Football history was made in Kentucky over the weekend. On Friday, the Paintsville kid with a singsong name worthy of Everly Brothers treatment, Joshua J. Jude of Johnson Central carried the ball 35 times for 441 yards, including six touchdowns. Jude has chiseled in stone his own record displacing Derek Homer’s 13-year mark, and is now Kentucky’s new all-time rushing king with 8,543 yards.
The show against Covington Holmes made larger the target on Jude’s 5-10, 175-pound frame however when Central lines up at Fort Thomas Highlands this week.
What to watch next? Jude’s cofavorite status with Highlands’ Patrick Towles for Mr. Football honors is noteworthy, but where are the college scholarship offers for Jude?
• In the ever wacky Ohio Valley Conference, Eastern Kentucky University went on the road, spotted Jacksonville State a four touchdown lead, then roared to a fifth straight win and a clear shot at its first league title since Roy Kidd retired.
• At Western Kentucky, the game clock clicked to 0:00 when goat-horned kicker turned hero Casey Tinius stepped up and sailed one between the sticks. The Hilltoppers had their fifth straight win — all heart stoppers. The last “W” reintroduced a new/old word to Bowling Green’s vocabulary: Bowl.
Meanwhile, the ’Toppers (5-1 in Sun Belt) ought file an appeal with its league. Something like: “With life and limb at stake, wellbeing of our players and future in mind, forfeit the check from Baton Rouge, please. Move past Saturday’s road game at LSU and go straight to Nov. 19 at North Texas.”
• Louisville. Set for a 10-points plus hammering at West Virginia by pundits, the Cardinals scored a Signature Win. At 38-35, it was bigger than beating Kentucky in September, and as new era big as beating Wake Forest in 2006 Orange Bowl. Suddenly, Pittsburgh’s visit to Papa John’s this week, is Big East title big and BCS big too.
If UofL (5-4) can win out, bigger bowl bucks are in the, uh, cards.
• Kentucky. Underdog at home, the Wildcats were stunningly good earning their first SEC game this year.
Clearly its finest performance, the offense showed rhythm and balance Big Blue Nation expected back to see when its population made Commonwealth Stadium the state’s third largest city, in September.
The emergence of Maxwell Smith has brought spark, elevated morale to pass blockers in the trench, and catchable passes have receivers running crisp routes again. No turnovers and keeping the defense off the field doomed Ole Miss. More good work from CoShik Williams and Matt Roark has made La’Rod King hungry and dangerous again.
Head scratching UK watchers wonder anew, “What are these coaches not seeing on Tuesday through Thursday that we ARE seeing on Saturday?”
This week, Vanderbilt is a 13-point favorite over Kentucky in Nashville. View here is the point spread was hasty and took no account of Maxwell Smith’s arrival and the Wildcats’ performance overall against Ole Miss. The game is a toss up.
UK and History
For the first time in more than a century, the University of Kentucky has a new SEC border state rival. Missouri will join the SEC in July.
Early impact points on UK football?
1. With eight SEC games on its schedule this year, the addition of Mizzou in the SEC East Division and Texas A&M in West, the number of bruiser-level league games will increase and could sound the death knell for the UK-Louisville series.
2. Texas A&M and Mizzou will assume places in SEC standings above Kentucky and so elevates the recruiting challenge all the more for Joker Phillips.
3. To say the border war with rival Tennessee is at a low ebb is overstatement. So, a Kentucky- Mizzou annual season- ender could be a pack-the-stadium better option than Big Orange?
4. An expanded SEC schedule likely means (ready for it?) a ticket price hike. Stay tuned.
Basketball & History
Last Wednesday was first day high school seniors could announce their college choices. In Lexington, UK Coach John Calipari reminded listeners, “Kentucky isn’t for everyone,” then wished Stacey Poole Jr. good luck and goodbye (Glad to have your vacated scholarship).
We hope Poole follows a trail blazed by … Michael Bradley and Rodrick Rhodes on back to Bob Tallent and Linville Puckett. They and a host of other ex-Wildcats transferred and flourished.
And so it goes.