If you’re the coach, you have to see that and make adjustments, but whatever.

I love Lynn Bowden at QB and he’s kept the season alive. But, I don’t think a Sawyer Smith experiment would’ve hurt at all in the second half.

The Final Play

After all of that, Kentucky had four chances from the six yard-line to score and take the lead.

The final play:

Here’s Stoops’ comment on the play:

Should he have pitched it?

“I thought Lynn made a really good play, I’ll never argue with Lynn about taking it right there. He stretched it to the perimeter. We’ll look at it and probably feel like if he pitched it, it would have been a footrace to the pylon. It probably had a chance, but I’m not going to argue with that kid and how he had a chance to pull the ball down and try to drive it in there for that one yard. Credit them for a nice stop.”

What Now?

Vanderbilt, UT Martin, and Louisville are left on the schedule. You have to win 2/3 to make a bowl game. Of course winning out would be nice, but that’s tough to see right now.

This loss really stings, especially since it’s to the Orange.

Goodnight and go Cats.

Should the BBN Be Worried About Losing Mark Stoops?

Since Florida State fired Willie Taggart on Sunday, UK Coach Mark Stoops has had his name tossed around and there are reports Florida State has already reached out.

From 2010-2012, Stoops was the defensive coordinator under Jimbo Fischer, and was a big part of a 31-12 record in that three-year span.

In his short but impressive tenure, Stoops impressed and became respected in Tallahassee.

With the being said, he is not Florida State’s first option, which gives Kentucky a little more sense of security.

I have been told that Florida State is one of the few jobs that intrigues Mark Stoops, however, with the help of Vince Marrow, he has completely changed the culture at Kentucky.

It ultimately comes down to one thing, does Stoops want to continue creating history in Lexington, or does he want to try to recreate history at Florida State?

Personally, I think there is a 65% chance Stoops is on the sideline next season with one of the greatest recruiting classes in school history.

Kentucky is 4-1-1 against Florida State, and if it comes down to it, hopefully Mitch Barnhardt and the Cats can win this battle too.

Are We Ready for Lynn Bowden at QB for the Rest of the Year?

I never thought that I would write the words above in a sentence, but here we are. I believe I sent a tweet during a game this season saying that Lynn Bowden should never play QB. Boy, was I wrong.

With just four games remaining on the schedule, it sounds like Lynn Bowden, if he continues his recent play, may be playing QB a lot more.

“Well, I think you can see what’s going on out there. It’s pretty hard to take him out. So I don’t know. I don’t think guys we play, the defensive coordinators aren’t stupid. They’re pretty bright in this league. Next up is Tennessee and Derrick Ansley, so these guys know what’s going on. Sawyer is getting better and it’s nice to have the option to go to both guys.” Stoops said.

The three games Bowden has played have all been different. The Arkansas game was cold. The Georgia game was windy, rainy, and of course against a really good defense. And, last Saturday’s game against Missouri was a monsoon against a mediocre defense.

So, you’ve seen three different levels of teams with different weather conditions. As of now, it will be very cold when Tennessee comes to town on Nov. 9 and there defense isn’t the best.

“We felt like had the conditions stayed dry we would have had some opportunities in the passing game because of what they were doing.” Stoops said.

The word around the program was to play both Lynn Bowden and Sawyer Smith against Missouri, but due to the conditions, it made more sense to play Bowden, which was obviously a good decision.

In eight games, the Volunteers have allowed 1,368 rushing yards with 14 touchdowns.

In three games, Bowden has had 62 rushing attempts for 381 yards and three touchdowns.

Does Bowden want to keep playing QB this season?

“If I got to I will. I stay prepared at all times. I’m a playmaker, that’s what Coach Stoops and Coach Marrow brought me here to do and wherever it’s at that’s what I’m going to do for them.”

With the cold temperatures and the fact teams haven’t been able to stop Bowden, I would say you stick with him. Don’t fix something that’s not broken.

Which Athletes in UK History Would Have Profited Most off of their Likeness?

Cal is giving his thumbs up!

On Tuesday afternoon, the NCAA unanimously voted to allow athletes to profit from their likeness and created groups to explore ways on making it possible.

That creates the questions, which athletes in Kentucky history would have profited the most from their likeness?

(Excluding any potential “The Hammer” ads)

Anthony Davis

Alongside Dan Issel, Anthony Davis is considered to be one of the two best players in Kentucky basketball history. Like Cal says, “(Davis) took the fifth-most shots” but was still nationally dominate.

Being the best basketball player in the country and trademarking “The Brow”, makes you the biggest and most marketable UK athlete of all-time.

AD would have been a great representative for Harry’s razors.

Benny Snell

Benny Snell is arguably the most marketable player in Kentucky football history, and it’s not even close. His BIG time play backed it up on the field.

I mean you can buy a Snell Yeah shirt on Amazon.

Can we have a Benny Snell Commercial in third person, please?

John Wall & Demarcus Cousins

After the dreadful Billy Gillespie era, this duo brought Kentucky back to national title contention and made it the cool school in college basketball, which is why I placed them as a duo in this list.

John Wall alone had a song reach no. 76 in the Top 100 charts and created a dance used across the country. While Demarcus Cousins became one of the most likable figures in UK History.

Imagine this duo selling literally ANYTHING, could you say no?

Rex Chapman

“King Rex”

Back in the 1980’s five-star freshman were not coming year in and year out like they are today.

Rex Chapman, a Kentucky phenom, was THE MAN on campus as soon as he arrived in Lexington and every kid in Kentucky wanted to be like Rex.

Being the state’s biggest superstar sure bolds well for endorsements.

Tim Couch

The only No. 1 NFL Draft pick in the history of Kentucky Football.

Couch, an athlete so well-rounded that he was the first prep player in Kentucky history to have earned the prestigious “Mr. Football” and “Mr. Basketball” titles in the same year, and named the USA Today football player of the year following his senior season at Leslie County High School.

Couch might not have performed the best in NFL due to injury but imagine him leading an endorsement campaign for couches!

Are there any UK athletes I’m leaving out? Let me hear your thoughts!

The Last Hurdle for the Return of College Sports Video Games

Do you remember running the pick-n-roll with John Wall and Demarcus Cousins on NCAA Basketball 10 or running the Wildcat with Jojo Kemp on NCAA Football 14?

These were the last video game for each college sport.

With the NCAA voting unanimously to allow student-athletes to profit off of their names and likeness, it appears the infamous NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball games have a good shot of making a comeback as soon as 2021.

There is just one large hurdle. How are the athletes going to be paid?

That sounds like a simple question, with a simple answer but it’s not.

For professional sports video games such as Madden and NBA 2K, it’s not a complex task to pay the athletes. Their respective Player’s Associations negotiate with the video game company and receive their compensation.

Student-athletes don’t have a similar party protecting their interests. The closest organization that resembles any similarity, is the NCAA, and we know they don’t always have the student-athletes best interests.

With that being said, as of now, that is the best option and to be fair, the NCAA has made it work in the past with the previous video games with EA Sports and 2K.

In the past, EA Sports bought the NCAA license and paid dividends to each school based on their “tier”. The proposal suggested a minimum $78,000 payout to first-tier teams, $47,000 to second-tier teams, $31,000 to third-tier teams, and $7,500 to fourth-tier teams.

Back in 2014, five schools shared their revenue from each video game.

 NCAA Football 14NCAA Basketball 10
Louisville$85,845$26,594
UCLA$57,230$26,593
Clemson$85,845$18,616
Wisconsin$143,076$26,593
Texas A&M$57,000$18,616

With players now receiving a “piece of the pie”, I would expect schools to receive a smaller amount. The cleanest way to pay the athletes would be for the NCAA to negotiate a flat fee and divide annually amongst players using a similar tier system shown above.

We’re one step closer!

WATCH: Former Wildcat, Bud Dupree, Destroys a Man on Monday Night Football

Slowly but surely, more and more Wildcats are making it to the NFL and playing on Sundays.

A large part of that is due to Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow changing the culture surrounding Kentucky Football. 

One of the most fundamental players in building the program to where it is today is Steelers linebacker, Bud Dupree.

Dupree was a menace on the defensive end at Kentucky finishing with 146 total tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss, and 25.5 sacks.

But what he is most remembered for is this pick six against South Carolina to capitalize on the first big win of the Stoops Era.

Dupree is not a menace in the NFL, after being selected in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

On Monday Night Football, Dupree practically committed borderline murder. 

Dupree coninues to be one of the most impactful players on the Steelers defense and finished the game with 5 tackles and a sack.

Keep making the BBN proud Bud!

Morning After: Kentucky’s 29-7 win over Missouri

I hate to admit it, but I fully expected Kentucky to lose last night. And, even when they were up 22-7 in the second half, I was still predicting a loss. But, Can you blame me?

In a must-win game, Lynn Bowden led the Cats to a massive victory to keep their bowl hopes alive, and Bowden had quite a game himself.

Lynn Bowden

I’m starting run out of things to say about this guy. He’s simply incredible. Last night, Bowden was 3/7 passing for 54 yards. Most importantly, he had 21 carries for 204 yards and two touchdowns.

In the past three games, Bowden has carried the ball 62 times for 381 yards and three touchdowns.

Max Duffy

The Aussie punter was at it again last night, and he pulled some magic out of his hat that I don’t think was planned. Take a look for yourself:

Safe to say this is a good make-up for his shank against Georgia last week.

Day Day Hawkins

Hawkins got a huge strip-sack in the second half. His moves are something else though.

So, after all of this, will they keep Bowden out there?

“We’ll see. Sawyer is getting better and it’s nice to be able to have the option to go to both guys. Once again, tonight, the conditions made it extremely tough to get him out there. As you can tell, that’s playing with 12 [players] at times. Even though they were loading up, we were playing zero, he still was able to hit some big runs, and again, our coaches really did a good job. They’ve had a lot of stress on them and they’ve worked exceptionally hard. I’m proud of them.” Stoops said.

(Quote via Kentucky Sports Radio)

It sounds like Stoops isn’t quite ready to say he is going to pull Bowden, especially after a game like that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lynn Bowden’s reign at QB has come to an end. We will know more later this week.

Where do we go from here?

After last nights big win, Kentucky is now 4-4 (2-4). Their bowl hopes are still alive going into this bye-week.

Next game up is against Tennessee on Nov. 9 at Kroger Field. They have Vanderbilt, UT Martin, and Louisville left on the schedule after the Vols. You need two wins to get bowl eligible and anything more is gravy.

Assuming UT Martin is an automatic win (it is), Kentucky needs one of Louisville, Vandy, and Tennessee, and I believe they will win at least one of those games.

If Mark Stoops and Kentucky can get to a bowl game after all of the injuries they’ve been faced with, it will be a very special accomplishment.

Just How Bad is Kentucky on Third down This Season?

Benny Snell is no longer in the backfield, and this season, it seems every time that the Wildcats have a third down, especially in key situations, the Cats fail to convert.

Is this just us as fans being pessimists, or is this actually the case?

Turns out, this is actually the case.

Over the course of the 2019 season, Kentucky has only converted 35.11% of their third-down attempts, which currently ranks 12th in the SEC. This is the worst mark since the 5-7, 2014 Kentucky Wildcats, who had a 33.88% conversion rate.

Even worse, on third and short, Kentucky has the worst conversion rate in the SEC at 39.13%.

Even more frustrating, Kentucky’s opponents convert on third down 42.05% of the time, the second-worst rate in the SEC.

Tonight the Cats enter a 5-game stretch that will define the season. While UT-Martin is nearly a guaranteed victory, the other four are near toss-ups. In these upcoming games, there will be third-downs on each side of the ball that the Cats will need to capitalize on.

Relive Kentucky’s Miracle Win Over Missouri Last Year

Good afternoon BBN! It’s game day as our University of Kentucky Wildcats take on the Missouri Tigers in a must-win game.

The Cats are 3-4 after their loss to Georgia last Saturday and need a win today to keep their bowl hopes alive.

Just like last weekend, the weather for tonight looks like it’s going to be nasty. A lot of wind, rain, and cold temperatures. Sounds like perfect weather for football right?

Last year, Kentucky was in the same spot, although the game was a must-win for a different reason, Kentucky had a chance to play Georgia for the SEC East with a win.

The game in Columbia last year was ugly, to say the least. Kentucky never got anything going offensively, but Lynn Bowden saved the day with a punt return for a touchdown.

Kentucky’s offensive struggles continued, but Kentucky somehow found a way to win the game. Terry Wilson to C.J. Conrad for the win.

Terry Wilson was 6-6 for 87 yards and a touchdown on the final drive.

Listen to Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro call the two plays:

Go Cats.

The Good, the Bad, the Worst: How this Football Season Could End for Kentucky?

This Kentucky football season has been a roller coaster. After a very disappointing start to the season, Kentucky got back on its feet with a big win against Arkansas last Saturday. More importantly, us fans were given some hope after seeing what Lynn Bowden could do at quarterback.

With only six games left in the season, and Lynn Bowden and Sawyer Smith both taking first-string snaps in practice, we don’t really know how this season is going to play out. So, here is the best, bad, and worst ways this season could end for Kentucky.

Good

No, this does not include beating Georgia. I’m sorry, but I don’t think there’s a chance in hell Kentucky leaves Athens with a win.

Kentucky goes to Georgia and puts on a good performance with Lynn Bowden at the helm, but the Bulldogs are just bigger, stronger, faster at every position possible and the Cats lose.

You have Missouri, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, UT Martin, and Louisville left on the schedule after that. You get Sawyer Smith back at 100%, go 4-0 to end the season, finish 8-4, and everyone is happy.

Most importantly, you keep the entire recruiting class together.

Bad

The Cats go down to Athens and get crushed with Lynn Bowden at QB. Bowden gets replaced by Sawyer Smith in the second half and the “Lynn Bowden starting QB” era is over quickly.

Sawyer Smith isn’t quite the same as we saw in the first half against Florida, but Kentucky puts some of the pieces back together, goes 6-6, and makes a bowl game. Not disastrous, but not good.

You also probably lose some of the recruiting class, which isn’t good either.

Worst

This is what would be featured in the nightmares of the BBN.

UK gets shutout by Georgia and can’t do anything. Lynn Bowden plays bad, get benched for Sawyer Smith, and the offense still looks bad and Smith still doesn’t look healthy.

Sawyer Smith vs. Lynn Bowden continues, Smith still doesn’t look healthy, and Bowden gets the job because Smith can’t go. Things improve a little, but not by much.

Kentucky never gets the pieces back together, and the only win they get coming down the home stretch is a miserable win over UT Martin.

Cats go 4-8 after a 10-3 season, the recruiting class is gone, and I don’t really want to think about this anymore, so I am stopping here.