Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Kentucky takes giant step with upset of Louisville



By STEVE BAILEY
AP Sports Writer

        LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky linebacker Ronnie Riley hopes the Wildcats' upset win over archrival Louisville leads to more success.

        The Wildcats are 1-0 for the first time in four seasons after defeating the 17th-ranked Cardinals 22-17 Sunday.

        “I just want to hold on to this feeling, savor it,” Riley said. “Everybody doubted us. Everybody. But we came out wanting to make a statement. I'd say we did that.”

        With upcoming home games against UTEP, Indiana and Middle Tennessee, the Wildcats have a realistic shot to be 4-0 heading into their Southeastern Conference opener at Florida on Sept. 28.

        “I can't ever remember being above .500,” junior tackle Jeremy Caudill said. “We're on a winning streak. That doesn't happen here too often.”

        Especially the last few seasons. The Wildcats have won four times in their last 22 games. Second-year coach Guy Morriss is charged with turning around the program.

        He replaced Hal Mumme in February 2001 after an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations, which resulted in three years probation and scholarship reductions.

        The Wildcats went 2-9 last season, sparking questions about Morriss' future. But the 15-year veteran NFL offensive lineman did not want his players to accept another losing season.

        All spring and throughout fall practice, Morriss urged his players to perform like the team that pushed LSU and Tennessee to the brink last season, not the one that got embarrassed in losses to South Carolina and Indiana.

        “This was huge for us, to take this step,” Morriss said. “I'm so pleased and proud for these kids. They have worked so hard for this.

        “Our kids were close to beating some ranked teams last year. We talked about taking the next step, and we did that tonight.”

        Even Morriss' wife, Jackie, got caught up in the celebration. She waited outside the locker room, comparing the win to a something out of Hollywood.

        “This is unbelievable,” she said as she accepted congratulatory hugs from several players. “As soon as the game was over, I halfway expected Guy to look up in the stands and say, 'Yo Adrian, we did it!”'

       



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