Photos by Michael Bennett
BY Bill Crockett
(LEXINGTON, Ky.) — Kentucky (7-5, 3-5 SEC) weathered a torrential downpour and overpowered in-state rival Louisville, 45-13, in a beatdown at Kroger Field. Coach Stoops’ squad mercilessly spanked “Little Brother” in front of a boisterous home crowd. Much to the chagrin of Coach Satterfield, rain gear-clad fans and players alike repeatedly flashed L’s down as the ‘Cats shattered last week’s 465-yard single-game rushing record with a mind-blowing 517-yards.
Cardinals coach Scott Satterfield’s postgame reaction created quite a buzz. Evidently, the ‘Cats good-natured taunting ruffled a few feathers on the opposing sideline. Frustrated, Satterfield took offense to the repeated display of L’s down and became animated when he shook hands with Coach Stoops after the game. “Our team was very respectful all day,” Stoops artfully noted. “If an L’s down is going to offend them, there’s going to be a lot worse in this rivalry over time.”
It’s common knowledge that the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry runs deep throughout the Commonwealth. And honestly, would a game against your archrival be any fun if someone didn’t get mad? “It feels great,” Bowden, Jr. responded when asked about defeating the Cards. “We went out there and put our heart on the line.” A smash-mouth runner, Bowden went full-on L’s down and set a new SEC QB rushing record with 284-yards on 22 carries.
“This is our state,” said senior DE Calvin Taylor. “There is no doubt. We are the best team in the state and have proved it two years in a row.” UK’s defense remained rock-solid, allowing 17-points or fewer for the fifth consecutive game. Once considered a weakness, the ‘Cats’ secondary held Louisville’s redshirt freshman QB Micale Cunningham in check. “Our coaches had a great game plan and we just went out there and executed,” senior safety Jordan Griffin offered.
Although Bowden, Jr. completed just one pass, both he and redshirt freshman Chris Rodriguez, Jr. exploited Louisville’s porous defense. “Obviously, you want to throw the ball a lot more, but if they can’t stop it then why move away from it,” Rodriguez reasoned. Bowden’s offensive onslaught included 4 rushing touchdowns while Rodriguez exploded for a 64-yard TD run of his own. For the game, Rodriguez finished with 125-yards on just 9 touches.
Despite the cloudburst, Bowden, Jr. spent most of his time celebrating in the end zone. “What can you say about Lynn,” said UK coach Mark Stoops. “He is truly remarkable in so many ways. You have to recognize his competitive nature, and just how tough and competitive and what a leader he is.” Bowden emerged as the team’s alpha dog and finished the regular season with 1,235 rushing yards. Counting kickoffs and punts, Bowden accumulated 2,166 total yards of offense.
UK’s secondary and defensive front dominated Louisville’s offensive scheme. Coming into the season, analysts viewed Kentucky’s defensive unit—specifically the secondary—as the team’s weak link. For the game, the ‘Cats had 13 tackles for loss and a staggering 6 sacks. Hard-hitting linebackers DeAndre Square and Jamin Davis brought constant pressure and led the ‘Cats with 7 tackles. 6-foot-3, 242-pound outside linebacker Jamar “Boogie” Watson had 6 tackles and 2 sacks.
Bowden, Jr. earned the Schnellenberger MVP Award in what will likely be his final Governor’s Cup. Bowden, an All-America candidate and a Paul Hornung Award finalist, accomplished mind-boggling feats and transcended expectations. As the ‘Cats await a December bowl selection announcement, expect more L’s down when coach Chris Mack’s Louisville Cardinals roll into Rupp on December 28th. Let’s hope Mack has a better sense of humor than Satterfield.