In hindsight, and for me that’s much clearer since my cataract surgery not so long ago, the game was a perfect set up for Kentucky.
The nine-win Wildcats, despite that three game mid-season lull, have been solid from the opening kickoff of the season.
They are better than a vast majority of the nation’s teams.
And, let’s be fair and honest here, they are significantly better than the Louisville Cardinals.
Fore to aft.
Port and starboard.
In the cockpit. In the control room.
Then there’s the reality that U of L’s big wins over Syracuse and Duke — both of whom might have new coaches next season — were false positives.
They were nice. Comforting. Provided bowl eligibility. Something to build on.
But, considering what went down last evening, might have given the Cards a false sense of self.
Plus there’s the whole QB thing.
Malik Cunningham had a career game against the Blue Devils, a generational game. National pub. Mention by Tony and Michael on PTI.
But, it was against Duke. If not as woeful as, say, the Vince Lombardi HS JVs, David Cutcliffe’s team is pretty awful. It provided matador D against Cunningham and Cards.
All of which Will Levis certainly read about, and took to task, in the two weeks UK had to prepare. New Mexico State was a bye.
The Governor’s Cup was his game — and his OL’s and the Blue D’s — from that untouched 29 yard TD blast on.
Levis rushed for 113 yards on 14 carries. Four touchdowns, untouched mostly. Cunningham ran for 35 yards on 11 totes.
Levis was 14/18 in the air, for 149 yards. Cunningham (12/20) passed for 145.
* * * * *
The SEC is oh so fond of its catch phrase, “It Just Means More.”
I, of course, do not agree it meant more last night to the Big Blue than the Cards.
That would be totally incorrect.
But it was obvious that Kentucky knew how to channel that imperative into action.
A couple of moments in the 1st indicated to me that UK was the more focused contingent.
My take is that the skirmish along the sideline during U of L’s second drive was instigated by Cunningham. As he was driven out of bounds, he wouldn’t let go of the tackler’s jersey. The latter obviously got pissed. A fracas ensued.
It was an immature moment for Louisville’s leader.
Later in that same drive, on 3d & 5 at the Wildcats’ 39, Cunningham felt major pressure, was forced to dump the ball harmlessly to avoid being sacked. Backpedaling, he slapped the side of his pursuer’s helmet in frustration.
It was a harbinger of Cardinal discombobulation to come.
Similarly, on the other side of the ball, I note a a moment when UK, still up only 17-7, had the ball at its own 39, 3d & 8. Three Cards had collapsed the pocket and had Levis corralled. The QB was allowed to escape, for 13 yards and a first down.
Kentucky scored soon thereafter. Never looked back.
Kentucky 52, Louisville 21.
It wasn’t about the game plan.
It wasn’t about preparation.
UK is simply a much better football team than U of L.
— c d kaplan