A bird with teeth took a bite out of the Battle for the Bluegrass for the second year in the row.
Much to University of Kentucky Wildcat fans' dismay, in-state rival University of Louisville won in the season opener for Kentucky on Sept. 2 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The final score was 32-14.
While the teams were fairly evenly matched in terms of making downs (Kentucky had a total of 24 first downs, while Louisville had 26), the Cardinal offense overran the Wildcats with 219 net rushing yards, as opposed to Kentucky's 93 net rushing yards. Louisville had the football in its possession about a third more of the game than Kentucky (36:21 to 23:39) and the Cardinals outnumbered the total offensive yards covered to the Wildcats by nearly 100 yards.
Louisville's Jeremy Wright was a beast in his scoring ability. He completed three touchdowns and ran for a total of 105 yards (roughly half of the total yardage covered by the Cardinals). Teddy Bridgewater and Senorise Perry had big roles in the Louisville success at home, as well.
Kentucky fans will not soon forget sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith's blazing performance, though. Smith completed 35 of 50 passes (that's 70 percent, in case you're keeping track), and covered a total 280 yards for two touchdowns for the Wildcats. With such a young team, it's great to see players like Smith taking charge and making things happen - even when facing your team's biggest in-state rival. Props go out to Tyler Robinson and La'Rod King for their roles in Kentucky's scoring, as well.
So the Governor's Cup is in Louisville's hands once more. Kentucky fans can't be happy about that. Perhaps what's more disappointing, though, is that the 2012-13 season has already begun with a loss.
My hopes are that the next game, on Sept. 8 against Kent State, which will be held on home turf in Commonwealth Stadium, will draw more Wildcat pride out of the team. I hope that it will remind the Kentucky players that fans want to get past the "rebuilding season" last year and see a few more victories. Maybe once in Wildcat territory again, the Kentucky team can get the season started off right…and forget about losing to that red bird with teeth.
Shannon Frazer is a University of Kentucky graduate and football fan.
UK Athletics, "Scoring Summary," ukathletics.com
U of L Sports, "No. 25 Cardinals Triumph Over Wildcats to Open Season, 32-14," uoflsports.com
UK Athletics, "Cats Fall to Louisville in Season Opener," ukathletics.com