TrueBlueFan.com http://www.truebluefan.com/ TrueBlueFan.com Sports - True Blue Site Sports - True Blue Site en-us Copyright 2014, TrueBlueFan.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:10:42 GMT Synapse CMS 10 TrueBlueFan.com http://www.truebluefan.com/ 144 25 Blue-White Scrimmage To Air On SEC Network http://www.truebluefan.com/news/blue-white-scrimmage-to-air-on-sec-network/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/blue-white-scrimmage-to-air-on-sec-network/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 21 Oct 2014 3:16:52 PM Blue-White Scrimmage To Air On SEC Network

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky's annual Blue-White Scrimmage set for Oct. 27 in Rupp Arena will air live on the SEC Network, it was announced Tuesday.

The scrimmage will also be available on WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com. Dave Baker and Jeff Piecoro will be on the call, as well as former Wildcat Mark Krebs providing insight from the sidelines. The game will be produced by UK Sports Video. Game time is slated for a 7 p.m. ET tip.

UK's Blue-White Scrimmage will mark the first of 11 SEC Network televised contests in 2014-15. In addition to Monday's scrimmage, both of UK's exhibition games vs. Pikeville (Nov. 2) and Georgetown College (Nov. 9) will be available on the SEC Network. It will mark the first time in school history that Kentucky's Blue-White Scrimmage and exhibition games will be available on national television. Check with your cable or satellite provider for availability in your area and channel designations. You can find your network channel at this link: getsecnetwork.com.

Tickets for the Blue-White Scrimmage are still available. Lower-level (singles only) tickets are available for $10, while upper-level tickets are $5. Tickets may be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, by calling Ticketmaster at (800)-745-3000 or in person at statewide Ticketmaster outlets.


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Mullen Previews Kentucky Game As No. 1 Mississipi State Gets Back To Work http://www.truebluefan.com/news/mullen-previews-kentucky-game-as-no-1-mississipi-state-gets-back-to-work/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/mullen-previews-kentucky-game-as-no-1-mississipi-state-gets-back-to-work/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 21 Oct 2014 1:51:54 PM Mullen Previews Kentucky Game As No. 1 Mississipi State Gets Back To Work

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Top-ranked Mississippi State (6-0) returned to practice Monday afternoon following an open weekend as the Bulldogs began preparations for their Southeastern Conference road game at Kentucky at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday live on CBS.

MSU head coach Dan Mullen previewed the Bulldogs' matchup with the Wildcats at his weekly press conference. Below is a transcript:

Opening Statement

"We had a good bye week. We were able to get some guys rested and work on some things. Obviously, there are a lot of things we can improve on as a team. Bye weeks really offer a training camp mentality because we focus on fundamentals."

"Today is a very, very important day. I always think the Monday practice after a bye week is huge. We had a great Monday practice after the last bye week. We were not sluggish, which can happen when guys haven't been out on the field in a few days. We have to hit the field 100 miles per hour and ready to go. We have to have a great week of practice and be a much better team than we were before the bye week or when we got off of the field against Auburn."
"The Kentucky game this week is going to be very challenging. There are a lot of similarities with both teams. In our game against them last year, it came right down to the final play. They have a lot of star players back from last year, and we have a lot of guys back too. So I know they are going to have a lot of confidence. Anytime you are on the road in the SEC, it is going to be a huge challenge."

"I don't know if you can judge any team by how they perform on a Saturday night in ‘Death Valley'. They had a tough game last week and some things went wrong for them, but if you look at their overall body of work on the season, they have very talented players. [Patrick] Towles really throws the ball well and has the size to be able to stand in the pocket and throw it. He is very deceptively athletic. He is a much better runner than he gets credit for. They rotate their running backs through and they all bring something different to the table. They have some explosive wide receivers. They certainly have a lot of big time players on their team. Our focus is to get a fourth SEC win this week, and that is really what it is all about."

On keeping players motivated during the open week:
"If we are going to be successful, it doesn't need to be me doing that. That comes from within. I think our guys understand how much we have to improve and that we have to get better. They also understand that the only way to do that is through hard work. That has to come from within the team. If I have to be a cheerleader at practice, we are going to have problems. We are last in the SEC in total defense and passing defense. We are last in the SEC in our red zone offense, so there are a lot of little things we have to improve on as a football team moving forward. I think, especially for our older guys, it is important to see that. To see that and also to look beyond the statistics. They have to realize that we might not be as bad as some statistics say we are and aren't as good as some statistics say we are. I think our guys look at that and can really see the areas we need to improve. If you go through the motions you certainly are not going to improve."

On the improvement of Kentucky:
"I think Mark Stoops has done a great job. The first thing you start with is getting guys to play hard. You can get the talent, but the guys have to play hard. They are playing hard and with a lot of energy. There are guys stepping up and making big plays for them when they need them. That is a sign that they have bought in to what Coach Stoops is trying to build. I think you are seeing those steps pay off on the field for them this year. They are 5-2, with both losses coming on the road in the SEC. One was a triple- overtime game. When you look at the improvement that they have made, they can compete with anyone."

On staying focused week to week:
"Playing in the SEC gives you a bigger game every week. This is the biggest game we have played of the season. I said the Auburn game was the biggest game ever played in the state of Mississippi. This game is bigger now. Now we are a team that has a target on our back. We have to go on the road in a hostile environment and play one of the hottest and most improved teams in college football. Our guys better learn how to handle that and realize how big of a game this really is."

On the timing of the open week after facing three top-10 opponents:
"I always say that in the SEC, it is not about one game. It is the cumulative effect of playing in this conference. Four of the top five teams in the country are in the SEC. There are probably a couple of teams in every conference that, if they played one game, could beat any one of those four teams. What our league is about, and what our guys have to understand, is that it is not just one week. It is every single week. I think our guys took advantage of the bye week, because they know now we have to play six straight to end the season. They know what that grind is going to be like, so they made sure they were physically and mentally rested enough to be able to handle that. In this league you have to bring your A game every single week."

On the similarities between [Benardrick] McKinney and [Bud] Dupree:
"I think they both play very different games. They have similar physical characteristics. I think [Benardrick] is more of a physical force on the inside, and [Bud] Dupree is more of an edge player and is explosive off the edge. They are both future NFL players. They are both going to make plays that will impact the outcome of the game."

On Jameon Lewis:
"We expect to have him back. We will probably ease him in today, and build a little bit at practice each day. It is going to be great to have him and his experience back on the field playing for us."

On being the ‘hunted' vs. being the ‘hunter'
"I just enjoy the hunt itself. I like being out there and going to play. The bye week was great, but I am starting to get antsy. I am ready to get going again. I had fun playing back yard football with my kids and getting to spend quality time with my wife, but I am ready to get out there and go play. I just want our team to be out there ready to play."

On freshmen filling in for [Jameon] Lewis:
"I think that is huge. It shows that everyone in our program has to be ready when their number is called. When someone has gone down, someone else stepped up. I think that gets contagious around a team. When guys see someone get an opportunity, seize that opportunity, and be successful while helping the team, I think that helps everyone. That motivates everyone to be ready when their number is called."

On what having [Jameon] Lewis back means for the team:
"We have our most explosive player coming back. That just adds another weapon that the defense has to be concerned about. I think that is going to cause more concern for the defense to know exactly where he is because they know what he can do with the ball in his hands."

On offensive line depth:
"I think they have done a very good job. Everyone wonders why we mix and match guys throughout the season, but we try to get as many of them developed as we can for different situations. That is a position where you do not want to deal with injuries. You want to give guys the opportunity to develop before they are thrown into the fire. With all the injuries we suffered last year, there are a lot of guys who have more experience this year than they otherwise would have."

On players getting used to more attention:
"I think it has actually calmed down a little bit more each week since the Texas A&M game. That was the busiest week we have had. I think our guys now have really adjusted to it well."

 


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UK Soccer's Justin Laird Named National Player Of The Week http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-soccer-s-justin-laird-named-national-player-of-the-week/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-soccer-s-justin-laird-named-national-player-of-the-week/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 21 Oct 2014 1:44:45 PM UK Soccer's Justin Laird Named National Player Of The Week

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky men's soccer forward Justin Laird was named Disney Soccer/ National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Player of the Week on Tuesday.

Laird scored two goals in as many matches last week, to help take the now-No. 19 Wildcats into first place in Conference USA.
He scored the game-winner against ninth-ranked New Mexico - Kentucky's third top-25 win of the season.

Laird also earned a spot on the Top Drawer Soccer and collegesoccernews.com National Teams of the Week.

Laird's goal vs. New Mexico was an excellent strike across goal on the half-volley. He also scored the opener in a 5-1 win over Evansville and also assisted another to holding midfielder Paul Sime.

Laird's two goals last week took his team-leading goal total to five this season, and he has three assists on the year for 13 points, which is also the most on UK.

Laird's winner vs. New Mexico was his second game-winning goal of the year (vs. Xavier), which ranks tied for fourth in the league

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native is tied for third in the league in shots (38), and ranks fourth in C-USA in shots per game (2.71). His 13 points this year ranks sixth in the league.

Laird's honor on Tuesday marked the second time this year that a Wildcat was named NSCAA Player of the Week, as goalkeeper Callum Irving earned the award on Sept. 23.

Four times since 2007 the Wildcats have earned a NSCAA National Player of the Week, with Tyler Riggs earning the honor in 2011 after leading UK to game-winning goals in two games on opening weekend. UK great Tim Crone was honored as the NSCAA National Player of the Week after scoring both goals off the bench in a 2-1 comeback win over No. 1 SMU in 2007.

UK will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 25 with a trip to South Carolina in a C-USA matchup colloquially referred to as the Southeastern Conference Men's Soccer Championship. The Wildcats and Gamecocks are the only two SEC schools that sponsor men's soccer.

 


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UK Hoops Selected by Media to Finish Fourth in SEC Race http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-hoops-selected-by-media-to-finish-fourth-in-sec-race/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-hoops-selected-by-media-to-finish-fourth-in-sec-race/ Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 21 Oct 2014 1:42:16 PM UK Hoops Selected by Media to Finish Fourth in SEC Race

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of Kentucky women's basketball team was selected to finish fourth in the 2015 Southeastern Conference race in a voting of select panel of both SEC and national media members.

It marked the fifth straight season the Wildcats have been selected in the top four of the preseason poll.

South Carolina, which returns all five starters from last season's SEC regular-season title team, tops the order of finish, with Tennessee, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Georgia and LSU rounding out the top half of the league. Mississippi State, Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama and Ole Miss round out the bottom half.

Head coach Matthew Mitchell, UK's all-time winningest coach, enters his eighth season at the helm of UK Hoops after leading the Wildcats to a 26-9 (10-6 SEC) mark last season, a No. 10 final national ranking in The Associated Press poll and the program's school-record fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, including third consecutive appearance in the Sweet 16.

Seven letter winners return from last season's squad, including top scorer and SEC Co-6th Woman of the Year Jennifer O'Neill (Bronx, N.Y.), and starters Bria Goss (Indianapolis) and Janee Thompson (Chicago). O'Neill, a 5-foot-6 senior guard, dropped in a team-high 12.6 points per game last year, while Goss, a 5-10 senior guard, was the team's third-leading scorer with 10.2 ppg. Thompson, a 5-7 junior point guard, averaged 8.6 points per game a year ago, while dishing out a team-best 107 assists. Also returning is senior center Azia Bishop (Toledo, Ohio) who saw action in all 35 games last season with five starts and senior forward Jelléah Sidney (Queens Village, N.Y.) who averaged 3.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and was second on the team in steals with 41. The dynamic sophomore duo of Linnae Harper (Chicago) and Makayla Epps (Lebanon, Ky.) look to pick up where they left off last season. Harper, a 5-8 guard and member of the SEC All-Freshman team and SEC All-Tournament team, averaged 6.9 points per game overall, including 9.5 ppg in postseason play. Epps, a 5-10 guard, was one of the team's best shooters, hitting .483 percent from the field (56-of-116).

New additions to the roster this season include junior college transfer and 6-foot-6 center Ivana Jakubcova (Bratislava, Slovakia), freshman shooting guard Jaycee Coe (Gainesboro, Tenn.), freshman and forward/center Alexis Jennings (Madison, Ala.) and freshman center Alyssa Rice (Reynoldsburg, Ohio). Sophomore forward Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (Lebanon, Ky.) also will be available for action after sitting out last season with a pulmonary embolism.
The Wildcats open up the 2014-15 season with an exhibition game against Pikeville on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. Admission is free and the game will be streamed live on SEC Network +. Events on SEC Network + are exclusively available on SECNetwork.com and on WatchESPN via computers, smartphones and tablets.

Season tickets for UK's entire 15-game regular-season home schedule are on sale now for $65. Lower-level chair backs ($80) are sold out.

Single-game Baylor tickets in Rupp Arena are also on sale. They are $9 for lower level reserved and $8 for upper level general admission. Youth (ages 6-18) and senior citizens (ages 65 and up) are only $5. Groups of 10 or more are $2 each in reserved and general admission areas and can ONLY be purchased by calling the UK ticket office directly.

UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free to all UK Hoops games with a valid UK identification card.

Season tickets may be purchased online at www.ukhoopstix.com. Baylor tickets may be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling the UK Ticket Office at (800) 928-2287 or (859) 257-1818. Fans can also visit the Joe Craft Ticket Office. Office hours are 9 a.m. ET - 4:30 p.m. ET.

All other single-game tickets for Memorial Coliseum will go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 28, beginning at 9 a.m. ET through the UK Ticket Office or www.Ticketmaster.com.

SEC Champion
South Carolina


Order of Finish
1. South Carolina 210
2. Tennessee 191
3. Texas A&M 179
4. Kentucky 154
5. Vanderbilt 150
6. Georgia 132
7. LSU 122
8. Mississippi St. 108
9. Florida 96
10. Auburn 83
11. Arkansas 77
Missouri 77
13. Alabama 74
14. Ole Miss 21

Player of the Year
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina


Preseason All-SEC
Martha Alwal, Mississippi State
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina
Aleighsa Welch, South Carolina
Isabelle Harrison, Tennessee
Courtney Walker, Texas A&M


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Anthony Davis Injured in Pelicans' Win http://www.truebluefan.com/news/anthony-davis-injured-in-pelicans-win/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/anthony-davis-injured-in-pelicans-win/ Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:40:45 PM Anthony Davis Injured in Pelicans' Win

Anthony Davis scored 14 points and Ryan Anderson had 11 as the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Washington Wizards 88-84 on Monday night in the next-to-last preseason game for both teams.

Led by 10 points from Davis, who went 5 for 5 from the field, the Pelicans went on a 24-4 run to take a 28-12 lead with 47.4 seconds left in the first quarter.

Early in the third quarter, Davis sprained his right wrist and didn't return.

Washington rested point guard John Wall and forward Paul Pierce. Pierce bruised his right knee on Friday against Charlotte.

The Wizards, led by Kevin Seraphin's 14 points, rebounded from a 29-point deficit to get within 87-84 with 18 seconds to play.

TIP-INS:

Wizards: Wall sat out his first preseason game. Coach Randy Wittman said he wanted to rest Wall, who has tendinitis in his left knee.

"Considering everything that's going on, there's no need to stress with that," Wittman said.

Wittman believes Wall will be back at practice on Tuesday. When asked if Wall's minutes needed to be monitored, Wittman shook his head no.

Washington suited up just 11 players. Forward Kris Humphries, who had surgery on his right pinkie last month, was scheduled to have sutures removed on Monday.

Pelicans: Coach Monty Williams played Tyreke Evans 20 minutes. Evans, who played in just his second preseason game after missing the first five because of a right hamstring injury, had 10 points.

"Tyreke is still under restriction a little bit with his minutes, so we don't want to push that," Williams said.

New Orleans isn't planning to play its starters many minutes in the team's final preseason game on Thursday. Williams used this as an opportunity to play the players he anticipates will be in his regular-season rotation.

"We have a number of new guys who are learning our language," Williams said. "We still have some things we want to look at the last couple of games. The last game we won't see our starters much, if at all."

WELCOME HOME:

The game was played at the newly named Royal Farms Arena, the latest moniker for the more than 50-year-old downtown building that was home to the Wizards' predecessors, the Baltimore Bullets from 1963-73.

ORIOLE IN THE HOUSE:

Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones served as the Wizards' honorary captain. Jones' Orioles were eliminated in four games by Kansas City in last week's American League Championship Series.

UP NEXT:

Pelicans: Host Dallas on Thursday

Wizards: Visit New York on Wednesday.


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True Blue Coverage: Big Blue Madness Player Introductions, Drake, Coach Calipari http://www.truebluefan.com/news/true-blue-coverage-big-blue-madness-player-introductions-drake-coach-calipari/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/true-blue-coverage-big-blue-madness-player-introductions-drake-coach-calipari/ Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 20 Oct 2014 7:49:25 PM True Blue Coverage: Big Blue Madness Player Introductions, Drake, Coach Calipari

The University of Kentucky Athletics Department have released some highlights from the 2014 Big Blue Madness, including player introductions and hip hop artist Drake's introduction to Coach Calipari.

You can follow Big Blue News with LEX 18's True Blue Coverage. Join the conversation on our LEX 18 True Blue Fan Page.

 

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WbXAwfjIaSo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


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Football Cats Prepare for No. 1 Mississippi State http://www.truebluefan.com/news/football-cats-prepare-for-no-1-mississippi-state/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/football-cats-prepare-for-no-1-mississippi-state/ Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 20 Oct 2014 6:55:16 PM Football Cats Prepare for No. 1 Mississippi State

Mississippi State has spent the past month obliterating stereotypes about the program, ignoring a mediocre history and rising to the top spot in the national rankings for the first time in school history.

Now the Bulldogs are learning to embrace life as the favorite.

No. 1 Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) travels to face Kentucky (5-2, 2-2) on Saturday, which will be the program's first game as the top-ranked team after the Bulldogs were off last weekend.

"We're going into a game with a target on our back," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "Having to go on the road in a hostile environment ... against one of the most improved teams in college football this year. Our guys better learn how to handle that and make sure we have unbelievable focus about how big of a game this really is."

Life in the SEC is almost never easy, but Mississippi State's next three weeks are relatively forgiving. The Bulldogs travel to face the Wildcats on Saturday - which lost to 41-3 to LSU last weekend - before home games against Arkansas and UT-Martin.

The previous off week has allowed the Bulldogs time to rest and now they're close to having everyone healthy.

Star receiver Jameon Lewis, who has missed the past two games with a leg injury, is expected to play against Kentucky. The 5-foot-9, 183-pound senior caught 15 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown in the first four games and was the team's leading receiver a year ago.

The Bulldogs' biggest fear at this point might be an emotional letdown. It's been an intense four weeks for the program, with wins over LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn catapulting them into the national spotlight.

Because of that, Mullen said that last week's rest came at a good time, but he'll be watching his players closely throughout the next few days to make sure they bounce back from the down time.

He expects veterans like quarterback Dak Prescott and linebacker Benardrick McKinney to take the lead and bring emotion to the practice field.

"If we're going to be successful, I don't need to be the one doing that," Mullen said. "That comes from within - the leadership within the team. I think our guys understand how much we have to improve and get better. If I have to be a cheerleader out at practice, we're going to have some problems."

Mullen said one look at the conference statistics proves Mississippi State has plenty of places to improve. Despite a perfect start to the season, the Bulldogs rank last in the league in pass defense (308.3 yards per game) and total defense (428.8).

Kentucky has a promising young quarterback in sophomore Patrick Towles, who has thrown for 1,687 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.

The Wildcats would like nothing more than to ruin Mississippi State's dream season. Kentucky has a 3-11 record against No. 1-ranked teams.

"They're playing red hot and it starts with (Prescott)," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. "He's as talented of a guy as there is in the country. He can run it, he can throw it. He's making great decisions and their offense puts stress on you."

Mullen said it's up to the Bulldogs to prove they can handle the scrutiny that comes with being No. 1 and handle Kentucky's best shot.

"We tell them 'It's pretty easy, if you don't like the attention then go out there and play really poorly and nobody will ever talk about us again,'" Mullen said. "If you like the attention, continue to work hard, get better and play well."


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Former Wildcat Joins SEC Network http://www.truebluefan.com/news/former-wildcat-joins-sec-network/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/former-wildcat-joins-sec-network/ Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 20 Oct 2014 6:46:25 PM Former Wildcat Joins SEC Network

SEC Network will televise 118 Southeastern Conference men's basketball games in its inaugural season and surround coverage with sportscasters, former coaches and former players with extensive SEC expertise. The experience of Dave Baker, Barry Booker, Joe Dean Jr., Daymeon Fishback, Tom Hart, Darrin Horn, Dave Neal, Will Perdue and Jon Sundvold highlight the SEC Network's basketball commentating roster. In addition, the network has hired former SEC men's basketball players Dane Bradshaw (Tennessee) and Tony Delk (Kentucky) as SEC Network analysts.

SEC Network Basketball Play-by-Play Commentators:

· Dave Neal - the two-time EMMY Award winner has been covering SEC sports for nearly 15 years and worked with ESPN since 2009

· Tom Hart - play-by-play for SEC Network's college football coverage, a Missouri graduate covering a span of college sports including women's basketball and baseball

· Dave Baker - sportscaster for men's and women's SEC basketball for more than two decades

 

SEC Network Basketball Analysts:

· Barry Booker -played guard at Vanderbilt University from 1985-89 and has been a college basketball analyst on ESPN networks for the past five seasons. Booker will now cover games as analyst for SEC Network

· Dane Bradshaw - new to ESPN networks, Bradshaw is a former Tennessee guard he will cover games and appear in SEC Network's studio coverage

· Joe Dean Jr. - former Mississippi State basketball player and assistant coach at two SEC schools, Dean joins SEC Network after covering SEC basketball games for more than 20 years

· Tony Delk - new to ESPN networks, Delk was a Kentucky point guard for the 1996 National Championship team. He will be an analyst for SEC Network's studio coverage

· Daymeon Fishback - former Auburn player, Fishback will contribute as a game analyst for SEC Network

· Darrin Horn - previously coached at South Carolina, Horn has been covering basketball at ESPN for the last two years and will continue to do so for multiple ESPN networks including SEC Network

· Jon Sundvold - former Missouri guard, Sundvold was an All-American and a first round draft pick. He has contributed his analytic expertise at ESPN for more than a decade including covering the SEC the last two years. He will now also cover games for SEC Network

· Will Perdue - a former Vanderbilt basketball player, Perdue was a first round NBA draft pick and played on four NBA Championship teams. He will contribute to SEC Network studio programming and games as an analyst

 

The SEC Network's first regular season men's basketball game - William & Mary at Florida on Friday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. ET - will feature ESPN commentators Dave O'Brien and analyst Sean Farnham. SEC Network's full schedule of men's games is available below. In addition to the 118 televised games, more than 40 games will be carried as digital exclusive events on SEC Network +, available on WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com.

 


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Confident Cats? http://www.truebluefan.com/news/confident-cats--392652/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/confident-cats--392652/ Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 20 Oct 2014 4:59:59 PM Alan Cutler Confident Cats?

At 5-2, Kentucky is having a great year, but Stoops is the first to tell you that they got whipped by LSU.

When something like that happens and you aren't used to being whipped this season, you might be concerned about the confidence of your team.

"You worry about it and we need to address it, because you're going to go through ups and downs. You're going to lose some games," says Stoops. "When you self-inflict against a good team -and I'm not taking anything away from LSU, because they flat beat us across the board - but when you make a lot of mistakes, you can have a tendency to lose confidence.

"I told you, other times, speaking to you and to our team, we've gotten beyond the belief. Then it's about execution and doing things, and then we go out and don't do it very well. So now we got to make sure they don't slip back and start doubting."

Keeping his players from doubting will be one of the big keys to getting ready for Mississippi State. Players are going to be available on Tuesday, but you can count on all of them saying that doubting won't be a problem. That's not the kind of thing players would normally admit, even if it was true.

LSU ran for over 300 yards against Kentucky. Stoops thoughts after looking at the tape was classic.

"If you look at the power-run game, we actually improved quite a bit. I know you can write it how you want, I'm not crazy. I know what good run defense looks like and doesn't," he said. 

No one in their right mind would schedule the number one team in America for homecoming. It's just the way it worked out. This could be the strangest statistic of the year. Mississippi State - undefeated and ranked No. 1 in America - in the SEC is tops in total offense and last in the conference in total defense.

 


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CBS Sports To Premiere Documentary About SEC Football Intergration http://www.truebluefan.com/news/cbs-sports-to-premiere-documentary-about-sec-football-intergration/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/cbs-sports-to-premiere-documentary-about-sec-football-intergration/ Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 20 Oct 2014 4:55:40 PM CBS Sports To Premiere Documentary About SEC Football Intergration

CBS Sports Network presents FORWARD PROGRESS: THE INTEGRATION OF SEC FOOTBALL, a documentary about Nate Northington, the first African American football player in the SEC, and the impact his arrival had on the University of Kentucky, the SEC, and the sports and cultural landscape in the United States. The one-hour documentary airs during African American History Month on Monday, Feb. 16 (8:00 PM, ET).

The documentary explores the coordinated effort to integrate SEC football, which started at the highest levels of state government before reaching Kentucky's athletic department. With the tense racial climate of the time serving as a backdrop, the documentary tells the story of Northington and examines the relationship between him and his classmate Greg Page. Page was recruited to play alongside Northington and integrate the conference with him until he was critically injured during a preseason practice and died a month later.

The documentary features an in-depth interview with Northington, as well as coverage of him speaking to the Kentucky football team and being honored by the University.

Interviews in the documentary also include former Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall, Northington's African American teammates Wilbur Hackett and Houston Hogg, as well as other University and state officials.

"Although the journey of the storied SEC toward integration on the football field was marked initially by reluctance, resistance, and even tragedy, ultimately it is a story of the triumph of hope and the human spirit," said CBS News Legal Analyst Jack Ford, who serves as executive producer of the documentary.

Blake Berson serves as producer. Emilie Deutsch is Vice President, Features and Original Programming, CBS Sports. For more information, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.


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Phil Steele Mid-Season Awards for Football Cats http://www.truebluefan.com/news/phil-steele-mid-season-awards-for-football-cats/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/phil-steele-mid-season-awards-for-football-cats/ Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 20 Oct 2014 3:29:32 PM Phil Steele Mid-Season Awards for Football Cats

Kentucky football standouts Alvin "Bud" Dupree, Landon Foster, Darrian Miller and A.J. Stamps have been named midseason All-Southeastern Conference by Phil Steele, it was announced.

 

Miller, a senior offensive tackle, earned second-team honors, along with Dupree - a senior defensive end/linebacker. A junior safety, Stamps was also tabbed second team, along with Foster, UK's junior punter.

 

A native of Irwinton, Ga., Dupree leads all SEC players in career sacks with 19, including 4.5 as a senior in 2014. Dupree has 208 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, five pass break-ups and one interception in his four-year career. He ranks tied for second in UK history with 19 sacks.

 

Foster, a 6-foot-1 product of Franklin, Tenn., ranks third in UK career history with a 41.9 average, also downing 45 punts inside the 20-yard line. As a junior in 2014, Foster has punted 34 times for a 41.3 yard average, with his 17 punts downed inside the 20 a career high and ranking third in UK history, dating back to 2004.

 

Miller, a product of Lexington's Bryan Station High School, played in his team-leading 43rd game on Saturday at LSU. A 6-foot-5, 292-pound offensive tackle, Miller entered his senior season having started 24 consecutive games and has started 30 of UK's last 31 games. Following UK's win over Vanderbilt on Sept. 28, Miller was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after grading out at 89 percent with four knockdown blocks.

 

A native of Vicksburg, Miss., Stamps is starring for the UK secondary in his first season after transferring from East Mississippi Community College, which claimed the national title in 2013. A six-foot, 199-pounder, Stamps is tied for the team lead with three interceptions, helping pace a UK defense that ranks fifth in the NCAA in interceptions. Stamps has 32 tackles and three pass break-ups on the year, with interceptions in wins over Vanderbilt, South Carolina and in the season lidlifter vs. UT Martin.

 


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Swift Earns SEC Honor http://www.truebluefan.com/news/swift-earns-sec-honor/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/swift-earns-sec-honor/ Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 20 Oct 2014 3:25:40 PM Swift Earns SEC Honor

A UK women's soccer player has earned SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Zoe Swift (UK forward) along with Simone Charley of Vanderbilt share this weeks' honor.
Swift scored two goals over the weekend for the first time this season, with both of them serving as game-winning goals.
She scored the game's opening goal in Kentucky's upset of No. 5 Florida after scoring just 12 minutes into the match on Friday against Ole Miss.
The sophomore Wildcat has four goals on the season, including the game-clinching goal at Louisville.
It is the first time all season she has scored in back-to-back weekends.


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Stoops Is Concerned About The Confidence Of His Cats http://www.truebluefan.com/news/stoops-is-concerned-about-the-confidence-of-his-cats/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/stoops-is-concerned-about-the-confidence-of-his-cats/ Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 20 Oct 2014 2:07:45 PM Stoops Is Concerned About The Confidence Of His Cats

COACH STOOPS: Just get back to work today and get back on the practice field with our players after a disappointing loss. After reviewing the film, as I said in the postgame, you have to give credit to LSU. They outplayed us, outcoached us, but there are certainly a lot of things that we need to get corrected and can get corrected, so looking forward to getting back out there.

Another great challenge this week, playing the No. 1 team in the country. We will have our hands full and need to play a whole lot better. So, again, need to get back out there and improve this week on the practice field.

Q. The way they run the ball and the way you have struggled at times stopping the run, how heavy will you handle that?

COACH STOOPS: Well, it's very important. Another physical football team, but not only physical, it's a numbers game as well.

Very well coached, puts you in some hard predicaments. Obviously the way Dak (Prescott) is throwing the ball as well, they stretch you constantly. So it is a concern. If you look back at last week, I think we did ?? believe me, I'm not crazy, I've coached defenses that were pretty darn good against the run. The good news is if you take away some of the explosive runs, that can get corrected in certain spots, just physically we actually did some very good things. They ran the ball, what, 51 times, something like that. And a good portion of some of that yardage came late and it came on some finesse runs, some 11?personnel Q run, and things like that. So if you look at the power run game we actually improved quite a bit in that game and had some good plays and some good stops and did some good things and, again, I know you can write it how you want, I'm not crazy! (Laughter.)

I know what good run defense looks like and does not, so certainly we all know we need to get better and improve in certain areas, but like I said, I think some of it was improved.

 

Q. (Question regarding updates on Stanley "Boom" Williams.)

COACH STOOPS: Things look better, not cleared to play yet, obviously. I'll wait until the doctors tell me he can get on the field but, I think, yeah, things are looking better. When he will be cleared to practice or play I have no idea.

 

Q. Coach, maybe it will be your run defense that responds but when you have a tough loss like that is there good news for the team when you're able to look at somebody and say this is what we do well?

COACH STOOPS: I think that was part of it. We all knew going into that game that was a big, physical football team that wanted to run the ball and they certainly did, but, again, I thought there were quite a few plays in there where it wasn't, just constantly getting pushed around, where I thought ?? just right at the start, again, there's a lot of mistakes we can look at in that game but we start the game with the poor kick?off return and get the penalty.

Then we get a zero yard gain on first down, incomplete pass on second, and get the penalty. That's just the discipline we need to continue to work and get better and get more disciplined on this team, but that penalty hurt. If you look throughout the first half, when we get the punt return for a touchdown, but we were hanging in there. We knew it was going to be difficult, not an easy task, but physically defensively we were holding up pretty well and doing some good things.

Then it gets to be a little much when you're on the field that long, and obviously some big plays that we can and will get corrected.

 

Q. (Follow-up question regarding needing more depth.)

COACH STOOPS: Well, I'm not going to make any excuses, but we just need to find a way. As I said, going into that game you really need to play well on all sides and we certainly didn't do that. We didn't play good enough on any side but I thought we had a chance defensively.

 

Q. Is the gist of what you're saying you feel like a lot of things went wrong and when you went back and looked at it you didn't feel like you were dominated as much at it would appear ...

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, that's fair to say. I don't think we were physically dominated on the field and, again, they ran the ball for 300 yards, you're not generally going to win a lot of games when teams run for 300 yards. We know that's not acceptable but there are a lot of good, physical plays in there by our defensive guys. But when you make mistakes, they're magnified. Mistakes are going to cost you games, they're going to cost you on the road at LSU, making mistakes we did early in that game, it's going to cost and you it's going to be magnified. It gets out of control at that point.

We can't have that and we've got to coach 'em better and be more disciplined across the board.

 

Q. Re: similarities of LSU cornerbacks and Mississippi State cornerbacks?

COACH STOOPS: They're different, a different style of play and they're just different guys.

 

Q. What does the film show about special teams? Was there any common theme?

COACH STOOPS: Well, there's mistakes. There's mistakes that can and will be corrected. We've all made our mistakes this year, offensively, defensively, special teams. Again, they're magnified against a very talented team on the road, and when you open the game that way, it doesn't set the tone. That's not what you want. So they're magnified but they're things that can and will be fixed. The punt return, same thing. A little unfortunate that we hit it so good ?? he kicked it so well, outkicked his coverage a little bit. We had guys down there, we had, honestly, five or six guys clean and we've got to do a better job of closing that gap, spreading the net and getting him down. Once you get a talented guy started and give him some space, bad things are going to happen to us.

So those are things that we can get fixed and will. We all take responsibility for that, and we'll make the corrections and we'll move on.

 

Q. What happened on that opening kick?off? Were you meaning to kick it short?

COACH STOOPS: That's something that in hindsight we would do differently. (Laughter.) So, you know, I told you that at one of my news conferences, anybody that tells you they wouldn't do it differently in hindsight is lying. (Laughter.)

It was poor execution and poor call and we didn't kick it where we were supposed to, either. So what we were supposed to do on the kick wasn't there. Therefore, it magnified it. So, sure, we would do it differently. That's one instance where we were too cute there. Again, I take that responsibility. We take that and we move on. The rest of it is just fundamental things.

 

Q. Mark, going into the year we thought Mississippi State was going to be a decent team but are you surprised they're coming in ?? if we said they were No. 1 coming in this weekend, would you believe that?

COACH STOOPS: I wouldn't have put (any) thought into that, I would have no idea. I would be going on a limb and I don't like to do that. If you look at their quarterback and their team it's not a real big surprise. They're a very talented football team. You could tell they had a lot of confidence coming into the season just by the way they carried themselves at SEC Media (Days), just listening to them with their quarterback and leadership. Dan (Coach Dan Mullen) is in sixth year in the process and they have a good?looking team. I noticed that a year ago. I noticed how big they were and how long and just, you know, they're developed. They do a great job of coaching, and good things are ?? it's coming together for them.

They're playing red hot and it starts with their quarterback. He's as talented of a guy as there is in the country. He can run it, he can throw it. He's making great decisions and their offense puts stress on you. Like I said at the beginning of the statement, they're well coached, they put stress on you across the board.

 

Q. Is there anything specific you remember about Prescott from that game last year?

COACH STOOPS: Physically, good?looking guy, strong, leader, tough, just everything you want in your quarterback and in particular with what they do, with the dual threat and putting that stress on you.

 

Q. Is what Dan has done down there sort of a model for what you would like to do? He sort of chipped away and had a low spot and built up the program?

COACH STOOPS: Certainly anybody that's having success in your league and guys you watch, certainly you look at them and see what they've done.

I think they've done a nice job of recruiting and a lot of times, give them credit under the radar with some of the guys that they get out of their state, that maybe not a lot of people know about, but they have that great length and size and you gotta give them credit for developing those players. They're a good?looking team top to bottom.

 

Q. Do you have any fear at all about the confidence of your team after a loss like that, since you're in the process of rebuilding?

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, you worry about it and we need to address it, because you're going to go through ups and downs, you're going to lose some games. When you self?inflict against a good team and I'm not taking anything away from LSU because they flat beat us across the board, but when you make a lot of mistakes, you can have a tendency to lose confidence.

I told you, other times, speaking to you and to our team, we've gotten beyond the belief, then it's about execution and doing things and then we go out and don't do it very well, so now we got to make sure they don't slip back and start doubting, and it goes back to preparation and work and controlling the things we can control.

 

Q. (Question regarding if this is unfamiliar territory for UK having not sustained a lopsided loss this season like last weekend.)

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, it is this year. It's a new team, first time we have gone through that, it is new to this football team and every team is different. So, yeah, we'll see how we respond.

 

Q. What do you hope that your young wide receivers learned from that LSU tgame?

COACH STOOPS: I hope they learned how to get open versus press. That's a physical bunch that doesn't give you a lot of space. You have to beat 'em, you have to make plays.

We can compete at a higher level. We need to be more detailed on some of our routes, and there is a lot of things we can all do better.

 

Q. When you're playing a No. 1 team do you find yourself trying to not let the guys get too psyched about playing a No. 1 team one way or the other?

COACH STOOPS: As I have said many times I would rather say "whoa" than giddy-up, so if we have a good practice and I got to hold them back, that will be a good thing! But the emotion ?? I'm only looking forward in our preparation. You certainly don't want them flat walking into the building, you don't want them being "down" and all those things but the excitement level and how we prepare and as long as they're focused and they go through preparation and are mentally ready to practice every day and putting ourselves into a position to win a game, that's what I'm looking for.

 

Q. How important is it for them to get the confidence back?

COACH STOOPS: I think it's always important. It was important last week on the road and we fought it uphill the whole game. This week, even though we are at home, we're playing the No. 1 team in the country, you can't fall behind, I think it's important. If we do, we got to learn to face adversity a little better than we did last week.

 

Q. (Question regarding Demarco Robinson being physical at the line of scrimmage.)

COACH STOOPS: He did do better, you're right in saying that. Number one, he's a senior, that helps. So he's got a lot more experience playing against these big dudes that are up there locking them down but Demarco has done a nice job of beating people and playing one?on?ones.

 

Q. (Question regarding if his team can take anything away from playing Mississippi State close last season.)

COACH STOOPS: I think every team is different but I hope it helps us a little bit and we'll see how we prepare and how we go through the week.

 

Q. In your experience do coaches tend to set the same tone after a lopsided loss and what's the right approach?

COACH STOOPS: I'm not sure if everybody takes the exact same approach every week. I don't know what other people do. It's been different from the coaches I've been around each week. As I've said before, you have to have a good plan, but I go on my instincts and my gut a lot and they're sometimes right and sometimes wrong, even in making decisions on the field, and that's where that hindsight comes in.

But I think, with this, definitely I put some thought into the message.

 

Q. (Question regarding if some coaches put on an act after a loss.)

COACH STOOPS: I don't think it's ever an act. I would never use that word to define it. It's about making sure that you clearly define the message that you want them to hear. That really doesn't change much for us a lot as well. Maybe how you deliver it and in those things it does, but the bottom line is we're all going to accept our responsibility and we're going to look at things, get it corrected and move on. So, again, we'll see how well we respond this week.

 

Q. Mark, even with the slow start last week, they had a chance to do something in the second quarter. Can you take anything from that or is that sort of lost?

COACH STOOPS: No, I don't know if you could take much from it, because I felt like, as you know, from watching the game it was an uphill struggle from the first kick?off of the game. But I do feel like we were battling there. That's what I was commenting on defensively for a while there. We were hanging in doing some things. And offensively we were moving it. We had third and 1, a long drive, and we missed that opportunity. That was part execution and part would you do it over? Well, yeah, because it didn't work you would do it over.

So there are things that we can and need to do better in that situation. The bottom line is we didn't make it happen, we didn't deliver, they stopped us and that was a big turning point, because I believe there was roughly five minutes in the half there. If we get a first down, obviously that's time off the clock and even when we got the ball back after that I believe we stopped 'em right after that, maybe a three and out. They hit a great punt and backed us up and even then I'm trying to get out of the half. That's what I want to do at that point. It's been an uphill climb, it's 17?3 on the road, we haven't moved it well, we're backed up, I want to get first downs and get out of the half, unless we make big plays and get moving, of course, but I'm really trying to cut our losses at that point and then as we know, they get 10 more points from there and that was impossible for us to catch up from that point on.

 

Q. (Question regarding importance of playing well this week in front of a national audience.)

COACH STOOPS: I think it's very important. It's important for us to play well. Anytime you're playing a No. 1 team in the country, you're going to have great exposure. We want to play well and represent our program and what we've been doing and all the hard work, so it's important for us to go out and play well.

 

Q. I don't think Jabari Johnson played in the game last year, what has he done to work his way into the line this year?

COACH STOOPS: He gave us size and he's been doing a nice job at that position, what we call the "Jack linebacker" there. He's big. He has a nice feel for it. He's good on his feet, and we felt like we needed more size in that game. So he's done some good things, he's earned the right to play, so we'll continue to rotate between Bud (Dupree) and Jabari and (Jason) Hatcher at those spots.

 

Q. (Question regarding how Jabari Johnson played.)

COACH STOOPS: He did good. He played well, he really did.

 

Q. Your outside guys, they've had discipline issues playing containment on the outside. How do you preach and emphasize the discipline with an exceptional athlete like Prescott?

COACH STOOPS: It's not always on them. I mean, it's always team defense. Sometimes he may step up and then get out as well so they're trying to get speed rush and our inside guys have to be disciplined. We've had our discipline issues but containing on the pass rush is not always one of those with them, it's not always with them, let's put it that way. But it does bring up the point that you're making here, that we need to have great team defense and great discipline with our pass rush. They have disciplined runs and plays where he (Prescott) ad?libs and makes plays. He's very talented. Anytime it's tougher on defenses and it's frustrating at times anytime you play a quarterback that has the experience and feel that he does of making plays. That's why they're No. 1 in our league in total offense.

 

Q. A lot of people have compared Dak to Tim Tebow. Can you see that?

COACH STOOPS: I could see that. I could see people making that comparison. I never played Tebow but just as a fan and watching him I could see people making it, just with Dan coaching them both. The stress that he puts on you with that offense with a guy that could do both run and pass. They're both physical. I could see people making that comparison. Obviously that's a great compliment to Dak, because, you know, Tebow won quite a few games.

 

Q. Fourth year in a row that Mississippi State has had an open date before they played Kentucky.

COACH STOOPS: Really?

 

Q. Do you think that's fair?

COACH STOOPS: We better talk to somebody! (Laughter.) Well, it is what it is. Nothing I can do about it. It's above my pay grade.

 

Q. Mark, the college football spotlight is on the state of Mississippi, Ole Miss is No. 3 as well but with what you and Bobby (Petrino) are trying to do, do you think we could see this similar spotlight in our state?

COACH STOOPS: I don't see why not. I really don't. I feel like we're both working extremely hard to build our programs, we both have great support, and they've been a very talented and good football team and we're working our way toward that.

 

Q. On the long runs, explosive runs that you talked about earlier, did they come from the same area, were they different people?

COACH STOOPS: It did and I think some depth issues hurt us as well. In fairness to a few of our players we got to get them out and get them spelled as well. We're certainly ?? we're not as fast later in the game as we were early. That's coaching. We've got to develop guys and get some guys in there to help. Give them credit. If they're going to run it 51 times with those dudes, they're going to break some, too. It's not like going into the game that you didn't think they were going to have any explosive runs. I think I guess the point I was trying to make with the power run game if you take those explosive runs, it wasn't that bad. We had a good dose of some good people in there and we played more physical than we had been.

 

Q. Do you expect Zach West back this week?

COACH STOOPS: I do expect him back but I don't know how at this point he will respond but I do expect him back this week.

 

Q. What do you need to do to get the run game jump?started a little bit and how important is that?

COACH STOOPS: It's important, just like last week. You know, that's where the run game is always important. We all want explosive offense, and we need that and want to throw it and will throw it but you gotta have some balance.

Look at Mississippi State, what are they, 264 (yards per game) to the run and 265 to the pass. Try to defend that. Makes a difference. It's very important to be physical and to have balance. It puts a lot of stress on teams. We've done that well at times and against some teams it's a little more difficult for us because we're trying to physically get to where we want to be. So to answer your question, it's important to get the run game going, at least be able to have those aggravating runs, three, four, five then break one here and there. We'll continue to work on that.

 

Q. Surprised with all those backs as explosive as they are at times that it hasn't been ??

COACH STOOPS: Like I said, it's been good at times. Wasn't so good last week, and you have to give credit to LSU for that. They beat us. They played more physical than us and didn't give us much room.

 

Q. (Question regarding Mississippi State having a high number of sacks.)

COACH STOOPS: Well, they have an incredible front seven, number one, and number two, they've been ahead quite a bit and scoring some points, so teams are going to have to take some chances and maybe drop back and pass more than they want to.

 

Q. Like you mentioned, LSU secondary did a good job. Did Patrick (Towles) not have a chance because of that? Were there things that Patrick could do better?

COACH STOOPS: Certainly Patrick can play better and needs to play better. We missed some opportunities and that's going to happen. Again, not to make an excuse for Patrick because he doesn't need me to do that, but there are going to be some times where maybe they're covered, then maybe they're open and we miss them, either way it's not good.

So when you are off and not playing your best, again, it's going to get magnified against a great team, especially on the road down there at LSU.

 

Q. In a game like that when you get an opportunity you have to take that.

COACH STOOPS: You have to make those throws, yeah, you do, and we gotta catch them and get open and all those things and we definitely were not at our best.

 

Q. (Question regarding if Ryan Timmons lost a ball in the lights.)

COACH STOOPS: I'm not even sure, to be honest with you. I didn't ask him yet or couldn't tell.

 

Q. (Question re: Timmons)

COACH STOOPS: Ryan needs to continue to improve. He needs to compete at a higher level and needs to step it up. We need him to. If we're going to win games at LSU or if we're going to win a game at home against the No. 1 team in the country, some of our playmakers need to step up and compete at a high level and make plays and win some one?on?ones and make some plays. That's what he needs to do. Again, you asked me specifically about him, there's others, there's all of us. We all accept the responsibility and, again, accept the things that we need to do better and that's something that he needs to do better.

 

Q. Was it clear on the film what happened on the squib kick?

COACH STOOPS: We addressed it before they went on the field. We had a good idea they were going to squib it. We had a player make a poor decision.

 

Q. Having young players in a situation like this, does it help or hurt?

COACH STOOPS: I think that goes back to Alan's question. You know, we'll see. I think because we got whooped and because we made some mental mistakes, sometimes that can shake somebody's confidence, and we'll see how they respond. I have no reason to believe that, though. I have a good feel we'll bounce back and prepare well and play well. Thank you.

 

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

 

 

 


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Joe B. Hall and Denny Crum Bluegrass Showcase To Feature Top High School Players http://www.truebluefan.com/news/joe-b-hall-and-denny-crum-bluegrass-showcase-to-feature-top-high-school-players/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/joe-b-hall-and-denny-crum-bluegrass-showcase-to-feature-top-high-school-players/ Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:39:23 AM Joe B. Hall and Denny Crum Bluegrass Showcase To Feature Top High School Players

LEXINGTON - The Bluegrass Sports Commission announced Monday the Joe B. Hall and Denny Crum Bluegrass Showcase, which will feature 14 of the nation's top high school basketball teams playing in Lexington.

The star-studded lineups will face off Nov. 28-29 at Paul Laurance Dunbar High School in a 12-game showcase featuring some of the top recruited players in the nation. 

The Joe B. Hall and Denny Crum Bluegrass Showcase becomes the first leg in the Bluegrass Signature Series which includes three Kentucky tournaments joining the Marshall County Hoop Fest and McCracken County Festival of Hoops which take place on December 4-6 and January 8-11, respectively. The Bluegrass Signature Series features the highest talent levels in the nation.

The Joe B. Hall and Denny Crum Bluegrass Showcase will welcome teams from Arlington County Day (FL), Carlisle School (VA), Homestead High School (IN), Huntington Prep (WV), La Lumiere (IN), Life Center Academy (NJ), Orangeville Prep (Ontario, Can.), Prime Prep (TX), Prolific Prep (CA), Quality Ed (NC), Sunrise Christian Academy (KS), Chicago Currie (IL), Faith Baptist Christian Academy North (GA) and White Station (TN).

"I am pleased for all three events to be joined to some degree under one umbrella," said Dan Hudson, Marshall and McCracken County Director and partner of the Bluegrass Showcase. "Basketball across Kentucky is at an all-time level. The fans across the state are second to none and this series is about showcasing the best teams and players in front of the best fans in the world."

Lexington will host an abundance of talent featuring five of the top 100 recruits from the Class of 2015 including Homestead HS's Caleb Swanigan, a 6-8 center ranked eighth in the ESPN Top 100. Top-ranked rising junior and 7-0 sensation Thon Maker, as well as his 6-9 brother Matur Maker, will also be in town with Orangeville Prep. Ten of the top 100 recruits from the Class of 2016 will also be playing, including No. 2 ranked Josh Jackson (Prolific), No. 8 Terrance Ferguson (Prime), No. 20 Jamal Murray (Orangeville), No. 27 Isaac Humphries (La Lumiere) and No. 36 Mario Kegler (Arlington).

"We are very excited about coming to the Bluegrass Showcase in Lexington," said Orangeville Prep head coach Larry Blount. "The history and tradition of basketball in the state is tremendous and we are excited about being a part of the Showcase."


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UK Women's Soccer Downs No. 5/4 Florida http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-women-s-soccer-downs-no-5-4-florida/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-women-s-soccer-downs-no-5-4-florida/ Sports - True Blue Site Sun, 19 Oct 2014 8:32:11 PM UK Women's Soccer Downs No. 5/4 Florida

The University of Kentucky women's soccer team picked up its biggest win of the season on Sunday afternoon, as the Wildcats shutout the No. 5/4 Florida Gators, 2-0 in front of a season-high 1,172 fans at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex, in a match televised live nationally on the SEC Network.

 

It was goals from Zoe Swift (33rd minute) and Stuart Pope (50th minute) that sealed the win for the Wildcats, who have now won three games running, and sit on 15 points in the Southeastern Conference table.

 

"I think we've had quite a few performances that I'm very proud of," UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said. "I felt like (today) was our most effective. We made a decision as a staff on Wednesday, what we were going to do. But of course we didn't talk to the team about it until after the Ole Miss game.

 

"We decided-we knew that they were going to play a 3-5-2 if we didn't play three forwards. And so we said, ‘Do we have the courage to play a 3-5-2 and match one shape against the other?' And our players were excited. Literally we spent about 10 minutes on a board and 10 minutes on a practice field going over it and said, ‘Just play.'

 

Swift gave the Wildcats the lead just after the half-hour mark as she was slotted in on goal from a through-ball from Michaela Dooley before hammering her fourth goal of the season into the net. Dooley got the ball from the left side and made a run to the corner flag and got endline, beating her defender and serving a ball across the mouth of the goal which was hammered home by Swift, who scored her fourth of the season. The assist went to Dooley, who charted her team-high tying eighth assist of the season, as the sophomore transfer now has 14 points on the season.

 

Senior captain Stuart Pope sealed the result in the 50th-minute. She knocked home a rebound of a great strike from Courtney Raetzman, which was spectacularly-saved by the Florida goalkeeper, Taylor Burke. Raetzman's shot came after a lovely two-touch control from a bouncing ball around the top of the box, and then Burke made a spectacular diving save to her right, but allowed a sizeable rebound for Pope to the left of Burke, and Pope knocked in her first goal of the 2014 season.

 

Pope now has six points this season, one goal and four assists, to go along with 21 shots and nine on frame.

Kentucky (10-5-0, 5-3-0 SEC) more than held its own with one of the best possession-oriented and offensive teams in the nation, as the shooting stats and most every statline in the book was on level terms. The Wildcats finished the match with 11 shots, and six of them on goal, with the Gators rattling off 12 shots, and four on goal. Burke was forced to make four saves, while Kentucky keeper Taylor Braun made four as well on the four shots that she faced.

 

The win for the Wildcats comes as Lipsitz's first-ever win over a top-5 team, and his third top-10 win all-time at Kentucky during his six-year tenure. The most recent win over a top-10 program was a season ago, when UK toppled No. 10 West Virginia, 4-2 in Morgantown.

 

The win was UK's third in a row, and fifth win in the last seven matches. In that time frame, the Wildcats have knocked off No. 24 South Carolina, No. 5/4 Florida, nationally-ranked Auburn and Mississippi State, all at home. Kentucky with one home match remaining this season is 8-1-0 at The Bell.

 

Kentucky's season continues on Friday night, as the Wildcats will make its final road trip of the season, hitting the road to the bayou to face LSU at 8 p.m. ET with Sunday's matchup at No. 21 Georgia coming at 6 p.m. ET. Both matches will be live on the SEC Network+.

 

There are three matches remaining in the SEC season before the 2014 SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala.

 


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No. 12 UK Volleyball Loses First SEC Match http://www.truebluefan.com/news/no-12-uk-volleyball-loses-first-sec-match/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/no-12-uk-volleyball-loses-first-sec-match/ Sports - True Blue Site Sun, 19 Oct 2014 4:37:54 PM No. 12 UK Volleyball Loses First SEC Match

The 12th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 (25-21, 25-15, 24-26, 25-9, 16-14) five-set loss to LSU on Sunday in front of 1,668 fans in Memorial Coliseum. The loss snapped an 11-match winning streak for the Wildcats.

 

"Credit LSU for being aggressive in sets three and four," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "We had to claw our way back in set five and gave ourselves a chance to win, but didn't capitalize. Our intensity and aggressiveness in sets three and four wasn't where it needs to be against a very good LSU team. We're going to have to find out how to get that back in practice this week.

 

"Our floor defense was not where it needed to be against their pin hitters," Skinner said. "There were too many points on their opportunities."

 

UK falls to 17-3 on the season and 7-1 against Southeastern Conference foes. LSU improves to 10-7 overall and 5-3 against league opponents while extending its winning-streak to five matches. Kentucky will be on the road for both matches next weekend with dates at Arkansas (Oct. 24) and No. 20 Texas A&M (Oct. 26). The match vs. the Aggies is set for a live broadcast on the SEC Network at Noon ET.

 

Three Wildcats reached double-figures in the kills column with senior Lauren O'Conner earning 15 kills and added four blocks. Junior Shelby Workman added 13 with nine digs. Sophomore Anni Thomasson had 10 kills and 21 digs and has now logged 20 or more digs in a home match vs. the Tigers in every season of her career.

 

Junior setter Morgan Bergren logged 50 assists, six kills, seven digs and a team-high six blocks. Freshman Kaz Brown added eight kills on a .500 hitting clip with five blocks. Junior Sara Schwarzwalder added seven kills.

 

Senior Jackie Napper posted 16 digs, while sophomore Kelsey Wolf had nine and freshman Ashley Dusek with a career-high eight.

 

In the decisive fifth frame, LSU opened the scoring with two-straight kills and then capitalized on consecutive Kentucky miscues for a 4-0 advantage. Following a timeout, Thomasson scored UK's first point of the set with a kill to end the quick start by the Tigers. Dusek saved another point with two spectacular defensive plays and Kayla Tronick came up with her first kill of the season to make the score 4-2 in favor of the visitors. LSU followed with a kill of its own to take a three-point lead once again.

 

Schwarzwalder teamed up with Bergren for a block and then the duo combined for a kill to bring UK within one at 6-5. Following a timeout, LSU quickly recaptured a multi-point advantage. The Tigers held an 8-5 lead into the switching of benches.

 

Brown and Bergren teamed up for a block, followed by a kill from O'Conner as UK scored three of four points to pull to within one at 9-8, forcing the Tigers into a timeout. Following the timeout, the Tigers tooled the block and once again reclaimed a two-point lead.

 

UK's freshman middle blocker, Brown, once again came up with a huge hammer to set a new career-best mark in that category. Kentucky's defense forced the Tigers into an erroneous attack to tie the score at 10 apiece.

 

The teams swapped points until LSU was able to capture a two-point lead yet again with a block at 13-11. Following a timeout Workman came up with a kill off the block, but LSU earned match point with a kill of its own. A service error saved match point for UK and Thomasson tied the match at 14 apiece with a kill.

 

A kill for the Tigers gave the visitors their third match point of the set. LSU pulled off the upset with a kill of UK's block to win the final set by a 16-14 lead.

 

In the first set, LSU earned an early 3-0 lead to begin the match, before Schwarzwalder and Bergren teamed up for a block to score UK's first point of the afternoon. The block ignited a 3-0 run by the Cats which was capped by a monstrous kill from Brown off of an overpass by the Tigers. LSU responded with a 3-0 spurt of its own. Another Brown kill enabled the Wildcats to tie the score at eight apiece. UK took its first lead of the match on an erroneous attack by the visitor's at 9-8.

 

A back-and-forth battle ensued until a Thomasson kill lifted UK to its largest lead of the frame at 15-12 entering the media timeout. Following the break, an LSU miscue extended the UK run. Thomasson smoked one down the line to lift the Blue and White to a 19-15 lead, and the Tigers opted for a timeout. A service error by the Tigers gave UK set point at 24-20, but the visitors were able to fend off the Cats until Brown came up with the clinching-point at 25-22.

 

The Wildcats logged 17 kills on a .333 hitting percentage and added five blocks in the victory. Thomasson had six kills on a .667 attacking percentage, while Brown had four hammers with an .800 clip. Bergren was in on four of UK's five rejections and Napper posted six scoops.

 

UK attacked up the middle with Schwarzwalder slamming one home for the 1-0 lead to begin the second stanza. The kill ignited a 4-0 start to the set, as UK benefited from a trio of LSU errors. O'Conner laced a kill cross court and UK stretched the lead to 7-2.

 

The Tigers got to within 9-7, but Thomasson was able to go line to end the spurt and begin a 4-0 run by the Wildcats to help the home team earn a 13-7 lead. Kentucky extended the lead to seven at 17-10 on a kill from O'Conner. It was all the more breathing room the Wildcats would need en route to a 25-15 second set, as UK scored eight of the final 13 points of the stanza including consecutive kills from Workman and Bergren to lift UK to a 2-0 lead to the locker room.

 

UK charted 16 kills on a .364 attacking percentage. O'Conner led the way with five kills on a blazing .833 attacking clip, while Schwarzwalder added four with a .600 percentage. Dusek led the way defensively with six digs, with Thomasson adding five.

 

An LSU attacking error gave UK the first point of the third set, but the Tigers would score the next four for an early 4-1 advantage. An O'Conner kill off the block quieted the LSU run. A block from Brown and O'Conner followed by consecutive LSU miscues enabled the Wildcats to take their first lead of the frame at 7-6. The 7-1 run continued for the Wildcats as the home team earned a 10-7 lead following a kill from Workman, forcing the Tigers into a timeout.

 

LSU fought back and pulled to within one at 11-10, but Schwarzwalder capitalized on an overpass to end the run. The Tigers wouldn't go away, however, and eventually tied the set at 16. The teams exchanged points until UK was able to shake loose for two-straight for a 19-17 edge, but the visitors answered with a 2-0 spurt of their own to once again tie the score.

 

LSU recaptured the lead late in the set at 22-20 attempting to force a fourth frame. Following a timeout, UK answered with a Thomasson kill and then the Wildcats forced LSU into an error to tie the score at 22. LSU took a timeout and earned a kill for a 23-22 lead, but quickly gave the point right back to UK with a service error. O'Conner saved set point with a kill off the block, but the Tigers would score the next two to force a fourth frame following a 26-24 win.

 

The Tigers posted 21 kills in the frame and UK only managed 12. O'Conner led the way with four in the set. Workman had five digs to lead the defensive effort.

 

LSU began the fourth set by grabbing an early 4-1 lead. The lead for the visitors eventually stretched to four at 7-3. It was all the more breathing room the visitors would need en rote to a 25-9 fourth set win to force a decisive fifth frame.

 


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Former Cat Earns OVC Honor for Fourth Time http://www.truebluefan.com/news/former-cat-earns-ovc-honor-for-fourth-time/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/former-cat-earns-ovc-honor-for-fourth-time/ Sports - True Blue Site Sun, 19 Oct 2014 4:17:54 PM Former Cat Earns OVC Honor for Fourth Time

For the fourth time this season Jalen Whitlow is the Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week.

Whitlow accounted for five touchdowns (two passing, three rushing) as Eastern Illinois won 52-13 at Southeast Missouri. He completed 17-of-30 passes for 213 yards and touchdown passes of 50 and 5 yards (both to Adam Drake) while also carrying the ball 15 times for 75 yards and scores of 3, 13 and 2 yards.

Over the past four games he has now completed 131-straight passes with an interception.

Whitlow currently ranks 20th nationally in rushing touchdowns (8), 25th in total offense (258.7 yards/game) and 29th in both rushing yards/carry (5.87) and points responsible for (13.1/game).

 


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UK Soccer to Face No. 9 New Mexico in C-USA Showdown http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-soccer-to-face-no-9-new-mexico-in-c-usa-showdown/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/uk-soccer-to-face-no-9-new-mexico-in-c-usa-showdown/ Sports - True Blue Site Sun, 19 Oct 2014 3:57:26 PM UK Soccer to Face No. 9 New Mexico in C-USA Showdown

The Kentucky men's soccer team will take on ninth-ranked New Mexico on Saturday at the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex in a matchup with implications atop the Conference-USA table.

The Wildcats (7-3-3; 2-0-2 C-USA) are currently in second place with eight points, while the Lobos (9-2-1; 2-1-0 C-USA) are tied for third on the league table with six points, having played one fewer game than UK. Fourth-ranked Charlotte tops the table on nine points from three games (three points for a win, one for a draw, none for a loss).

Kentucky is unbeaten in C-USA play this year.

The Wildcats have a three-game winning streak and are 6-1-3 over their last 10 games, with wins at No. 1 Notre Dame & at No. 21 UAB.

UK's current five-game unbeaten streak is the team's longest since 2010.


Over the last 10, UK has a 14-4 goal differential, and a 0.37 goals-against average.


UK and UNM are the two best statistical defenses in Conference USA and among the nation's best. The Wildcats lead C-USA and rank fifth nationally in goals against average at 0.44.

The Lobos are second in C-USA and 14th in the nation at 0.57.

Kentucky is coming off its best offensive performance of the season, as UK exploded for five goals in a comfortable win at Evansville on Wednesday.

The match will be broadcast on SEC Network+ and UKathletics.com with Dave Baker on the call.

The game has been designated a "BlewOut" as early-arriving Cats fans wearing blue will receive "Blue-Vuzelas" (blue vuvuzelas).

The first 100 Cats fans and the first 100 UK students through the Bell Soccer Complex Gates will get the Blue-Vuzelas.

 


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Not A Special Night for the Football Cats http://www.truebluefan.com/news/not-a-special-night-for-the-football-cats/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/not-a-special-night-for-the-football-cats/ Sports - True Blue Site Sun, 19 Oct 2014 1:09:35 PM Not A Special Night for the Football Cats

What should have been a trivial squib kick shortly before halftime became a symbol of Kentucky's continued misery in Death Valley.

The ball bounced away from nearly every Wildcat player on the field before LSU's Lewis Neal recovered at the Kentucky 37, setting up the Tigers' fifth score of the half.

The Wildcats (5-2, 2-2 Southeastern Conference), who came to LSU (6-2, 2-2) intent on establishing themselves as a credible threat in the SEC East race, never recovered in a 41-3 loss to the Tigers on Saturday night.

"That was very disappointing because we had just told them about how LSU was backed up and we thought they may squib it," Kentucky Head Coach Mike Stoops said. "We just had our players make a poor decision and didn't make the play. That's unacceptable."

Terrance Magee amassed a career-high 220 all-purpose yards and rushed for two touchdowns, Tre'Davious White scored on a 67-yard punt return for LSU.

Travin Dural caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Jennings and Leonard Fournette added a short scoring run for the Tigers, who raced to a 27-3 halftime lead.

The Wildcats entered the game with arguably more at stake than LSU, only to be handed their fourth lopsided loss in as many trips to Death Valley since 2000. The combined score of those four games: 159-10.

"Nobody likes to lose that way, to be really physically handled," Stoops said. "That is what sticks out to me. Along with our mistakes. We need to coach better, I take responsibility for that.

"We can't let one game define us. We always talk about win or lose you have got to move on," added Stoops, whose team hosts No. 1 Mississippi State next weekend.

Kentucky also saw freshman running back Stanley "Boom" Williams, their all-purpose yards leader, knocked from the game on a helmet-to-helmet hit during a kickoff return.

"We will see how he recovers," Stoops said. "He's OK to fly home. We have the protocol and he went through it. They evaluated him on the field. He's with the doctors and I just have been told it is a head injury."

The Tigers ran the ball 51 times for 303 yards and outgained the Wildcats 423-217. Jennings attempted only 14 passes, hitting seven for 120 yards, and did not turn the ball over.

"That is what we would like to look like some day," Stoops said of the LSU offense. "They are extremely long and very physical."

"They do an excellent job across the board," Stoops added. "They do an excellent job coaching and recruiting. Their players play well and they play tough."

Patrick Towles completed 19 of 36 passes for 146 yards and Austin MacGinnis kicked a 33-yard field goal for Kentucky.

"Of course it is frustrating to not convert that because you want to be able to score as many points as you can," Towles said. "When you don't it's not good. We just got outplayed. You can get humbled quick in this league like we just were."

LSU raced to a three-score lead on the strength of its return game and a pair of strong defensive series.

Magee brought back the opening kickoff 49 yards to the UK 44, and a facemask penalty gave the Tigers starting field position on the Kentucky 29. A roughing-the-passer penalty on what would have been LSU's only pass attempt of the drive moved the ball to the 14. Fournette's 1-yard touchdown came soon after.

The Wildcats threatened to trim their deficit further in the second quarter, but LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter and Adams stuffed Jojo Kemp's run out of the 'wildcat' formation on fourth-and-2 from the Tigers 29.

"I thought that was the turning point," Stoops said. "Things broke open a little bit from there."


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Lairds Firecracker Gives UK Win Over No. 9, First-Place in C-USA http://www.truebluefan.com/news/lairds-firecracker-gives-uk-win-over-no-9-first-place-in-c-usa/ http://www.truebluefan.com/news/lairds-firecracker-gives-uk-win-over-no-9-first-place-in-c-usa/ Sports - True Blue Site Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:16:24 AM UK Athletics Lairds Firecracker Gives UK Win Over No. 9, First-Place in C-USA

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Justin Laird's 31st-minute firecracker of a goal gave the Kentucky men's soccer team a 1-0 win over ninth-ranked New Mexico on Saturday at the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex.

The UK defense held on for the remaining hour to claim its third victory over a top-25 team this year, and second in as many weeks. UK also has wins this year over then-No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 21 UAB.

With the win, Kentucky (8-3-3, 3-0-2 C-USA) moved to the top of the C-USA table ahead of No. 4 Charlotte, which suffered its first league loss of the year against Old Dominion on Saturday. UK is on 11 points, while Charlotte is in second place with nine points having played one fewer game in the conference.

UK won its fourth straight game, extending its longest streak of the year, and also moved to unbeaten in its last six outings.

"Great performance, a lot of credit of course to New Mexico - current league champions - they have a couple really special players," UK head coach Johan Cedergren said. "We spent a lot of time on video making sure we had our organization and our tactics right. After the ODU game I said that was our best half, but this (first) half was our best half (of the season).

"The play in midfield and our possession and switching the field was spectacular. I think it kind of sums up how we scored the goal. With Stefan (Stojkovic) turning their defender inside out and then Justin with a little bit of pre-movement to get the defender to bite that he's going to go across; then he stays. A one-time volley that was just a really spectacular goal."

Callum Irving and the UK defense kept their ninth shutout of the season. Irving did not face a shot on goal in the first half, but he had to come up big on three spectacular saves in the second period.

UK's nine shutouts in 2014 ranks second in the nation behind only Syracuse.

The UK defense is allowing under a half a goal per game this year, as the Wildcats lowered their goals-against average to 0.41 per game, which would rank third nationally entering this week.

"To this point in the season Cally (Irving) has gotten a lot of publicity, and sometimes I think maybe its more the back-4 than Cally, but today he showed why he's one of the best goalies in the country. He did fantastic, I thought Jordan (Wilson) and Kaelon Fox did fantastic and Kristoffer Tollefsen showed a lot for the ball as well."

The match was played on a chilly evening before a wily bunch of 853 Wildcat fans, who were vocal all night with Blue-Vuzelas, especially late as UK held on to the result.

FIRST HALF
Laird kept up his scintillating form, connecting for his second goal in as many games and team-leading fifth of the year, to break the deadlock after half-an-hour.

Stefan Stojkovic received a ball along the right flank from Matt Quick, and Stojkovic beat his defender before playing a cross. The freshman forward found Laird alone on the left side of the 18-yard box and the senior striker timed his volley perfectly across goal and into right upper-90.

UK's defense was rarely troubled in the first half and the visitors failed to put a shot on frame against Preseason All-C-USA goalie Callum Irving.

Laird was lively all half, as he forced to solid saves from UNM goalie Jason Beaulieu on 10 minutes.

SETTING THE STAGE
The Wildcats (7-3-3; 2-0-2 C-USA) entered Saturday in second place with eight points, while the Lobos (9-2-1; 2-1-0 C-USA) were tied for third on the league table with six points, having played one fewer game than UK. Fourth-ranked Charlotte topped the table on nine points from three games (three points for a win, one for a draw, none for a loss).

UK head coach Johan Cedergren named an unchanged side from the one which had won each of the last three games.

Napo Matsoso set up at the heart of the attack in the central attacking midfield role as he was coming off a career day vs. Marshall. Justin Laird led the UK line as well as the teams in goals scored in 2014 with four entering Wednesday's match.

Kentucky was unbeaten in C-USA play this year.

The matchup pitted the two best statistical defenses in Conference USA and among the nation's best against one another. The Wildcats lead C-USA and rank fifth nationally in goals against average at 0.44. The Lobos are second in C-USA and 14th in the nation at 0.57.

The Wildcats had a three-game winning streak and are 6-1-3 over their last 10 games, with wins at No. 1 Notre Dame & at No. 21 UAB.

UK's five-game unbeaten streak was the team's longest since 2010.

Kentucky was also coming off its best offensive performance of the season, as UK exploded for five goals in a comfortable win at Evansville on Wednesday.

 

 


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