September 22 Edition on News Stands Wednesday!

September 22 Edition on News Stands Wednesday!

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Kentucky Football – Cats Versus Cocks

 

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Cats Versus Cocks–By John Huang

Every season, I look forward to the Kentucky versus South Carolina football game with great anticipation. While living in Columbia for a three-year stint back in the mid-eighties, I developed a fondness for the Gamecock program that I just can’t seem to shake. I cheered for USC even during the Steve Spurrier days and I still root for the Garnet and Black except when they’re matched up against the Blue and White (or is that Blue and Anthracite). Coincidentally, the two programs are now currently regarded as SEC cellar dwellers but there’s a bit more inherent separation between them than you might think—especially in regard to the fan perception and game day experience.
Williams-Bryce Stadium in Columbia, often referred to as “the cockpit”, seats over 80,000 rabid fans, is consistently ranked in the top 20 in national attendance and has often been described as one of the loudest sports arenas in the country. Commonwealth Stadium was recently downgraded to 60,000 seats, is consistently ranked toward the bottom of the SEC in average attendance and becomes loud only when fans are booing the coach (Advantage USC).
South Carolina fans rowdily railgate in their sold out Cockabooses while UK fans have yet to jump on the 1865 Tiny House Tailgating club bandwagon. (Advantage USC).
In one of the most exciting pregame entries in all of college football, South Carolina’s Cocky magically bursts out of his cage to the tune of 2001—A Space Odyssey, while the UK Wildcat mascot really doesn’t do much of anything at all during the 2016 Call to the Post. (Advantage USC).
Frenzied South Carolina fans wave white towels to the tunes of Sandstorm before every kickoff while disgruntled Kentucky fans usually wave goodbye to each other midway through the third quarter (Advantage USC).
I think you get the picture. So when the Cats pulled off the 17-10 squeaker, I took nothing for granted and celebrated with exuberance the hard fought victory over the visitors from Columbia. Wins are hard to come by. Must wins over an SEC football school with an arguably better tradition, program, and fan base are even more rare. With Stephen Johnson playing like Lamar Jackson’s little brother (ouch!), the Cats beat the Cocks in nail biting fashion on this warm autumn night in CWS. Boom Williams carried the offense with 123 rushing yards including a 43-yard game changing TD scamper in the 3rd quarter. Down 7-3 at the half, the scoring play gave the surprisingly stagnant UK offense just enough impetus to secure the win. A steady dose of Benny Snell Jr. kept the Gamecock defense off balance for the remainder of the second half. UK’s much maligned defensive unit did its part throughout the evening stopping Carolina on its final drive and holding them to a respectable 268 total yards of offense.
Mark Stoops’s post-game press conferences are all beginning to sound the same–the embattled coach speaking in sound bites with the aplomb of a plumber fixing a leaky faucet. “That’s the way this football team needs to play, with that passion and energy that every fan expects, that we expect and that we will do. We had work to do and have work to do and we’ll continue to work at it.” After this huge win—the $12 million buyout notwithstanding—assurance of employment next year appears slightly more certain.
Let’s face it, this Carolina team isn’t that good and to lose three straight to the Wildcats should normally be grounds for dismissal from the conference. But this is a rebuilding year for new coach Will Muschamp, so Carolina fans should cut him some slack. On the flip side, however, this critical win elevates Kentucky back to .500 status and continues with the two absolute necessities required to achieve bowl eligibility—confidence and momentum.
Unfortunately, the game next week against Alabama will do nothing for either of those. UK’s best outcome against the heavily favored Crimson Tide will be to hang close for a quarter and not sustain any significant fractured bones or broken spirits. Alabama has the best head coach in all of college football, bigger and better players at every position, and is in contention for another national championship. It’s probably best that the Cats mail this one in and come back to fight another day. Literally let’s just send in the reserves. That’s not negativity, that’s just reality with some big blue wisdom mixed in. Alabama 56—Kentucky 14. Stay tuned as I’ll be traveling to Tuscaloosa to report on the carnage and to pick up the pieces. If the Cats somehow miraculously pull this one out, I’ll be the first guy storming the field.

Bell Clown Story Goes Viral

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A Bell County man being arrested while dressed like a clown has went viral on the internet after the story was picked up by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Jonathan Martin, 20, was in a wooded area amid a wave of clown reports. He was charged with wearing a mask in a public place and disorderly conduct in Middlesboro.


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SBA NonProfit Disaster Loans

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The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding eligible Private NonProfit (PNP) organizations in Kentucky of the Oct. 25 deadline to submit disaster loan applications for physical damages caused by severe storms, tornadoes, flooding, landslides and mudslides on July 2 – 9 in the following Kentucky counties: Adair, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Christian, Clay, Crittenden, Daviess, Edmonson, Hart, Hopkins, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall, Metcalfe, Ohio, Todd, Trigg, Union and Webster. Examples of eligible non-critical PNP organizations include, but are not limited to, food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, community centers, schools and colleges.


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GEAR UP Leaders in Service

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Twenty-five high school students were honored in a ceremony in the State Capitol as part of the first Kentucky GEAR UP Week Celebration. More than a hundred students, parents and educators gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to recognize the GEAR UP Students of the Year for their leadership among their peers, personal accomplishments, and academic achievements including GEAR UP Promising Appalachian Leaders in Service winners: Cole Raines, Bell County High School; Martina McClure, South Laurel High School and Emalee Patton, Owsley County High School.


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