It goes without saying the game of college football is played by the numbers.
This contest was no exception, and as Kentucky fan, I felt like we weren't getting the respect we deserved prior to the game.
Sin City "experts" had a six point spread against us.Not even ten percent of the nation (those who cared, anyways) invested faith in our beleaguered team. Of all the ESPN analysts, only Kirk Herbstreit had our back.
But on Saturday, it was our turn to make history and upset the naysayers who had counted us out season after season.
It was just...OUR turn.
UK Wildcats defeat #9 UL Cardinals, 40-34. The game was barely in the national scope.
Granted, Kentucky's gridiron program turned around in 2006 with an 8-5 record and Music City Bowl win. The Wildcat's returning offensive starters invoked a new loyalty in a once-grievous fan base with this win.
On Saturday, conventional logic and wisdom dictated an easy Cards win.
From a technical standpoint, it looked like Louisville would roll right over us and claim the Governor's Cup for the fifth straight season without so much as a dent in their armor.
Pat Forde was right.
It was time for karma to kiss the Cats right on the mouth.
The entire evening defined the term inspiration. Louisville's Heisman leader, one Brian Brohm, suffered a few setbacks he wasn't accustomed to-is first sack, intereception, and, most importantly, loss.
Our quarterback, Andre Woodson, shined brightly in contrast with four TD strikes and his 275 yards.
Now, don't even get me started on our running game and roller-coaster defense.
Truly breathtaking. I hope the other near-70K attendees felt the same way. I could linger over the entire game, dissecting its many thrilling moments, but I think an analysis of the final minute will have to do.
Commonwealth Stadium's corner of Lexington erupted into chaos as Andre Woodson willed the Cats through an emotional drive, capping it with a 57-yard passing score to Steve Johnson with seconds remaining. Brian Brohm nearly answered with his own eleventh hour TD pass to Harry Douglass, but instead of reliving that LSU nightmare, Kentucky stuffed Douglass ten yards from the score.
Cats fans poured onto the field as fireworks scorched the sky and the fat lady began her dirge for Louisville. For the first time in five years, the Wildcats bested the Cardinals. Nearly three decades after our triumph over #4 Penn State, the boys in blue had defeated a top-ten ranked opponent once again.
And, for perhaps the first time in the history of the school, we became deserving of a legitimate spot in the top 25. I agree with Head Coach Rich Brooks. "If we're not ranked, somebody's crazy. If we're not ranked, somebody's smoking something."
Perhaps what is most inspiring to me is that this victory only commences the non-stop fun that will be 2007 season for we Wildcats. I don't care what any fan or constituent of a national powerhouse (Louisville especially) says in an effort to darken our precious moment.
Kentucky is now deserving of national respect.
We might only be on the edge of the radar at this point, but this win proves we're a force to be reckoned with. This PROVES that Kentucky's football presence can be as inspiring as any other. For me, this moment inspires me to believe. In my school, in miracles, in karma. Whatever happens the rest of our season will simply happen. Come what may, I'm utterly and completely inspired by those who didn't play the numbers game. Instead, they inscribed their own within the history books. Believe in Blue.