In the early minutes after Kentucky’s 28-7 upset over No. 14 Mississippi State Saturday night, Coach Mark Stoops stood next to Josh Allen while the linebacker was being interviewed for television. Allen, every bit of 6-5, 260 pounds, had his armed draped around the shoulder of his much smaller head coach. It was a sweet moment.

You could see the entire 5 ½ year journey in the smile of Mark Stoops.

“Incredible feeling,” Stoops said as we talked by phone on Tuesday. “So proud of our guys. They earned it.”

It was the kind of football moment that Stoops told anybody who would listen was absolutely possible when he took over as Kentucky head coach in 2013. He didn’t understate the challenge, which was considerable. But he did preach two words: Patience and commitment.


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