Kentucky Football: While not pretty Wildcats gutsy performance sweet win

Kentucky’s Will Levis
Kentucky’s Will Levis /
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Ashtitcally the game itself may not have been a thing a beauty, but down deep where it matters the Kentucky football team reached inside its soul and came away with a gutsy 35-28 win over Missouri a low and behold tied for first place in the Southeastern Conference East.

There were so many incredible storylines in this game that could be plucked out and dissected, but more importantly, Kentucky delivered a statement to the conference that they can be legit contenders.

Kentucky football will never blowout teams week after week that’s a fact. Every game is an adventure unto itself and Big Blue Nation has come to expect that and accept that.

Often we fans need the super-sized bottle of Pepto Bismol just to survive indigestion and frustration of oddity plays that seem to only happen to us.

Kentucky football shows more hope and what the program is built upon

But on this September 11, 2021 night before a packed, juiced up and energized Kroger Field fans saw a team that before 2018 would typically pack things up and find every way in the world to lose.

Heartache, frustration, and disbelief were the norm then. After going toe-to-toe with Mizzou and fighting the Tigers off for the win there is still frustration and disbelief in the bazaar that routinely happens but instead of heartache, there is now hope.

Hope in knowing that these Wildcats will fight and win games and not be the doormat of the conference.

Donning their all blue Smurf uniforms they also reached back to their roots of playing run, run, run Kentucky football rumbling for 340 yards on the ground.

Christopher Rodriguez Jr. carried the ball a career-high 27 times for a career-high 206 yards and scored three touchdowns. Two on the ground and his first in the air. He also fumbled twice at the goal line, one resulting in a turnover and the other a touchdown for his team.

Wan’Dale Robison racked up 73 yards on the ground, with 64 coming on a beautiful end-around play on the opening drive for 64 yards to set up Rodriguez’s first score.

Quarterback Will Levis completed just 10 of 18 passes for 179 yards and an interception.

The bottom line that will be lost is that for the first time in school history, this Wildcat team has put up over 500 yards of total offense in each of their first two games the season.

The attitude is what Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has instilled here and the desire to succeed.

"“Well, that’s the first thing we talk about in our program. I mean, I’m not going to sit here and tell you about the poor pillars of this program, this or that. I don’t talk about pillars, but I talk about attitude, toughness, discipline and pride. And attitude is the number one thing we talk about. So you better have an attitude or you’re not going to play here. So I love seeing it. I love the way he — you know, I love their effort, you know? And, again, it was my job to — it’s my job to get them ready each and every week. And they certainly responded today. They were ready to play. Maybe a little over anxious at times. But we’ll find that right slot. Our best football is in front of us.”"

He will take the win but won’t be happy with the overall performance as he quickly pointed out on the sideline to Alyssa Lang, but he should be happy at the impact he has made on the program. Although he will never admit that.

So just what did we learn, here are a few quick first observations.