KERRI BROOKS: Wildcat team has guts

The final regular season game is upon us, and with the team already reaching bowl eligibility, it seems as if football focus is beyond this game and looking into post season. Not so for the Wildcat football team. They had a bit of a reality check last weekend against Louisiana-Monroe that will help fuel the fire to get yet another SEC victory.

Kentucky would love to go out with a win over a team that has been such a huge rival over the years. Knowing how tough the road has been, it seems crazy that the Cats have an opportunity to be 8-4 at the end of this weekend.

In a year where there have been so many close NCAA football games between teams that were not expected to play close; it sure would be nice if Kentucky could play 4 quarters of solid football on both sides of the ball this weekend and have one of those games. There have also been major upsets that no one thought was possible. With some players coming back from injuries this week, the Wildcats will have their best team on the field that they have had in the last few weeks. Will it make the difference? We will know soon enough.

No matter what the outcome of this game, the progress this team has made this year should not be overlooked. They have made some accomplishments that shouldn't be judged by the outcome of this final game. If they are able to beat the Vols, it would be an extremely momentous occasion, but having 7 wins going into this game is quite an accomplishment in itself. I recall people saying the Cats would be lucky to win 4 or 5 games this year. Here we are, with 7 wins now, not due to luck, but due to not giving up. The Cats have shown us they have resilience. They know they are capable of coming from behind, but most important they know they can win. They have overcome their own deficiencies and found ways to still win games. No guts, no glory. Well, these guys have guts.

Being rated so poorly in NCAA Defensive stats is not something the team is taking lightly. The players are focusing on wrapping up their tackles this weekend, and are hungry to have a strong performance when it really counts. Playing in Neyland stadium is hard enough, but with 106,000 Rocky Top singing, screaming fans, it is an experience that is not like any other.

Andre Woodson has shown us his maturity this year on leading the team, and this weekend will be one of the biggest tests he faces. Many of the players on Kentucky have never played in front of a crowd of that size, and I truly believe they will rise to the occasion and make Kentucky fans proud of them. They know what is on the line. They know how momentous this win could be, and for the seniors it would be the best send off present they could ever have. Winning an away game, at a field that may very well be the toughest 12th man they face in the SEC would be incredible.

Thanks, Wildcats football players for your dedication to winning this year. It may not have always been pretty, but in the end you got it done. You are taking your team and your dedicated fans along with you to post season play, and you should hold your head up high. If you beat the Vols, you will take yet another step in proving that you are rounding the corner and turning the program around.

Every game this year has been a huge game for the program, and every win the Cats have had this season has increased what is on the line the following weekend. Saying this game is big is an understatement, winning it would make this season one for the record books.

Beating the Vols will make for a much more pleasant bus ride home for the Cats, and for very pleasant reading Sunday morning. Here's to waking up Sunday as a team that upset a ranked team, and being able to read the newspapers with a smile on your face. Kentucky deserves it. BEAT THE VOLS!

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