It may only be his second year as a Hoosier and he may not but from Indiana or Kentucky, but sophomore cornerback Tracy Porter understands the importance of the Hoosiers' last bout with the Wildcats.
Indiana will meet Kentucky on Saturday at 5:45 p.m., marking the 19th straight season the two teams have met. That streak will come to an end, though, as the series was not renewed for next season.
"Coming in last year as a freshman when I was at practice I saw how hyped everyone was for the Kentucky game and I was looking around a little puzzled," said Porter. "I didn't know why the rivalry was such a big deal. I just went along with the hype because I was part of the team.
"After playing the game I got a much better understanding of how important this game is. This season I'm really hyped and ready to play."
The 5-10 Port Allen, La., native played the role of hero last week as the Hoosiers came from behind to beat the Nicholls State Colonels. With less than four minutes remaining in the game and the Hoosiers trailing by three, Porter stood up Colonels' running back Anthony Harris and ripped the ball from his hands.
The play ended a drive where Nicholls had completed two fourth- down conversions and a 10-point Hoosier deficit looked inevitable.
"I wouldn't say we couldn't have won the game if I didn't make that play," said Porter. "It might have been a whole lot harder. Looking back on that, we celebrated on that as a team. We came out with the victory there, but now it's behind us."
The play rallied the Hoosiers to a 35-31 victory and a 2-0 mark. But more importantly it may have been a large confidence boost for the Hoosier defense.
"It did put pressure on us to be down that late in the game," said Porter. "But when you're under pressure you have to make plays and we've been able to make them. Hopefully it doesn't have to come down to that for us to have to win this week.
"But if it does, we know we can do it. It makes you feel good to know that when it comes time to get that play on defense we're able to make it. Once we made that play it gave our defense a big boost. We're even more energized to come out and play this game."
The Hoosiers would love to get a win against Kentucky after the 51-32 pounding the Wildcats handed Indiana last season in Lexington. It was a game in which Kentucky quarterback Shane Boyd ran for 130 yards and passed for 205 more against a young Indiana defense.
"Last year they put it on us pretty good," said Porter. "But we're coming in here focused and we're not playing any games. There's a lot of hype going around about this game and everyone is excited.
"We're coming up with new schemes to go against their offense. We're getting prepared. The coaches are making it as easy as possible for us. I think we're going to be ready to play when the game starts."
Porter understands the importance of what will be the last game between Kentucky and Indiana for a foreseeable future.
"The series is tied (17-17-1) so we're really taking into consideration that this could be our last time playing them," said Porter. "We're going to go into the game play hard, play physical and hopefully come out with the victory. We're really excited at the chance to get the crowd to pack the stadium. Hopefully they'll cheer loud and root us to victory. That's a really exciting thought."
UK Game Has Meaning to Porter
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