Allen, defense think they can lead UK to a national title


Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Josh Allen (41) celebrates after sacking Vanderbilt’s quarterback. University of Kentucky football defeated Vanderbilt University 14-7 to become 6-1 on the season on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Cody Ryan

Before the defensive-minded No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats play the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs Saturday to clinch the SEC East Championship, UK’s defense talked about the game after practice Wednesday.

Linebacker Josh Allen said he expects the home field to be loud and hopes the tone of the stadium is thundering. He hopes noise from the fans will result in false starts from Georgia’s offensive line.

“The crowd affects the game, and when they’re up, we’re up,” Allen said after practice.  

Junior linebacker Kash Daniel admitted he has been having challenges making tackles with his broken hand, but he and his team have worked hard to get recognition from the national media. Daniel said he knows what’s at stake.

“Big games like this, it’s important to go into it just like it’s a normal game because when you overthink it, that’s when mistakes happen,” Daniel said.

Daniel was motivated when double amputee, Marine veteran Matthew Bradford spoke with the team. Daniel was impressed with Bradford’s toughness and inspired by Bradford’s relentlessness to re-enlist after losing both legs.

“The guy literally lost both his limbs,” Daniel said. “Some people are amazed that I played with a surgically repaired hand. I mean, that’s nothing compared to what that guy did.”

An ad featuring UK players, including Allen, is on display this week in Times Square. Allen was proud of the ad in New York because he is from New Jersey.

“I got a lot of family in New Jersey, so a lot of them took the trip to see if it’s real or not because on Instagram it looks kind of fake or photoshopped,” Allen said.  

Allen was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for the fourth time and Lott IMPACT trophy recipient for the second time. He was also named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award for most outstanding defensive player and the Butkus Award for college football’s top linebacker.

Regardless of Kentucky’s 7-1 record, the Cats think they have their critics.

“We’ve been doubted the whole season, so I guess they still don’t know,” Allen said. “But we continue proving everybody wrong, and we’ll keep proving it until we get to the top and win a national championship.”

Kentucky and Georgia will play for control of the SEC East at Kroger Field Saturday.