Win launches UK into national polls

Football Notebook

After UK’s first win over a top-10 team since 1977, Brooks lobbied for his team to appear in this week’s national rankings.

“I wasn’t going to say anything in the first two weeks when we hadn’t beaten powerful teams,” Brooks said, “but when we beat a No. 9-ranked team, if we’re not ranked, somebody’s smoking something.”

The pollsters listened. After the victory over the University of Louisville, UK was voted No. 21 in the AP Poll and No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. It is the first time since the final poll of the 1984 season that UK is ranked.

“It’s been a long, hard climb,” Brooks said. “The thing we don’t want it to be is short-lived.”

Prior to the release of the rankings, UK players said they perceived a national lack of respect.

“Nobody’s going to give us anything,” wide receiver Dicky Lyons Jr. said. “It wouldn’t be fun if it was easy. We’re going to have to fight our way back into the limelight. And that’s no problem because you’ve got to earn it, and all those other teams have earned it.”

“Now it’s our turn,” Lyons said.

Victory brings out the truth in Burton

Keenan Burton lied.

After downplaying the significance of the UK-U of L game throughout the week, the senior wide receiver from Louisville finally spoke about the importance of beating his hometown team.

“Personally, I really haven’t told the truth,” Burton said. “This whole entire week I said it was just another game, but it really wasn’t just another game.”

“I don’t have to go home and hear anything about Louisville beats Kentucky all the time anymore,” he said.

Burton, who attended Manual High School in Louisville, was instrumental in the Cats’ victory on Saturday. The 6-foot-2 wide out led the Cats in receiving, catching nine balls for 99 yards despite playing on a sprained ankle.

“You would’ve had to cut my ankle off for me not to play in this game,” Burton said.

Burton injured his ankle earlier in the week during practice. He aggravated the injury in the fourth quarter of the game on Saturday, but head coach Rich Brooks said yesterday during his weekly teleconference that Burton is probable at this point, adding that he should be able to practice by Wednesday or Thursday.

Although Burton visibly hobbled after the game, nothing was going to stop him from finally getting his hands on the coveted Governor’s Cup trophy.

“(It was) heavy, very heavy,” Burton said. “I’ve never felt it before. I’m just excited. It’s been a long time coming. It shows that through patience and trying to progress and just buying into the system, great things can happen.”

As quick as Burton was to say how important the victory was for him, he was even quicker in turning his focus to the rest of the season.

“It’s not over with,” Burton said. “This is just one win. We want to do way more than we did last year, and I think we’re on the right start.”

Flashback: LSU in 2002

As U of L quarterback Brian Brohm prepared to throw the game-ending Hail Mary pass, more than a few people in the stadium were likely experiencing negative reminiscences to Louisiana State’s victory at Commonwealth Stadium in 2002. At least one of those people having flashbacks was on the field wearing a blue uniform.

“The first thing that came to my mind — I’ve been a UK fan all my life — was LSU,” sophomore defensive end Jeremy Jarmon said. “And when I saw the ball deflect off one of our guys hands into one of the U of L guy’s hands, my heart stopped beating. And when I saw him get hit while he was trying to make a move, I knew it was over. It felt great.”

In 2002, No. 14 LSU trailed UK 30-27 with only two seconds remaining. Tigers quarterback Marcus Randall threw a Hail Mary pass from his own 18-yard line that deflected off the hands of UK defenders before wide receiver Devery Henderson caught the ball and ran it in for the game-winning touchdown.