Any notion that Western Kentucky would pull the upset over the Wildcats on Saturday night evaporated quickly, on the first play from scrimmage. UK defensive end Jeremy Jarmon sacked 'Toppers quarterback K.J. Black for a 9-yard loss. That play set the tone for the Cats' defense the remainder of the night.
While the Wildcats' offense struggled at times, the Big Blue defense was outstanding for the third time in four games. UK held WKU to just 15 yards passing, the fewest since 1994, and didn't allow a touchdown to the Hilltoppers. The Cats haven't surrendered a rushing touchdown this season.
UK's defense will be severely tested next Saturday, when the Cats travel to Tuscaloosa, where they will face an upstart Alabama team that is looking more like a national title contender as each week passes. The Crimson Tide hammered Georgia, in Athens, racing out to a 31-0 lead at half, before cruising to a 41-30 win.
The Cats will need better offensive production that what they got against Western. UK's young receivers had trouble hanging on to passes, while its best pass catcher, Dicky Lyons, Jr., seemed to have trouble getting open. Lyons finished with six catches, but for only 34 yards.
Kentucky's running game didn't get untracked until the second half. If not for Derrick Locke's 100-yard kickoff return, the Cats would have held but a 10-3 lead at intermission.
Alfonso Smith and Locke appear to be UK's only home run threats. Smith started the third quarter, and in the first series of the second half, had two carries for 52 yards and a score.
UK will need more production from its offense if it wants to avoid being blown out at 'Bama. The Wildcat defense will give up some scores, but can't afford being out on the field the entire night. Mike Hartline and Co. must sustain drives against the Tide to give their defensive counterparts time to rest.
The good news is the Cats are 4-0 for the second straight season and have won 13 consecutive non-conference games, the third-longest streak in the country.
Days before the Western Kentucky game, UK coach Rich Brooks said he was inserting former quarterback Matt Lentz into the starting lineup, replacing Ashton Cobb at safety. Lentz was credited with three tackles against the Hilltoppers.
Cobb didn't participate in pregame drills with the Cats on Saturday, raising speculation that something else was going on. Word then began to leak out that Cobb had been arrested Friday night, charged with stalking, terroristic threatening and harassing communications.
After the game, Brooks would only say that Cobb, a junior from Alquippa, Pa., had been suspended from the university and was scheduled for a hearing on Monday. Brooks had no further comment.
According to a police report, Cobb is alleged to have called or text messaged an ex-girlfriend nearly two dozen times, threatening to kill her.
Several former Wildcats were introduced to the Commonwealth Stadium crowd on Saturday, including former Wildcat golfer J.B. Holmes. Holmes, fresh off his triumphant play at the Ryder Cup last week, was given a standing ovation.
UK marketing missed out on a great opportunity by not having Holmes and fellow Kentuckian Kenny Perry walk onto the field. Perry is a WKU grad.
Rajon Rondo, sporting a Boston t-shirt, also was introduced, to a thunderous ovation. Current Indianapolis Colts tight end Jacob Tamme, and UK Hall of Fame inductees C.M. Newton and Johnny Owens were on hand, as were former Cats Dusty Bonner, Craig Yeast, Tim Couch and Shane Boyd.
Just how good is the SEC?
Pretty darned good, I'd say. Just look at what happened around the league on Saturday.
Alabama whips Georgia at home. Many had Georgia as the preseason No. 1 team in the country and figured the Dogs would play for a national championship. Bama is undefeated and looks like it could run the table in the SEC.
Tennessee falls again and the Vols are now 2-2 on the year.
Vanderbilt is perfect on the season. The 'Dores are 4-0 and ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since 1984.
And Ole Miss goes into the Swamp and knocks off Florida? Wow.
Incidentally, UK still has to play several of these teams. Yikes.
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.