Kentucky hasn’t been to a bowl game in 6 years. It’s been longer than that since we played a “major” bowl. But, being that we are Kentucky football, it’s become something we’re accustomed to.
However, this year looks to be the year we get things back on track to make it into another bowl game. A lot of fans, including myself, were calling for Stoops’ head at the beginning of the year after losing to the Southern Miss team. But I’ve seen the light, as have many others. Stoops has started to fulfill his promises and is one win away from taking us to a bowl game. One win!
Winning against Missouri on the road by a couple of touchdowns had our fan base hyped for the showdown in Commonwealth against Georgia. The place was packed, everyone was in blue, the team was in a never before tried uniform combo (not a fan), and a bowl game was hanging in the balance along with a hefty losing streak to the Bulldogs.
The game was a back and forth affair, with a penalty erasing a made UK field goal ending up being the difference in the game. Georgia was able to march methodically down the field and get well within field goal range with three seconds left on the clock, the score tied.
You live by the sword, you die by the sword. We’d won in the same fashion just two weeks ago. I can still see our kicker being carried on the team’s shoulders into the locker room after that Mississippi State game. A 48 yard field goal to win yet another SEC game, the ball splitting the uprights as time expired. Everyone freaking out. It was such a cool moment.
Fast forward to the Georgia game. The stadium was so quiet even though it was filled to capacity. Georgia had just hit a chip shot of a field goal as time expired to win. The losing streak to the Dogs continued. We were still a win away from a bowl game. We’d had a field goal wiped off by a penalty. We’d had a sure touchdown pass bounce off a receiver’s chest into a defender’s arms. There were so many chances. But we couldn’t make it happen.
I know it just sounds super dramatic, but it was a heartbreaking way to lose a game we were all so excited for. I can’t tell you the last time I counted down the days before a Kentucky football game. All last week I was so ready to get to the Georgia game so we could become bowl eligible and win another conference game.
Also, we were getting a lot of national attention because Florida had lost earlier that day. A Kentucky win against Georgia would have put us in first place in the SEC East (wut?) for the first time in pretty much forever. Add to that a possible (but totally unlikely) win against Tennessee, and we could find ourselves in Atlanta playing Bama for the SEC Championship.
So much was on the line Saturday, so to lose the way we lost was just really emotional. Did we cry? No. Were we disappointed? Of course. Will we come back with a vengeance and run the table? We play Louisville and Tennessee so probably not. But will we at least compete and make it to a bowl game? I sure hope so. We’ll find out. Go Big Blue.
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