A Letter to Lynn Bowden Jr., Thank You!

Lynn Bowden Jr. has come a long way in his three years at Kentucky and has sacrificed himself for this program and for his “forever home” in Lexington.

On behalf of the BBN, I want to respond to Lynn with this.

Lynn “Come See About It” Bowden,

After a 10-win season, this season had unmatched anticipation from the Big Blue Nation. After Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith were both sidelined with injuries, that excitement turned into doubt and a 2-3 record before you took over, in what we all thought would be a waste of a season.

Yeah, we seen you return kicks, punts, and make some insane catches and plays as the best playmaker on the team, but it would be a lie to say that we didn’t have a little doubt when a wide receiver was named as the quarterback prior to the Arkansas game.

Those doubts were gone in 60 minutes when you literally carried Kentucky to a win on Jared Lorenzen Night with 176 rushing yards, 78 passing yards, ending a three-game skid with a 24-yard run to win the game.

The next eight games to close out the season were some of the most exciting games and impressive performances Kentucky football has ever seen. We seen moves quarterbacks don’t make and things quarterbacks aren’t supposed to do, but you did, and you led this team to a 6-2 record with you under center including a bowl winning pass.

Lynn, you manufactured a season to remember, when we did not think there was a chance of that, and you did so in only EIGHT games as quarterback, when EVERYONE knew you were going to run. I mean just look at this year’s accomplishments.

    • Paul Hornung Award (Nation’s Most Versatile Player)
    • SEC Leading Rusher (1,468 yards)
    • NCAA Leading Rushing Average Per Attempt (7.9 yards)
    • Consensus First Team All-American
    • First Team All-SEC
    • Belk Bowl MVP

As a quarterback who ran the ball 20+ times a game, you sacrificed yourself and took some hard hits, but you showed heart and grittiness and always found a way to stay in the game. We can play the what if game and wander what would have been if you had played 12 games at quarterback, but one thing is for sure, you will live in Kentucky football folklore for a loooonnnnngggg time.

Let’s come see about it in the NFL!

Thank you,

The “Best Fans in the Damn Land” aka Big Blue Nation

Five Predictions for the next Decade

We had a pretty good ending to the decade for University of Kentucky athletics. The basketball Cats beat No. 3 Louisville in an OT thriller and the football Cats pulled out a last second win against Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl with Lynn Bowden throwing the winning touchdown pass.

This past decade treated Kentucky fans pretty good too. A national title and a great basketball run, Kentucky baseball made the Super Regionals, Mark Stoops brought Kentucky football back from the dead with four straight winning seasons, including two bowl wins and a 10-3 season.

Whether you want to admit it or not, it was a great ten years for Kentucky Athletics. Yeah we could’ve won a few more games here and there, some more important than others, but it was a great decade.

With another ten years on the horizon for Kentucky sports, here are five predictions for this next decade.

Alcohol will be sold at all games

A very controversial decision that was made this past year with no alcohol sales at Kentucky sporting events will come to an end.

Even though alcohol is allowed in the suites where the rich are, alcohol will be sold to fans with a stadium seat.

Many other programs have already allowed alcohol sales, raising revenue substantially. There was already a lot of backlash after this past decision, so I do not see it lasting long.

Kentucky football will make the SEC Championship game

I didn’t think Kentucky football would have the success that they have had, so here we go.

Mark Stoops has done a tremendous job with bringing Kentucky football back from the dead and making them a legit contender in the east.

After they hosted Georgia last year with a trip to Atlanta on the line, I can’t help but think it will happen again and Kentucky will win.

It could come as soon as next year with Kentucky’s roster loaded with talent and the Bulldogs coming to Lexington for another matchup with the Cats.

Mark Stoops will not leave Kentucky

As I said above, Stoops has already had a ton of success with Kentucky. After a terrible start to his career, Stoops is now 44-44 in his career at Kentucky with a 10-3 season and a major bowl win backed up by an 8-5 season with a WR at QB and a bowl win.

If the Cats do accomplish Stoops’ ultimate goal and make the SEC Championship game, many schools will come calling.

I think there will be a lot of drama surrounding Stoops and other jobs, but at the end of the day, Mark Stoops will not leave Kentucky.

Kentucky basketball will get No. 9 and No. 10

Kentucky basketball and John Calipari have not won a title since 2012 and while a lot of people think he’s underachieving, which is complete nonsense, Kentucky has been knocking on the door for many years now.

Kentucky will get No. 9 and No. 10 this decade. With the one and done ending, I would not be surprised if the Cats won back-to-back titles.

Now, if John Calipari spends 15 years at Kentucky and wins only one national title, then we can talk about whether he underachieved here.

John Calipari will retire

Since John Calipari has been at Kentucky, there have been many rumors about him leaving. The rumors started right after Kentucky won the title in 2012 and have been swirling ever since.

Who will follow him? I have no clue. I just know that we need to cherish these next few years with Calipari.

If the above does happen, I think Cal will retire right after.

Three Big Kentucky Football Recruits Deciding Today

In exactly two weeks, Kentucky will take on Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. But today, it’s a big day in the recruiting world as three Kentucky targets are making their decision.

Four-star recruits RJ Adams, Jeremy Flax, and Joel Williams will all be making their college decisions today.

Before they decide, let’s take a quick look at each recruit.

R.J. Adams

Adams is a 6-foot-3, 320-pound offensive lineman from Woodbridge, Virginia. He is ranked 12 at his position and sixth in the state of Virginia, according to Rivals.

The four-star recruit was committed to Penn State, then out of the blue announced that he was de-committing from the Nittany Lions in mid-September.

Adams was on campus for the UT Martin game and is considering the Cats along with Penn State, Miami (FL), LSU, NC State, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida State.

Jeremy Flax

Flax is a 6-foot-6, 320-pound offensive tackle from Detroit, Michigan. Flax currently attends Independence Community College, which was a featured school in the Netflix Series “Last Chance You.”

He is ranked 42nd nationally, fourth at his position, and ninth in Michigan, according to 247Sports.

Flax is deciding today between Kentucky, Texas Tech, and Auburn.

Joel Williams

Williams is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound cornerback from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Williams currently attends Madison Prep Academy in Louisiana.

He is ranked 304th nationally, 13th at his positions, and 12th in Louisiana according to 247Sports.

The four-star recruit is deciding today between Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, and Alabama. Does it get any better than that?

It would be huge for Kentucky to get all three, but it doesn’t sound like that is likely to happen. Either way, it’s a huge day for Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops with the early signing period starting tomorrow.

Lynn Bowden is entering the 2020 NFL Draft

Lynn Bowden’s final game at Kroger Field was last Saturday against Louisville and his final game in a Kentucky uniform will be in the Belk Bowl on December 31.

The star wide-out turned QB this season, announced this afternoon on social media that he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

As a wide receiver, Bowden totaled 114 receptions, 1,303 yards, and six touchdowns in two years and three games.

As a QB, Bowden totaled 151 rushing attempts, 1,235 yards, and 11 touchdowns in seven games.

Hard to believe his time at UK will only last one more game.

Thank you for everything, Lynn.

Benny Snell Jr. Shining for the Pittsburgh Steelers

While Kentucky’s running game is strong with Lynn Bowden Jr. under center, Benny Snell Jr. just started in his second consecutive game for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Before starting last week’s game against the winless Cincinnati Bengals, Snell missed nearly a month due to a new injury.

Snell was named the starter upon his return, as Pro-Bowl running back, James Conner, has yet to return from a shoulder injury.

Snell was run for 98 yards on 21 carries against the Bengals last week. This past Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Snell ran for 63 yards on 16 carries, including his first NFL touchdown.

Not to mention, he brought back the spinning mouthguard.

After winning both games with Snell as the starting running back, it’s safe to say Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, is a fan of “Benny Snell football”.

Former Star Recruit, Joey Gatewood, Transferring to Kentucky

YAHTZEE!!!

Less than a week after Kentucky stomped Louisville to go 7-5 and finish bowl eligible for the fourth straight year, the Cats pick up a massive transfer.

Former Auburn QB, Joey Gatewood, announced this evening that he will be transferring to Kentucky.

Man he looks good in blue and white.

Gatewood, who was recruited as UK’s “missing piece”, was the No. 3 dual-threat QB and ranked 39th overall in the 2018 class.

Gatewood is the highest-rated QB to commit to Kentucky since Tim Couch and is one of the highest-rated players to ever commit to the program.

The 6-5, 230 pound, quarterback was initially compared to Cam Newton due to his size and even draws a resemblance to Newton’s herky-jerky jukes when he runs.

As for his passing game, Gatewood is a pre-snap, read quarterback, which results in a lot of quick two-step dropback tosses, usually on quick hitch routes or slant. However, Gatewood has the arm to exploit mismatches with the deep ball.

It’s no doubt that Gatewood has the talent but next season, I expect Stoops to save his eligibility go with Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith as the main options at QB.

However, if there were an to be an injury or neither have fully recovered, Gatewood could file for an eligibility waiver which has been granted to many top QBs in recent years. Not to mention, Beau Allen is on his way.

Stoops continues to recruit the kind of players I never thought we would see wear the blue and white.

The future looks mighty bright!

Lynn Bowden is the Man

We already know this, but I need to harp on it just a little bit more.

With Terry Wilson getting knocked out for the year against Eastern Michigan and Sawyer Smith getting injured against Mississippi State then furthering those injuries against South Carolina, Lynn Bowden was all we had left.

Through five games, Kentucky was 2-3, no QB’s, and the only thing we were saying was “please, just makes a bowl somehow.”

Then, Lynn Bowden showed up.

We all know Lynn should’ve played against South Carolina and I think Kentucky would be 8-4 if he had started at QB a game earlier, but who cares at this point.

With seven games left, the season was in Lynn Bowden’s hands…he did not disappoint.

Bowden was a QB in high school, so there was some hope. But, we’d really have no passing threat. Which proved to be no problem at all.

This season, Bowden had 151 rushing attempts, 1,235 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Playing QB, he has rushed for 1,136 yards, and 11 touchdowns.

Bowden has played only seven games at the QB position this year and is top 20 on the rushing list. Where would he be if he had been playing QB all year?

Bowden has the least amount of attempts in the top 20 (151), with the second being 168 by Travis Entienne, who is the RB at Clemson.

In these seven games with Bowden at QB, Kentucky has won by an average of 25 points. The closest margin being four points, which was the 24-20 win against Arkansas, Bowden’s first game at QB.

The top five on the rushing list are Chuba Hubbard, Jonathan Taylor, AJ Dillon, J.K. Dobbins, and Jaret Patterson.

In seven games:

  • Chuba Hubbard: 998 yards
  • Jonathan Taylor: 1,106
  • J.K. Dillon: 1,058
  • Jaret Patterson: 1,100
  • Lynn Bowden: 1,136

The best part of it all? He ran for 284 yards and four touchdowns against Louisville and kicked their ass.

The Cats went 5-2 with Bowden at the helm, beat Louisville, and finished 7-5 to be bowl eligible for the fourth straight season. Pretty freakin good if you ask me.

Lynn Bowden is the man.

Where Was Kash Daniel in the Second Half?

Saturday night, Kentucky football became bowl eligible for the fourth year in a row under Mark Stoops in a 50-7 thumping of UT Martin.

The starters got their minutes in the first half and we also saw some potential stars in the second half, giving us fans a little glimpse at what is to come in the future.

However, there was one player that did not exit the tunnel for the second half of play. That player being senior linebacker Kash Daniel.

The radio broadcast called it a “non-medical” issue and Stoops did not address it, leaving the fanbase to speculate.

Kash did reveal on a call with Kentucky Sports Radio on Friday that he has suffered two concussions this season.

The Kentucky native did have a controversial play in the Florida game at the beginning of the season where he appeared to intentionally twist quarterback Kyle Trask’s ankle. Daniel was suspended for the first half of the Mississippi State game the following Saturday.

This is an odd occurrence, especially with Senior Day coming this week.

Is Auburn Transfer, QB Joey Gatewood, the Missing Piece for UK Football?

This season, Kentucky has lost nearly every real and capable quarterback option they had coming into the season.

With Terry Wilson returning and four-star, Kentucky native, Beau Allen coming in, that’s going to change quickly next season.

That’s not even mentioning a BIG TIME potential transfer, QB Joey Gatewood.

Gatewood was a four-star and No. 49 overall recruit in the 2018 class, holding offers from virtually every major program in the country before committing to Auburn.

Could he be the missing piece to taking UK Football to the next level? Coach Stoops and Company seem to believe so, as Gatewood posted this on his Instagram story.

The 6-5, 230 pound, quarterback was initially compared to Cam Newton due to his size and even draws a resemblance to Newton’s herky-jerky jukes when he runs.

As for his passing game, Gatewood is a pre-snap, read quarterback, which results in a lot of quick two-step dropback tosses, usually on quick hitch routes or slant. However, Gatewood has the arm to exploit mismatches with the deep ball.

Gatewood took a visit to Lexington as they played Tennessee in early November, and despite the brutal loss, sources have said the visit went extremely well.

Gatewood would be a huge get for the program, and if the season has taught us anything, it’s never a bad thing to have too many quarterbacks.

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.