Good morning, Big Blue Nation, and welcome to a new day, a new year, and a new decade. Given the way yesterday went down, 2019 might be hard to top, but we’ll give it our best shot.
How about those Cats? In case you somehow missed it, Kentucky came back to beat Virginia Tech in thrilling fashion in the Belk Bowl, 37-30. In his final game as a Wildcat, Lynn Bowden once again did it all, rushing 34 times for 233 yards and two touchdowns and completing 6 of 12 passes for 73 yards, including the game-winning 13-yard TD with 15 seconds left. His 233 rushing yards are an NCAA record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a bowl game, topping Johnny Manziel (229 yards, 2013 Cotton Bowl) and Lamar Jackson (226 yards, 2015 Music City Bowl). His 306 yards of total offense are a career high. It was his third 200-yard rushing game of the season, tying Moe Williams for most 200-yard rushing games in a season and career. It was his seventh 100-yard rushing game, extending his single-season school record for the most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback. This season, Bowden rushed for 1,468 yards, second-most for a single season in school history; If you add in his rushing yards from previous seasons, he has 1,530, which moves him into 21st place on the UK career rushing list. Do I need to remind you he’s actually a wide receiver?
Bowden won Belk Bowl MVP honors for his performance, and brought his son on stage with him to accept the award:
On stage, he delivered an emotional message to his teammates, coaches, and fans in the stands. In the postgame press conference, he revealed that the game-winning touchdown was an audible. Once the confetti settled on the field at Bank of America Stadium, he reflected on his career in an interview with the SEC Network:
To think, just before kickoff, there was some mild panic that Bowden might not play. In pregame warmups, he threw a punch at a Virginia Tech player during a scuffle between the two sides, but because it happened over an hour before kickoff, the refs couldn’t review it. After the game, Bowden apologized for his actions and made a point to go around and shake the Hokies’ hands:
Lynn Bowden showed a lot of respect for Va Tech players after the game. Special young man. pic.twitter.com/Xf54r3DINJ
— Bradley McKee (@Bradley_B_Roll) December 31, 2019
He’s a legend. Build the statue.
As you can see, we’ve got a ton of coverage of the game on this here website and more on the way today, including columns from Freddie Maggard and Adam Luckett. A few more notes as we get 2020 going…
Fans greeted the team at Bluegrass Airport
Most of the team left Charlotte separately to spend a few days with their families, but the players that did come back to Lexington were greeted by a group of fans at Bluegrass Airport:
— Regina Rickert (@acrphoto) January 1, 2020
— Shelby Lofton (@ShelbyWKYT) January 1, 2020
As my friend Hunter joked, Lynn Bowden probably flew the plane home too:
We will miss you, Belk Bowl Twitter
One of the biggest perks of being in the Belk Bowl was following @BelkBowl, the very creative Twitter account for the event. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, you’ll appreciate their tribute to the Cats after the game:
— Duke's Mayo Classic(s) (@DukesMayoBowl) December 31, 2019
Miss Mark Stoops and Lynn Bowden’s postgame press conference?
Our videographer Bradley McKee was in the house and has you covered.
While you’re at it, check out Dr. Mike’s photo galleries
A certain fake purple dinosaur even makes a few appearances.
Sports on TV today
There are four bowl games today, three featuring SEC teams:
- 1:00 PM: Outback Bowl — #18 Minnesota vs. #12 Auburn, ESPN
- 1:00 PM: Citrus Bowl — #14 Michigan vs. #13 Alabama, ABC
- 5:00 PM: Rose Bowl — #6 Oregon vs. #8 Wisconsin, ESPN
- 8:45 PM: Sugar Bowl — #5 Georgia vs. #7 Baylor, ESPN
One of the coolest events in sports, the Winter Classic, also takes place at 2 p.m. on NBC featuring the Nashville Predators vs. the Dallas Stars at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Go Preds!
No new radio show today
Instead, you’ll get another “Best of” edition of KSR, but if you missed the postgame show last night, we encourage you to go back and listen on podcast. It features a call from a very giddy Mark Stoops:
KSR’s All-Decade Teams drop soon
In addition to covering the win over Louisville and the Belk Bowl in the most ridiculous manner possible, the KSR staff has been hard at work on our football and basketball All-Decade teams. Those will be available on KentuckySportsRadio.com later today for you to argue with.
Until then, enjoy yesterday’s highlights one more time: