Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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April 14, 2013

Huge crowd comes out for Blue-White game

LEXINGTON — The Mark Stoops era as head coach of the Kentucky football team witnessed perhaps its greatest highlight yet as 50,831 rejuvenated fans attended the 2013 Blue/White Spring Game at Commonwealth Stadium Saturday night.

Saturday night's crowd, the largest to attend a spring game in program history, saw the Blue squad squeak out a one-point victory over the White team in the annual scrimmage, 24-23. It was Stoops first time out on the Commonwealth Stadium turf with his new team in front of the fans after 14 spring practices installing offensive and defensive schemes.

"Thought it was a great night for the program," said Stoops. "Really appreciate the fan support, just an unbelievable atmosphere.  I thought the players played hard.  Made some mistakes, but overall, pretty clean game.  So, very excited."

The evening marked the height of the growing excitement around Kentucky football which was sparked with the hiring of Stoops on Nov. 27 last year. Since that moment, a fan base had its attention turned to a new-look, new-attitude program.

Stoops has been blown away by the support.

"It's remarkable, it really is," said Stoops. "I've said it a few times, but again, I really thank (the fans) for their support and their belief and their passion for this program.  It's tremendous."

The Kentucky faithful finally got to see a glimpse of what the new coaching staff had been working on since joining the Big Blue Nation with Stoops coming on board in late November. Stoops promised to bring a new approach to the defensive side of the ball with his offense revisiting a familiar style of play from air-raid era with an up-tempo offense.

As the Wildcats put five passing touchdowns on the board, it marked the return of the old air raid sirens that once carried through the Lexington skies on game day.

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Dirt flies as a wall comes down from the old Catlettsburg National Bank Building on Monday. MARK MAYNARD / The Independent

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