By Meghan Alessi
I will preface this by saying that I am indeed a Kentucky fan. If you’re a Louisville fan you may want to skip to the next article.
Saturday did not bode well for Wildcat fans. I doubt that many people truly believed Kentucky would win the game, or at least anyone with a true sense of reality. However, there was a point in time where it looked like the Wildcats had a shot. They kept up with Louisville in the first half defensively, but dropped the ball (pun intended) offensively. Near the half they fumbled, resulting in a turnover, which botched their chances of tying before the buzzer and left the score 10-3 with the Cards ahead at the half.
The second half was still strong defensively for the Cats, but they were definitely getting tired. The offense was interrupted by a few bad passes and mistakes, blocking any sort of offensive rhythm. The Cats scored late in the half, but ultimately the game ended in the Cards’ favor with a score of 27-13.
Your team is only as strong as your quarterback. Of course, every other position is important too, but it helps if your quarterback can get the ball to his teammates (and if your teammates can catch the ball). It seems as though for the past few seasons there hasn’t been that key element to the Kentucky team. With no real consistency you never know what you’re going to get out there on the field. Players with seemingly good potential end up unimpressive at best. Prior to the season, Head Coach Mark Stoops stressed the lack of worry he had about the quarterback situation. With three talented quarterbacks, what could go wrong? With Patrick Towles redshirted that leaves Jalen Whitlow and Max Smith to duke it out for the spot. Smith, with a possible injury to his arm, hasn’t been performing to the best of his ability and Whitlow can’t seem to settle into the game. The wide receivers are also partly to blame, as they have missed “easy” passes from time to time, especially on potential first-downs. There were eight of these in the game against the Cards. Only time will tell if this team can pull it together, with the help of Stoops, of course.
Stoops has the potential and the ability; he just needs a little more time to get there. One season isn’t going to do the trick. He has already created more hype out of this program than there has been, since Rich Brooks’ Cats beat #1 team LSU in triple overtime (2007). His presence is already portrayed on the field as many of the players that have made a difference in these first games have been his recruits. Coincidence? I think not.
The Cards may be able to put this feather in their cap, but I think you would be hard pressed to find many people other than Louisville fans putting them into the final game of the postseason. With a schedule lacking any real competition (no teams in the AP Top 25), it will be hard for them to prove themselves as a national championship contender until their bowl game. As for the Bridgewater/Heisman debate— that’s best saved for another article. Enjoy the Governor’s Cup for now, until we meet again.