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Video: Champions Classic shootaround

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Video: Get hyped for Kentucky-Kansas

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Matthew Mitchell


Jennifer O'Neill and Makayla Epps



Air Force Senior Master Sergeant James A. Allegrezza was reunited with his wife and two children at Kentucky's game on Sunday. Allegrezza was born in Williamsport, Pa., and graduated from Woodford County High School in Versailles, Ky., in 1994. He enlisted in September 1995 as a Medical Services Apprentice.

Here's video of the reunion at Rupp Arena.


Video: Highlights from UK's win over Buffalo

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Video: Coach Cal's post-Buffalo press conference

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UK lost to Tennessee on Saturday at Neyland Stadium, 50-16. (Chet White, UK Athletics) UK lost to Tennessee on Saturday at Neyland Stadium, 50-16. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Even though Kentucky hadn't played the kind of game he demands, Mark Stoops stepped to the podium and offered an objective assessment of his team.

At a moment when the competitor inside him surely wanted to be angry, Stoops was calm.

"It's not easy," Stoops said. "Nobody likes to lose. Our fans don't ... and nobody likes to lose. It's not fun."

UK (5-6, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) fell at Tennessee (5-5, 2-4 SEC) on Saturday, 50-16. The outcome, no question, was disappointing, especially after the Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a field goal on their first drive. The Volunteers were dominant, rolling up 511 yards to UK's 262.

"Give Tennessee credit," Stoops said. "They beat us. They outcoached us, outplayed us. They were very prepared, very energetic. They had two weeks to prepare and did a heck of a job."

The Cats, on the other hand, played their eighth game in as many weeks. Seven of the games have been against SEC opponents, taking a toll on a young team still building depth.

"I'm proud of this team, and that's hard to say. ... They did some good things," Stoops said. "We're 5-6 and we're in the middle of a tough stretch right now. I don't think -- and I would never say this before the game, and I'm never gonna give an out for any of us -- we didn't have a lot in our tank.

In spite of that, UK turned in a solid week of preparation for a trip to Knoxville, Tenn. Unfortunately, it didn't translate on game day,

"I have no problem with our team's attitude and their effort," Stoops said. "And some people may have a hard time understanding that when you get beat (50-16). But I really do. I think our guys really want to play well. I thought they really prepared well, really tried to come in with a good mindset, and really I thought gave good effort."

Best demonstrating that effort on offense was wide receiver Javess Blue, who became the 23rd player in school history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards. The senior had six catches for 131 yards, including grabs of 39 and 30 yards to set up UK's lone touchdown.

"My mindset was trying to get this team a (win), but at the same time we all ... played a part in this game," Blue said.

Blue added a 23-yard catch on the final drive of the first half, making a heads-up play when he kneeled with two seconds on the clock to allow UK to call a timeout and attempt a long field goal. Austin MacGinnis would capitalize, setting a school record with a 54-yard kick and making him one of three kickers nationally with three field goals of 50 yards or longer.

"When I went out there, I didn't even know how long it was or that it was for the school record," MacGinnis said. "I knew Coach Stoops called field goal to end the first half and I am just blessed that it went in."

The kick gave UK a measure of momentum heading into the halftime locker room, momentum Tennessee would quickly reclaim by scoring on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.

Even so, Josh Forrest and Bud Dupree continued to battle. Forrest, a junior linebacker, had 20 tackles, while Dupree had a career-high 15, including a sack and two tackles for loss.

"It shows that we don't quit," Forrest said. "That's the whole thing: We try not to quit and keep making plays when we had to, winning our one-on-ones."

But on this night, the Cats didn't win nearly enough of them, serving as a reminder of the work ahead for a program that has already exceeded its win total from the previous two seasons combined in 2014.

"We need to be more physical," Stoops said. "We need to recruit and develop. ... It's hard. Things don't happen overnight. We need to continue to pound the weight room, we need to continue to recruit and get our players better and bigger. One thing I'm noticing in this stretch and I think y'all can see it too: We need to be more physical. We need bigger."

Even more immediately, UK needs to be healthier.

The Cats have an open date and two weeks to rest before their season finale, a trip to Louisville. That figures to benefit Patrick Towles -- who briefly departed with an ankle injury in the first half before returning -- and numerous other players nursing bumps and bruises.

"Our guys are banged up," Stoops said. "They need a couple days to decompress here a little bit and get a little energy back in their step. Physically and mentally just recharge a little bit."

Once they recharge, the Cats will shift their focus entirely to a matchup with their archrivals. By now, they would have liked to have picked up that sixth win and locked up bowl eligibility, but that wasn't in the cards. Now they have one last shot to do it against the Cardinals.

"It will be a great atmosphere that game," Dupree said. "It would be a great time to take back over the state. With a win, who wouldn't want to beat Louisville to go to a bowl game? We just gotta make it happen."


Recent Comments

  • joel alberto luna colon: I agree with you, UK has not only the talent, but some experience. They could go undefeated if they want read more
  • Berdj Rassam: This was expected to be an easy win for UK. read more
  • dannyone: if the cat,s play like that in every game as they should they could go all the way.so what I,m read more
  • Dale Sine: Coach Cal at it again. He is the best coach in America and the only coach that could handle coaching read more
  • Mike J.: Cal is the best coach out there. He returned Memphis to national prominence and stayed 9 years, a helluva lot read more
  • Berdj Rassam: Booker will be a key part of whether or not this team will be successful this season. read more
  • Tom Moore: Since Tubby 98 and 2003-2004 team which should've won it all, Kentucky fans ( I am true blue ) have read more
  • John Mylant: Kentucky verses Kansas I am a UK fan but bringing this into perspective, this was just one of those games. read more
  • Catherine: We have the Blue Platoon and the White Platoon, I say we should name the rest team "The Closers"! read more
  • Sandy: Great game. I couldn't take my eyes off in the second half. Proud of all of you. I thought Epps read more