Friday, November 07, 2008

UK Wins Game 1 in IU/UK Thriller

Lexington, Kentucky - The 2009-2010 college football season was was kicked off with a classic 52 - 38 thriller between IU and UK. It was key win for the Wildcats. The IU/UK rivalry was renewed last year inadvertently with the Capital One Bowl. "I think this is a great game to have on the schedule every year", said Coach Fife. IU's coach, Jason Sims, was in total agreement. "Even before the [Capital One] bowl game I was in preliminary talks with Coach Fife to renew the rivalry."

In years past IU, UK, and other football fans alike were treated to high octane, high stakes football matchups. On many occasions the winner would go on to the BCS National Championship Game. On a couple of occasions, the BCS National Championship Game brought the rematch between the two teams.

Those games have not been forgotten: the final drive lead by Shane Boyd for the go ahead field goal in the final seconds of the 2004-2005 season, the revenge of QB Jason Sims and WR Matt Rauch the very next year to steal a back to back victory from UK. "That was when we ran out of time on the goal line. That was tough to swallow. The one-two punch they had was just deadly. I'll never forget that", said Coach Fife.

And then there was the infamous "Goal Line Walk". When UK was down by 3 points to IU in the final minute and UK quarterback Kelly Fife threw an 82 yard bomb to his wideout for the winning touchdown. The controversy came as the wideout reached the goal line. With 40 seconds left in the game the wideout walked parallel with goal line instead of entering the end zone which shaved off 8 seconds. Coach Fife called it strategy; Coach Krilich (who attended the game) called it unnecessary. "It was blatant. I don't care what he says. It was uncalled for to go across the goal line like that. You know what, if that [expletive] got pulled on me, he'd have another physical confrontation on his hands and I'm not talking about football!"

"Yeah I still feel horrible about that. I had my wide receiver slow down and go along the goal line to burn more time off the clock. Coach Sims' offense is lethal. Everyone knows that I didn't want to give him any extra opportunity. Unfortunately it came off as some sort of showboat; swing my [explicative] around move. I'm just glad Coach Sims and I have mended that fence."

The "Bloody Toe" incident was another classic. UK, holding a 13 point lead on IU, decided to do throw one last heave to the end zone before the end of the first half the national championship. The decision paid off with a 59 yard touchdown pass. Coach Sims, enraged by the misscommication of receiver assignments, threw his headset down spun in a circle three times and then just came short of punching a TV monitor that was near the IU bench. Incredibly, Coach Sims cut his toe and it started to bleed. "To this day, I still don't know how that happened. I was so frustrated with my secondary and was about to let them have it when all of a sudden I noticed my toe was bleeding."

The latest game between these two teams did not prove to be any less exciting. IU coming in with a preseason ranking of #19 was poised for some Capital One Bowl revenge. "We were playing great in the [Capital One] bowl game last year until Kellen [Lewis] got injured. I felt with him healthy, UK wouldn't be able to stop the option attack." The biggest visible difference was the absence of Heisman Runner Up Marcus Thigpen. "We definitely miss him and it showed tonight." IU's running game, still very strong with the option attack, could not keep control of the game for the Hoosiers.

"We got into a position where Kellen was forced to throw too often. It haunted us a bit", said Coach Sims. And he was right. Lewis threw 4 picks in the game. Paul Warford intercepted Lewis 2 times and each one was crucial. Warford also intercepted Lewis a third time but it was called back because of a roughing the passer penalty. "Warford played on hell of a 'Welcome Back' game", said Coach Fife. Warford, who was academically ineligible a year ago, sat out last season via redshirt. "I knew going into the season Warford would be a force, but he exceeded my expectations tonight". Besides his two interceptions, he was second on the team with 7 tackles.

That wasn't the only new addition to UK. True freshman Chris Hall made a huge splash with a 70 touchdown catch. "We promised him significant playing time this year, and he repaid us with a touchdown that we desperately needed. I think he'll flourish in this new offense." Coach Fife ripped out the Rich Brooks offense after the season ended. "We were too one dimensional. If we couldn't get the ball to Dicky Lyons then the offense sputtered then died, and we couldn't rely on the running game most of the season." Curtis Pulley threw for a career high 368 yards. "It felt good", said Pulley. "I felt in the groove most of the game and our receivers ran crisp routes all night." Pulley threw for 2 touchdowns and ran for 3 more.

It was turnovers that doomed the Hoosiers. 4 interceptions to UK's 1 fumble. After the 4th interception Coach Fife heard the banshee-like scream come from Coach Sims on the other sideline. "I'd do that too! If I had three turnovers in a game with an opportunity to still win only to have another interception, you'd probably see more do more than scream. I guarantee that it would have come down to who had the ball last if it wasn't for the turnovers. They made some very big 4th down conversions. They played well and have nothing to be ashamed about", said Fife.

"Next year we go to their place. The last time that happened we got trounced. I'm positive they'll be looking forward to that", said Coach Fife. It's obvious that will be another great game to see.

1 comment:

Studicus said...

Holy crap! Someone else posted something on TFT!

If you're keeping count, that's the first non-Studicus post since September 16, 2008. Before that post (a video tribute to my Xbox 360 from Krildog), the last non-Studicus entry was February 17, 2008 (also from Krildog).