Kentucky Has a Football Team?
It’s time to hit the hardwood once again in the Bluegrass State! Hold that thought, it’s actually football time. The whole country has the same thoughts when the University of Kentucky is brought up, basketball. So speaking about UK Football is probably turning you off, but you’re in for a good one. UK at the moment is 4-0 on the season, and 2-0 in the SEC, the toughest conference in college football, for the first time since 1977. They’re also ranked 17th in the nation, the first appearance in the polls since 2007, the year UK handed LSU, the BCS National Champs of that year, their only loss of the season. After 2007, UK dropped off a cliff in terms of relevance in the college football terrain. However, they have made a comeback from the grave the past 2 years. Time to give Kentucky Football some respect.
Don’t call it a comeback if they never left. I’m just kidding, it was definitely a comeback compared to UK teams in the past. The hiring of Mark Stoops, brother of former Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops, marked a turning point in the football program. His first few years were a struggle because the quality of players that he recruits had not arrived and developed yet, having a 2-win season, and two 5-win seasons. Although, he turned a big corner by defeating Tennessee, ending the 26-YEAR drought. Then defeating Louisville, who had the unstoppable, Heisman winning Lamar Jackson. Finally, this year, defeating the Florida Gators for the first time in over 30 YEARS. I was negative 13 years old the last time UK beat Florida. This past weekend, UK also thrashed the 14th ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs, which thrust-ed the Wildcats into the top-25 rankings.
Who fueled such a comeback in the football program? Two names, Benny Snell and Josh Allen. Benny Snell, from Westerville, Ohio, was a 3-star running back in the class of 2016. Today, he’s a Heisman candidate. How’s that for a plot twist? He’s a two-time 1,000 yard rusher, and is well on his way to a 3rd here in his Junior year. This past weekend, he broke the school record for career touchdowns, passing UK deity Randall Cobb. He also has a good chance to be the leading rusher in school history by the end of the year if he keeps his pace. Benny is averaging 135 YPG. Josh Allen, on the other hand, is a physical freak of a linebacker. The Senior defensive team captain finally broke out of his shell during his Junior year. The former 2-star recruit out of high school that only had two college offers from Monmouth and UK, has had an incredible Senior season so far. He’s racked up 3 sacks, 25 total tackles, 2 pass deflections, and a game winning forced fumble against Florida.
Why Is This Important?
This is important because Kentucky has finally came around to being a football school to go along with basketball. They have proved that they’re here to stay, and to be a force in the SEC. The days of other teams around the SEC chalking up UK as an easy win are finished. Benny Snell will run over you, or run past you, pick your poison. Josh Allen will sack your quarterback, then chase down your running back. The Wildcats will come to your town and beat your team. That’s no longer just a basketball phrase, and it’s about time they get the recognition and respect they deserve nationwide.