After a bitter offseason of constant back and forth bickering from the Kentucky/Louisville fans, the team finally took the field for the battle for the Governor’s Cup. And the first thing that came to mind was that Kentucky’s offense would be improved. Max Smith looked poised on the opening drive and drove UK from their 25 to the Louisville 41 where they were stopped on downs. Kentucky appeared to catch an early break when Kai Dominquez fumbled the punt and the Cardinals recovered dangerously close to a safety, within their own one yard line.
The second observation of this season is that Kentucky’s defense is significantly worse. Despite a third and 9 from his own 2 yard line, Teddy calmly found Damian Copeland (who burned Martavious Neloms) for a 25 yard pick up. And that is what they call foreshadowing. The Kentucky defense had little resistance the rest of the way as the hyped UK defensive line was shoved around by Louisville. The result? A 15 play, 99 yard drive that culminated in a Jeremy Wright one yard run. Kentucky was caught sleeping on the conversion and Louisville converted a two point conversion and Louisville smacked UK in the face. 8-0. Boom.
Luckily, Kentucky IS much improved on offense as Max Smith drove Kentucky 14 plays for 75 yards to answer. Smith showed great poise and the Wildcats converted on four third downs on the drive. Smith found Tyler Robinson from one yard out and Kentucky clawed to within 8-7 and it was looking as if this would be a game of no defense on either side.
Kentucky certainly lived up to that as Senorise Perry bounced off a couple of defenders and raced for a 47 yard touchdown that put UL up 15-7. After a three and out by the Wildcats, Louisville put together a 10 play, 93 yard drive which Jeremy Wright capped with a virtually untouched 14 yard run up the middle and Louisville had a 22-7 lead and visions of a Big Blue beatdown went through the Louisville fanbases head. It did not help that while Kentucky was driving to end the half, Raymond Sanders fumbled at the Louisville 39. The Cards took that 22-7 lead into the locker room at the half and owned an embarrassing 314-165 yardage advantage over the Wildcats.
Both QB’s played well, but Teddy Bridgewater absolutely shredded the Kentucky secondary, completing 12-13 passes for 178 yards. Maxwell Smith went 15-21 for 103 yards and a TD. That was bad, but the Louisville owned the ground as well. Jeremy Wright had 14 carries for 65 yards and Senorise Perry 5 carries for 63 yards. With the game looking like a sure rout, and Louisville getting the ball at the half, Joker Phillips had to shake things up.
And he did.