By Ben Tompkins
While current students were away from UK during the Thanksgiving break, former student athletes were active on the football field.
A handful of ex-Cat football players provided the spark necessary to secure victories for their teams in the 13th week of the NFL.
In the rematch between AFC West rivals, linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan anchored a defensive front that was able to shut down Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs late in the game when backed up to their own goal line. Holding the Chiefs on fourth-and-goal with less than two minutes remaining, the Broncos were able to slip away with their 10th win, 35-28.
After season-high performances from Woodyard in the last two games, the former UK linebacker recorded five tackles, all solo, and was also able to nab an errant Alex Smith pass for his first interception of the season.
Danny Trevathan, who recorded more than 10 tackles in the last four games prior to Sunday, notched only four solo tackles at Arrowhead Stadium. Even with the dip in productivity, Trevathan’s 98 tackles ties with two other players for 12th atop the NFL.
While Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme played well in the win over the Patriots last week, this week’s game delivered more of a limited performance. Tamme caught one pass for three yards, raising his season totals to nine receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Buffalo Bills receiver Steve Johnson caught five passes for 55 yards in the 34-31 overtime loss to Corey Peters and the Atlanta Falcons.
Peters recorded a season-high six tackles in the win.
Around the rest of the league, running back Alfonso Smith saw only special teams action as the Arizona Cardinals fell to the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21. New York Giants fullback John Conner recorded no offensive statistics in the Giants’ 24-17 victory over the Washington Redskins.
In a battle of NFC North rivals on Thanksgiving Day, Larry Warford and the Detroit Lions routed the Green Bay Packers and punter Tim Masthay, 40-10. Warford caught praise by the television broadcasters for sealing a pancake block that led to a Reggie Bush touchdown run.
“It’s huge for the program when guys like Randall Cobb and Woodyard and Trevathan play well because it brings a more positive light to the football program,” said Ryan Steffey, a junior psychology major.
Steffey has been an avid fan of UK football ever since he was a kid.
“It shows people that UK isn’t just a basketball school,” he said. “But more importantly, it shows recruits that there is potential for them to come to UK and get to the next level.”