Joker Phillips: 1 South Carolina: 0
I realize it's only been one meeting, but UK's new head coach is now undefeated against Steve Spurrier. Lifelong UK football fans can relish in ending one streak, and starting a new one. UK has never beaten Spurrier in 17 tries at Florida and now USC, and hasn't beaten South Carolina in the two team's last 10 matchups... until Saturday night.
Sure, a big chunk of the talking heads said South Carolina was ripe to lose. The argument of after beating Alabama, USC would lose focus and drive, maybe even look past UK seemed like a legitimate one. But, UK fans have a tendency... well more like 100% certainty to bring a Debbie Downer attitude to the situation. Yeah, UK may play their hearts out, but there will be some play, some mistake, or some previously unknown player from South Carolina who has a breakout game... but SOMETHING will surely bring heartbreak to Commonwealth Stadium.
Not this time. As the UK football team often does right around the start of basketball season (Midnight Madness was Friday night), they remind us all there's still a lot football to be played... A lot of inspired, competitive, record-breaking football (Randall Cobb has now scored more touchdowns than anyone in UK football history).
The maligned UK defense held USC scoreless in the second half. Mike Hartline had the game of his UK career. Joker Phillips gets his first SEC win and his first win against a top-10 team. Add Cobb's record-breaking catch (and game-winning TD, I might add) to the equation and it was a very special win. Outside of the LSU victory in 2007, this win is as important and exciting as any one game in my lifetime. And, that doesn't happen every year.
On an evening when most UK fans were discussing Enes Kanter's upcoming basketball eligibility, the UK football team reminded us all what it feels like to be on the edge-of-your-seat fan. And, to remind us all that football season is just beginning.