In the other locker room, Central Michigan coach Brian Kelly wasn't accepting a moral victory in its first attempt to defeat a team in the Southeastern Conference.
"It was a tough football game," said Kelly, who guided Division II Grand Valley to the national championship in 2002, before taking over in Mount Pleasant in 2003. "We came down here to win a football game. You don't put all this time and effort to not win this game. We're disappointed we didn't make the necessary plays (to win the game)."
Like Brooks, Kentucky receiver Keenan Burton wasn't surprised by the fight that Central Michigan imposed against Kentucky in its own stadium.
"They never stopped," Burton said. "There was no quit in them. They wanted to win. They knew that for a fact that they could come into Commonwealth Stadium and beat us. We just wanted to prove them wrong."
Despite the early deficit, the Chippewas gave South Carolina and its "Fun and Gun" innovator Steve Spurrier plenty of reasons to throw the football against Kentucky's secondary when the Gamecocks arrive in Lexington next week.
"Steve Spurrier is going to lick his chops looking at that film," Brooks said. "If he didn't know what he was going to do against us, we showed him what he can do."
Aside from the defensive struggles, Kentucky showed signs of a mature team late in the contest when the team needed it the most.
The Cats used a late touchdown by Rafael Little to pull away down the stretch against the Chippewas, who failed to convert on a two-point conversion with 6:58 left that would have tied the score at 38-38.
"When it came down to crunch time, we knew we had to get the ball to No. 22," Burton said.
Considering the Cats' past history against teams in one of the nation's top mid-major conferences, just putting a check mark in the win column overshadows the three quarters leading up to the final buzzer.
"I have a bunch of guys in there who didn't do everything right, but they did enough things right against a very good MAC football team."
Sometimes that's all that matters.