Kentucky wasting no time introducing new Wildcats to Governor's Cup rivalry
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Kentucky wasting no time introducing new Wildcats to Governor's Cup rivalry

Nick Roush8 days


Article written by:Nick RoushNick Roush



Kentucky has defeated Louisville by a combined 78 points over the last two meetings between the teams on the gridiron. Unfortunately, the Wildcats couldn’t kick in the Cardinals’ teeth last year. COVID-19 scheduling canceled the 2020 edition of the Governor’s Cup. Now Mark Stoops has to introduce players to the rivalry.

“They’re better in all areas than the last time we played them,” Stoops said. “A good dose of our team the past two classes haven’t played Louisville. This rivalry needs to be introduced to a few of our players that hadn’t been exposed to it.”

Stoops declined to share exactly how he will inject good ole fashioned hate into the locker room. It’s safe to say that Will Levis learned quickly.

Defined by Physicality

In big games, Kentucky never backs down from a fight, particularly in big games against ACC teams. The fun started in 2015 when Bobby Petrino locked up with Dan Berezowitz while Drew Barker and Jeff Badet stirred the pot near midfield. The chippiness has been present ever since, including tossed garbage cans, plenty of Ls down and even an ejection for Luke Fortner. Even though they did not play last year, the Cats still took it to an ACC foe by bullying N.C. State in the Gator Bowl. Stoops wants to see more of that mentality Saturday at Louisville.

“We will have to play more physical than we’ve been in my opinion,” said Stoops. “We need to bring out that physicality that we’re used to. I still don’t feel like we’re as physical as we can be.”

More than a Rivalry

Stoops will make sure his players are ready for the intensity of the Governor’s Cup, but beating Louisville means so much more than another notch in the heavy trophy.

“We have so many things to play for. Not only is it a rivalry game — it is what it is, you have to address it and understand it and be prepared for it. But for us, you know there’s so many other things that are equally as important. Every game we play. I believe it’s only been five teams since 1949 that have won nine games or more. This team has an opportunity to do it two times in the last four. I think that’s pretty important and more than likely a New Year’s Day bowl game.” Stoops added, “There’s a lot of things that our players understand the importance of.”

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