Notebook: Bowden likes where program is

NASHVILLE – Sure, Clemson was only 3-5 against teams with winning records and finished the season losing four of its last five, but head coach Tommy Bowden said all is well.

"There are two ways you can look at it," he said. "Yes, it headed in the wrong direction. … For the first time in 16 years, we finished with eight wins seasons (back-to-back), so to me it shows a little bit more stability than heading in the wrong direction.

"First time you do something in 16 years with back-to-back eight wins, I don't think we took as big a step as we wanted. I'm sure the perception is you're going backwards. We've got 10 starters back on defense and six on offense. I think we had a pretty good recruiting year and had a good one this year. Now, whether it can be observed as going backwards or not, you all can determine that."

Bowden said major changes don't need to be made, rather just some simple fine tuning. He also said the injuries take much of the blame for the stumbles down the stretch.

"Had we not had injuries, I felt like we could maybe win nine or 10 games, maybe 11, maybe win them all," he said. "The injures started to take a toll and we tried to absorb the losses and you just try to hold on and stop the bleeding and be as productive as you can. How much more productive without the injuries, I don't know.

"We had the one-point loss to Maryland and (Boston College) and the close loss to South Carolina with the guys that we had. To me it doesn't look like I have to reinvent the wheel because of a couple of one-point losses and a three-point loss."

Adams ties record
Clemson Bandit Gaines Adams will finish his career tied with former NFL great Michael Dean Perry as the school's all-time sack leader. However, at this point, he couldn't care less.

Adams needed two sacks to tie and three to set the record.

With 14:33 left in the second quarter, Adams sacked Clemson quarterback Andre Woodson to tie the mark and it appeared that it was only a matter of time before he got his third.

But that never happened. Thus, tying the mark is as good as he could do.

"The sack record doesn't even matter," he said. "It is all about winning and that is what I am about. We didn't get it done. All the other stuff is irrelevant. This is my last game with Clemson and I wanted to go out as a winner. Obviously that didn't happen.

U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi
The play displayed by the two teams in the first half may have been one of the worst exhibitions of football ever seen on national television.

Between the two squads, there were three missed field goals, a missed extra point, a blocked punt and five turnovers in the first 30 minutes of action.

The Tigers were responsible for three of the turnovers, two missed field goals and the missed extra point. They also blocked Kentucky's punt.

It was the first blocked punt of the season for Clemson and the third time the Wildcats have had a punt blocked.

One of the fumbles belonged to James Davis. It was his first lost fumble of the season.

The bowl organizers are lucky the fans didn't ask for a refund.

The Big Blue Mist
Kentucky fans are known to be extremely passionate and loyal to their basketball team and will to travel to the four corners of the Earth to watch them play. It appears they're just as crazy for their football.

L.P. Field was field with 75 percent Wildcat fans.

When they start cheering, it is said the noise rains upon you like a Big Blue Mist.

"It was like a home game for those guys," Clemson tailback Reggie Merriweather said. "If you looked to the home side, it was all blue."

Little stands tall
Running back Rafael Little grew up just 20 minutes for the Clemson campus, but wound up playing for the Wildcats.

He finished the day with 17 carries for 54 yards and two receptions for 15.

He said he's looking forward to returning to his hometown of Anderson.

"I thin it will be very easy," he said. "I get to go home with my head high. I don't have to worry about nobody saying too much about us losing. So, I'm just going to enjoy the victory."

Maybe the play of the game came late in the second quarter with the Wildcats holding a slim 7-6 lead.

Facing a fourth-and-4 from its own 20, Kentucky coach Rich Brooks called for a fake punt, which caught the Tigers off guard.

Punter Tim Masthay took the snap and hit Marcus McClinton for a 10-yard pass completion and a first down. Clemson's Sadat Chambers had a chance to prevent the first down, but he whiffed and Brooks looked like a genius.

The very next play resulted in a 70-yard touchdown pass and the game might as well have been over.

"I have always been a believer that you run a fake when they least expect it, it has got a lot better chance of working," Brooks said. "If you are out around midfield and it is fourth-and-1, they kind of look for things like that. But backed up in your own territory, you know if it is there, it is there." Top Stories