A year ago, Western Kentucky lost its season opener to Kentucky but left the field convinced it was the better football team, yelling 'They supposed to be SEC!' despite Kentucky's victory.
Jonathan George goes airborne after a hit from WKU (TPC/Mark Zerof)
The Hilltoppers backed up the brash talk by intercepting Maxwell Smith four times on the way to a thrilling 32-31 overtime victory over Kentucky in front of 53,980 fans at Commonwealth Stadium. The loss dropped Kentucky to 1-2 on the season and eliminates any doubt as to whether coach Joker Phillips is on the hot seat.
Western Kentucky dialed up a perfectly executed trick play to convert a two-point conversion in overtime, stunning Kentucky. Quarterback Kawaun Jakes threw a lateral to running back Antonio Andrews, who threw it back to a wide open Jakes. Jakes walked into the end zone for the win.
“It was nice designed play,” said UK linebacker Bud Dupree. “They caught us off guard. We didn’t expect that.”
Dupree was pursuing Andrews when he saw him stop to make the throw.
“I seen it and I tried to reverse and jump but it just missed my hand,” Dupree said. “When I see it going over my head, I knew what was going to happen.”
WHAT’S IT MEAN
If Joker Phillips does not survive to coach another season at Kentucky, it will be obvious to point to this loss to Western Kentucky. Never mind that WKU has won nine of its last 11, losing only to Alabama and LSU, the Hilltoppers are still new to big boy football and should not be beating UK on its home turf. – Darrell Bird
There is no way to minimize how damaging a defeat this is for Kentucky. This wasn't a SEC powerhouse like Florida, Alabama or LSU breaking the Commonwealth's heart yet again. This was Western Kentucky. Let that sink in: Western. Kentucky. The Hilltoppers weren't even a full-fledged member of FBS football until 2009. These losses simply aren't acceptable, regardless of UK's inglorious football history. Barring a miraculous turn around you'd have to think there are going to be more and more empty seats at Commonwealth Stadium and coaches can't survive empty seats. This was a supremely damaging blow to Joker Phillips' future at Kentucky. – Matt May.
QUOTABLE - JOKER
I respect Western Kentucky’s football ... I respect Willie. I think he’s doing a hell of a job there but I’m not about to talk about somebody else’s program or have our kids run their mouth. We’re not going to do it.
QUOTABLE - LOCKER ROOM I had an all right game except for the fact I gave up four picks. But that’s like saying, ‘I pitched well, but I gave up four grand slams.’ – QB Maxwell Smith
QUOTABLE - OPPOSING
WKU red is the new blue. – WKU coach Willie Taggert.
61 - Forced to play catch up and missing some of its rushing attack, Kentucky attempted 61 passes in the loss. It was the most attempts since a three-overtime loss to Tennessee in 2007.
The trick play on the two-point conversion to win it for WKU is the obvious choice. Kentucky admits it had no defense for the lateral pass from QB Kawaun Jakes to RB Antonio Andrews, a former quarterback, who then passed back to Jakes, who waltzed into the end zone. “We were in man-to-man coverage,” Phillips explained. “Only guy you have a man accounted for is the quarterback.”
DID YOU NOTICE?
Kentucky’s loss to Western Kentucky marked the first time in 19 tries that the Cats had not defeated a non-BCS opponent. The streak, typically made up of three non-conference foes each year, dates back to Oct. 2004. Even worse, 61,500 turned out for that game compared to 53,980 Saturday.
Jonathan George, forced into action because of a nagging injury to CoShik Williams and a suspension for Raymond Sanders, scored three of UK’s four touchdowns. He rushed for 51 yards and caught six passes for another 54 yards.
Starting tailback CoShik Williams, who missed the Kent State game while nursing a sore back, was hobbled throughout the WKU loss. It was listed as a hip strain. Also, QB Maxwell Smith had his shoulder iced afterwards. “I aggravated my shoulder which was separated against Georgia last season,” Smith said. “It’s sore, but I kept playing and was able to throw.”
QUARTER BY QUARTER
Last year’s game in Nashville got off to a boring start. This year in Lexington, bizarre might be the most appropriate description. Maxwell Smith had zero interceptions in 99 attempts coming into the game, but then threw two picks in the opening stanza and finished just 5-for-11. Then a much-maligned Kentucky defense made two huge defensive stops, including once inside the UK 10, to limit Western Kentucky to a lone field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Total Yards: UK 53, WKU 91.
The second quarter was, in itself, a tale of two quarters. WKU dominated the first part by scoring two touchdowns to go ahead 17-0. One score came after WKU held UK on fourth down, the second followed an interception, Smith’s third of the game. Just as quickly, the tide turned and UK roared back to make it 17-10 at intermission. Smith was precise in a 7-play drive for a TD and then Craig McIntosh drilled a 47-yard field goal as time expired to put all the momentum in UK’s corner
Total Yards: UK 99, WKU 86
Kentucky’s attempt to ride the momentum from the late field goal into third quarter took a blow when WKU took the kickoff and marched 75 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown and a 24-10 lead. To its credit, UK charged back to make it 24-17 as Maxwell Smith found his mark. The QB was 11-for-13 in the third quarter for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Total Yards: UK 103, WKU 83
Kentucky mounted a furious, heart-stopping comeback in the final minutes to force overtime. The Cats marched 77 yards in 1 minute, 50 seconds to tie it on a 22-yard strike to true freshman receiver Demarcus Sweat. UK’s defense forced a fumble and two punts in the final quarter to enable the offense to rally.
Total Yards: UK 118, WKU 63
Already have an account? Sign In