The Kentucky Wildcats snapped a five-game losing streak to their in-state rivals on Saturday as they stunned Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals 41-38.
Thanks largely to the leg of Austin MacGinnis, who went 5-for-5 on extra points and 2-for-2 on field goals including the game-winner, the Wildcats picked up their first win over the Cards since their 23-16 victory back in September 2010. The victory assures Kentucky of being in the mix for a bowl as they improve to 7-5 on the year and subsequently drops Louisville down to 9-3. In doing so, Kentucky also handed Louisville their first home loss of the year.
Quarterback Stephen Johnson was a threat through the air and on the ground against the Cardinals defense. Johnson threw for 338 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and compiled 83 yards on the ground on eight carries. Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson meanwhile threw for 281 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions while running for 171 yards and two scores.
What we learned
Lamar Jackson... is human! But still was far from the problem
Yes, I know how shocking that sentence looks. But it’s true! Jackson turned the ball over thrice on interceptions and once via a fumble, but still was able to put his team in position to win multiple times during the game. Jackson was responsible for 24 of the 38 points that Louisville scored on the day. The numbers might look grisly to some, but he certainly can’t bear much of the responsibility for the loss as much as the defense could.
Stephen Johnson can get it done when asked
Johnson had previously been playing pedestrianly in the month of November but broke out big time in the Wildcats’ victory over the Cardinals on Saturday. He hadn’t had such a game since his dynamic performance against NMSU back in September, but he certainly more than held his own against Kentucky’s in-state rival. The Rancho Cucamonga native can certainly rest easy after this performance.
Kentucky will have lots of confidence going into bowl season now
The effect of the ‘Cats taking down their in-state rival could very well have a trickle down effect going forward. It’s certainly gratifying to beat your rival, but to do it in the fashion they did - on the road, in the final seconds, and with a Heisman candidate on the other side - it gives credence to a big-time confidence boost. We’ll see how it plays out going forward, but for now, Kentucky can celebrate and celebrate lots