Saturday night’s masterful win over the Gamecocks of South Carolina was just what the doctor ordered to relieve the ills of a fatigued Kentucky fanbase who wanted to see domination out of their squad. Many doubted if the Wildcats had the goods to challenge USC in Columbia, considering that the media had the Gamecocks labeled the dark horse to win the SEC East. The fact that Kentucky had won this contest for three years straight did not enter into their decision. The Wildcat team took notice and entered Williams-Brice Stadium with a massive chip on their shoulder.
“They don’t shake our hands to start. I’ve never seen that, the captains don’t shake our hands. They wanted to go at it, but we were ready, too.” — Mark Stoops
And that massive chip got even bigger.
Maybe that wasn’t the brightest move for South Carolina; to disrespect a team that already felt, well, disrespected. Stoops spoke of the shared attitude of squad, and their disdain for still yet being considered the underdog. Mike Edwards said that USC’s snub at midfield “added fuel to the fire.” Fueling the already fuming Wildcat squad was not what South Carolina needed last night. The Cats played lights out and made their greatest points without words, but with speed, athleticism, grit.. and maybe a tongue.
Todd Bennett of Getty Images snapped the photo that speaks a thousand words and describes a more accurate account of this meeting than I could ever write. It illustrates a story of a chemistry laden, close knit band of brothers who have had it up to their ears with people not taking them seriously. It also serves as a warning for teams left waiting on Kentucky’s schedule: Do not underestimate us or we just may embarrass you.
South Carolina orchestrated a “blackout” for their fans to host Kentucky… Ken-tuc-ky. Then Kentucky proceeded to dismantle their every attempt to gain momentum. When the Cats experienced adversity, they either absorbed it or overcame, but they firmly marched ahead without losing focus. UK defeated USC by 10 points, and for the fourth season in a row.
As far as the handshake thing goes, recently produced narratives suggest that Kentucky may have provoked the midfield snub by trash talking prior to the coin toss. Senior Captain, Courtney Love openly admitted, “I was really jacked up. I got into the tight end’s face and told him we’re going to be here all night. They didn’t want to shake hands. I didn’t mind that.” However, I would bet that this is not the first game with words exchanged on the 50-yard-line. Moreover, smack talk should be expected between rivals. South Carolina reacted by not shaking hands. Kentucky responded by playing with smash-mouth football.
What you get when you don’t shake hands at the coin flip 😂 https://t.co/5ifY05knC5
— Stephen Johnson II (@stephen_h_j) September 17, 2017
All is fair in love, war, and SEC Football, right?
3-0! Go Cats!