UK one of only Five SEC Teams Going to Three Consecutive Bowls
Dec. 1, 2008
Kentucky finished the regular season with a 6-6 overall record, 2-6 in the
Kentucky went 4-0 in non-conference action, including a second-consecutive
victory over in-state rival Louisville.
Kentucky has a 13-game non-conference win streak. It is the third-longest active
streak in the nation, behind Boston College (21) and Louisiana State (18).
Kentucky’s 13-game non-conference win streak is UK’s longest since
a 17-game stretch from 1954-60.
UK has earned at least six wins in three consecutive seasons for the first
time since 1954-55-56.
With six victories this season, Rich Brooks has now won 31 games as head coach
of the Wildcats. He moved into sixth place on the UK career win list and is only
one behind Harry Gamage (32) in fifth place.
Kentucky tied the biggest-fourth quarter comeback in school history in the
21-20 win over Arkansas. Trailing 20-7, Mike Hartline hit Randall Cobb with a
pair of touchdown passes in the final 4:15 to win the game. UK also overcame
a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit in the 2004 win over Vanderbilt.
Kentucky’s offense overcame huge challenges in posting six wins.
The UK offense sustained massive graduation losses from last season in
replacing QB Andre’ Woodson, RB Rafael Little, WR Keenan Burton, WR
Steve Johnson, TE Jacob Tamme and two starters in the offensive line.
The team’s most experienced quarterback, Curtis Pulley, was dismissed
from the team on the first day of fall practice.
During the season, the team’s leading wide receiver (Dicky Lyons),
the leading rusher (Derrick Locke) and a starting offensive guard (Jess Beets)
were lost to season-ending injuries.
By the end of the season, the starting offense featured three freshmen
(QB Randall Cobb, WR Gene McCaskill, RG Jake Lanefski) and two players who
are in their first season at new positions – former cornerback E.J.
Adams at wide receiver and former fullback Maurice Grinter at tight end.
Hartline started the first eight games. He has thrown for 1,462 yards and
eight touchdowns. He was the SEC Offensive Player of the Week in the win
over Middle Tennessee when he completed 28 of 47 passes for a career-high
254 yards and two touchdowns.
Cobb started the last four games. He has thrown for 542 yards and two TDs.
He also has 316 rushing yards and seven TDs. Cobb is the only UK true freshman
quarterback to start and win an SEC road game (at Mississippi State) since
freshmen became eligible to play in the early 1970s.
Despite playing only six games because of a season-ending knee injury sustained
vs. South Carolina, senior Dicky Lyons is still the team’s leading pass
receiver with 33 catches for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Lyons finished his
UK career ranked fifth in school history in pass receptions, fourth in receiving
yardage and third in touchdown receptions.
Randall Cobb has seen action at wide receiver when not at quarterback; he has
caught 21 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns.
Individual Defensive Notes
Senior linebacker Braxton Kelley leads the team in tackles with 90 stops.
He ranks eighth in the SEC in tackles per game.
He has 279 tackles in his career and has made at least three tackles in
24 consecutive games.
Junior linebacker Micah Johnson is second on the team in tackles with 87.
Having missed two games because of an injury, he is third in the SEC in
tackles per game.
He has been in double figures four times this season, including a career-high
15 stops in the win over Arkansas.
He leads the team in tackles for loss with 11.5 and is sixth in the SEC
in that category.
Senior linebacker Johnny Williams leads the team in quarterback sacks with
five, all of which have come when he plays defensive end on apparent passing
Senior defensive tackle Myron Pryor is second on the team in tackles for loss
(10) and sacks (4.5). He was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week following the
win at Louisville when he returned a fumble 72 yards for a touchdown and caused
another fumble that was returned for a TD.
Junior cornerback Trevard Lindley leads the team with four interceptions and
11 pass breakups.
His 15 total passes defended ranks second in the SEC and 15th in the nation.
He broke the school record for career pass breakups with 34.
He ranks seventh in school history with nine career interceptions.
Senior free safety Marcus McClinton is tied for the team lead in interceptions
with four. He has 10 pickoffs in his career, fourth in UK history.
Senior cornerback Robbie McAtee leads the team and ranks 11th in the nation
in fumbles recovered with three recoveries. Against Middle Tennessee, McAtee
made the game-saving tackle on the one-yard line on the final play of the game.
McAtee also clinched the win over Mississippi State with a pass interception
in the final minute of the game.
Individual Special Teams Notes
Senior Tim Masthay leads the SEC and ranks fifth in the nation in punting with
a 45.3-yard average.
Masthay has been very consistent, averaging at least 41.8 yards per punt
in each game.
Masthay also handles kickoffs and his 20 touchbacks on kickoffs ranks second
in the SEC.
Masthay is a first-team Academic All-American. This marks the fourth-consecutive
year that UK has a first-team Academic All-American, with only Kentucky and
Penn State being able to make that claim.
Masthay also broke the school record for most games played in a career with
49. The bowl game will be his 50th contest as a Wildcat.
Freshman Winston Guy is averaging 34.4 yards on kickoff returns, including
a 96-yard runback vs. Georgia that is the longest non-scoring kickoff return
in school history.
Derrick Locke averaged 28.5 yards per kickoff return, including a 100-yard
kickoff return vs. Western Kentucky. He is one of only five Wildcats in school
history who have returned kickoffs 100 yards for TDs.
Junior Lones Seiber has made 9-of-16 field goals this season, all 33 extra-point
attempts and is the team’s leading scorer with 60 points.
Seiber ranks second in school history in field goals made (36), third in school
history in extra points made (117) and fourth in scoring (225 points).
Redshirt freshman Ryan Tydlacka made a 51-yard field goal vs. South Carolina,
UK’s longest since Taylor Begley made a 51-yarder in 2004.
Because of season-ending injuries to Dicky Lyons and DeMoreo Ford, Randall
Cobb is now the team’s primary punt returner. Cobb is the only player in
the nation who is the team’s starting quarterback and punt returner.