Now I know when you read the title of this article… it’s a very cliche thing to say after a win. However… it’s true for me. I have never witnessed what I saw last night. Kentucky never wins those games. I wasn’t at the LSU or Louisville game many years ago, but many people are ranking last night’s game in that ‘instant classic’ category.
When Mississippi State took the lead at the end of the game… I said to myself, “Self, you shouldn’t be surprised… you knew this was going to happen… no lead is ever safe at Kentucky.” As I saw some fans leave Commonwealth Stadium after Miss. State’s extra point, I started to actually rationalize internally that ‘at least they fought hard’. It always seems like Kentucky just can’t pull off those big-time wins. But then… “the kick” happened.
Before we get to the amazing kick that changed MacGinnis’ life… let’s talk about a few things.
I honestly thought there would be more fans at the game. I noticed more holes in the sections than I wanted to see. However, with that being said… the fans that were there… were AWESOME! I said to another media member, some of these fans haven’t sat yet! It literally felt like the Big Blue Nation was cheering loud and proud throughout the whole game, and it was a really good feeling.
The players played hard and with heart. It could’ve been very easy for this team to just fold after Mississippi State took the lead in under two minutes. This team is different. This team has a mentality that cannot be expressed with words… only a picture:
When Kentucky was charging down the field with time running off the clock… I thought to myself, “If they could just pull this win out… it would be a game-changer for the organization.” And it was. This was Stoops’ biggest win in my opinion, because of everything surrounding the Kentucky Football program. Winning this game and moving to 4-3 (4-1 with Stephen Johnson as your starter) helps fans believe this team will go to a bowl game. This game helps us forget that Southern Miss loss at the beginning of the season (at least a little bit).
After missing a field goal early in the game… even more pressure was on Austin MacGinnis as he attempted this game-winning field goal. He did it. With all of Big Blue Nation on their feet… he delivered. In one single kick, MacGinnis brought tears to the eyes of coaches, players, and even fans (myself included). You see… being a member of the Big Blue Nation isn’t just about winning or losing games. It’s about being invested in these players so much that when they hurt… you hurt. When they’re happy… you’re happy. When they cry… you cry. It’s family. It’s unique. It’s love. It’s raw emotion… I end this article with a picture that captures this raw emotion beautifully.