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Kentucky Wildcats football

The Kentucky Wildcats football program represents the University of Kentucky in the sport of American football. The Wildcats compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Wildcats play their home games at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky and are currently led by head coach Mark Stoops.

Kentucky Wildcats football
2018 Kentucky Wildcats football team
Kentucky Wildcats logo.svg
First season1892
Athletic directorMitch Barnhart
Head coachMark Stoops
6th season, 35–39 (.473)
StadiumKroger Field
(Capacity: 61,000)
Field surfaceField Turf
LocationLexington, Kentucky
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
All-time record615–621–44 (.498)
Bowl record8–9 (.471)
Claimed nat'l titles1 (1950) [1]
Conference titles2
RivalriesLouisville (rivalry)
Tennessee (rivalry)
Indiana (rivalry)
Vanderbilt (rivalry)
Mississippi State (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans10[2]
ColorsBlue and White[3]
Fight songOn, On, U of K, Kentucky Fight
MascotWildcat, Scratch[4]



Early history (1881–1945)Edit

A. M. Miller, Kentucky's first head football coach

Until about 1913, the modern University of Kentucky was referred to as "Kentucky State College" and nearby Transylvania University was known as "Kentucky University". In 1880, Kentucky University and Centre College played the first intercollegiate football game in Kentucky. Kentucky State first fielded a football team in 1881, playing three games against rival Kentucky University. The team was revived in 1891. Both the inaugural 1881 squad and the revived 1891 squad have unknown coaches according to university records in winning two games and losing three.[5] The 1891 team's colors were blue and light yellow, decided before the Centre–Kentucky game on December 19. A student asked "What color blue?" and varsity letterman Richard C. Stoll pulled off his necktie, and held it up. This is still held as the origin of Kentucky's shade of blue. The next year light yellow was dropped and changed to white.[6] The 1892 team was coached by A. M. Miller, and went 2–4–1.[7]

The greatest UK team of this era was the 1898 squad, known simply to Kentuckians as "The Immortals."[7] To this day, the Immortals remain the only undefeated, untied, and unscored upon team in UK football history.[7] The Immortals were coached by W. R. Bass and ended the year a perfect 7–0–0, despite an average weight of 147 pounds per player.[7] Victories came easily for this squad, as the Immortals raced by Kentucky University (18- 0), Georgetown (28–0), Company H of the 8th Massachusetts (59–0), Louisville Athletic Club (16–0), Centre (6–0), 160th Indiana (17–0) and Newcastle Athletic Club (36–0).[7]

Head coach Jack Wright led the team to a 7–1 record in 1903, losing only to rival and southern champion Kentucky University.[7]

Fred Schacht posted a 15–4–1 record in two seasons but died unexpectedly after his second season.[7] J. White Guyn also had success leading the Wildcats, posting a 17–7–1 record in his three years.[7]

Edwin Sweetland went 16–3 in three seasons (1909–1910 and 1912) but resigned due to poor health.[7] Sweetland also served as Kentucky's first athletics director.[7] The 1909 team upset the Illinois Fighting Illini. Upon their welcome home, Philip Carbusier said that they had "fought like wildcats," a nickname that stuck.[8]

Doc Rodes.

John J. Tigert coached Kentucky for two seasons (19151916) with each season having one loss. 1915 captain Charles C. Schrader was All-Southern. The 1916 team fought the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) co-champion Tennessee Volunteers to a scoreless tie. The year's only a loss, 45 to 0 to the Irby Curry-led Vanderbilt Commodores, was the dedication of Stoll Field. Quarterbacks Curry and Kentucky's Doc Rodes were both selected All-Southern at year's end. Vanderbilt coach Dan McGugin stated "If you would give me Doc Rodes, I would say he was a greater player than Curry."[9]

Coach Harry Gamage had a 32–25–5 record during his seven seasons from 1927 to 1933.[7] A.D. Kirwan, who would go on to be the president of the university, coached the Wildcats from 1938 to 1944 and posted a 24–28–4 record in those six seasons.[7]

Longtime athletics director Bernie Shively also served as Kentucky's head football coach for the 1945 season.[7]

Paul "Bear" Bryant era (1946–1953)Edit

Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant was Kentucky's head football coach for eight seasons.[10]

Bear Bryant came to Kentucky from Maryland.[11] Under Bryant's tutelage, the Wildcats won the 1947 Great Lakes Bowl, lost the 1950 Orange Bowl, won the 1951 Sugar Bowl and the 1952 Cotton Bowl Classic.[10] In final AP polls, the Wildcats were ranked No. 11 in 1949, No. 7 in 1950, No. 15 in 1951, No. 20 in 1952 and No. 16 in 1953.[10] The final 1950 poll was taken prior to the bowl games; Kentucky then defeated undefeated and No. 1 ranked Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl and finished with the number 1 ranking in 3 major polls,[10] ending the Sooners 31-game winning streak. Bryant won SEC Coach of the Year honors in 1950 and then left after eight seasons to accept the head football coach position at Texas A&M.

Assistant coaches at Kentucky under Bryant who went on to become head coaches include Paul Dietzel, Frank Moseley, Jim Owens and Phil Cutchin.[12] Notable players who played for Bryant at Kentucky include Howard Schnellenberger, Jim Mackenzie, Jerry Claiborne, Steve Meilinger, George Blanda, Vito Parilli, and Bob Gain.[13]

Blanton Collier era (1954–1961)Edit

Cleveland Browns assistant Blanton Collier was hired to replace Bryant as head football coach at Kentucky in late 1953.[14] After completing his first season at Kentucky, Collier was named SEC Coach of the Year after posting a 7–2 record.[14] Collier's assistants during his tenure at Kentucky included the likes of Bill Arnsparger, Chuck Knox, Howard Schnellenberger, and Don Shula.[15]

Despite having a winning record, 41–36–3 in eight seasons, Collier was fired.[16] Collier struggled to recruit for much of his tenure, about which frustrated fans wrote letters of complaint to the university.[17] Collier is the last Kentucky head football coach to leave the Wildcats with a winning record.

Charlie Bradshaw era (1962–1968)Edit

Charlie Bradshaw, an Alabama assistant under Bear Bryant, was hired to replace the fired Collier.[18] Despite all the hype about being a Bear Bryant assistant, Bradshaw's tenure turned out to be a disappointment, as he was unable to have much success with the Wildcats. He had a 25–41–5 record in seven seasons.[19] Bradshaw is the last Kentucky coach to defeat Tennessee twice in Knoxville, and the last Kentucky coach to defeat Auburn twice.[18] He was also the last to defeat a No. 1 ranked team in the country until Rich Brooks in 2007.[18]

Bradshaw, a harsh, brutal coach,[20] was the head coach of the infamous Thin Thirty Kentucky team. Kentucky had 88 players when Bradshaw arrived, but by season's end, only 30 players were on the team.[21] The story of that team is told in the 2007 book The Thin Thirty by Shannon Ragland.[20] Bradshaw also recruited Nate Northington, the first African American to play in an SEC athletic contest (1967).[22]

John Ray era (1969–1972)Edit

Notre Dame assistant John Ray took over as head football coach in late 1969. Ray's teams consistently had solid defenses, but struggled to produce on the offensive end.[23] Ray's teams failed to win more than three games in a single season, going a dismal 10–33 overall in Ray's four seasons.[24] Ray's contract was not renewed after the 1972 season.

Fran Curci era (1973–1981)Edit

A football signed by Kentucky head coach Fran Curci and gifted to President Gerald Ford.

Kentucky hired Fran Curci away from Miami after Ray was let go.[25] The 1976 Wildcats tallied their first winning season in 13 years and won the Peach Bowl,[26] finishing No. 18 in the final AP poll.[26] For all intents and purposes, however, Curci's tenure ended soon afterward, when the NCAA slapped the Wildcats with two years' probation for numerous recruiting and amateurism violations. They were banned from postseason play and live television in 1977. The most damaging sanction in the long term, however, was being limited to only 25 scholarships in 1977 and 1978.[27]

The 1977 Kentucky team went 10–1, went undefeated in SEC play, won a share of the SEC title and finished the season ranked No. 6 in the AP poll.[26] Due to the sanctions, however, the Wildcats were not able to go to a bowl. Kentucky finished at No. 6 and Penn State at No. 5 despite the fact that Kentucky defeated Penn State at Penn State during the regular season. Curci was unable to put together another winning team as a result of the reduced scholarships, and was fired after the 1981 season.[28]

Jerry Claiborne era (1982–1989)Edit

Coach Claiborne

Coach Jerry Claiborne returned to his alma mater from Maryland.[29] He led the Wildcats to the 1983 Hall of Fame Bowl and the 1984 Hall of Fame Bowl,[30] defeating a Wisconsin team ranked No. 20 in the polls to finish the season with a 9–3 record and a No. 19 ranking in the final AP and UPI polls.[31] Claiborne also won SEC Coach of the Year honors in 1983. The E.J. Nutter Training Facility was built in 1987. Coach Claiborne and Kentucky experienced an era of constant change at the quarterback position following the 1987 season through his departure that included Ransdell, Wright, and High School All-American and two way starter (Quarterback/Safety) Ricky Lewis, prior to landing Mr. Kentucky Football Awardee Pookie Jones of Calloway County.[32] Claiborne retired following the 1989 season[33] and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1999. He was the last coach to defeat Tennessee until Joker Phillips in 2011 and the last coach to defeat Florida until Mark Stoops in 2018.[31] His final record at Kentucky is 41–46–3.[30]

Bill Curry era (1990–1996)Edit

Bill Curry surprised the college football world by leaving Alabama for Kentucky in late 1989.[34][35] Despite the high hopes that the Kentucky football program would rise under his leadership, Curry's Wildcats teams never achieved much success.[36] The Wildcats' best season under Curry was 1993, going on to play Clemson in the 1993 New Year's Eve Peach Bowl. It would be his only winning season in seven years. On the other side of the spectrum, his 1994 team went 1-10, the worst record in modern program history.[37] Curry was asked to resign after seven seasons and just a .33 winning percentage.[38] Curry's record at Kentucky was 26–52.[31]

Hal Mumme era (1997–2000)Edit

Coach Hal Mumme came to Kentucky from Valdosta State and brought an exciting, high-scoring, pass-oriented offense known as the "Air Raid".[39] He led the Wildcats to the 1998 Outback Bowl and the 1999 Music City Bowl.[40] Mumme achieved a 20–26 record in his four seasons.[41] Mumme coached star quarterback Tim Couch, the top overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. Mumme was popular among the Kentucky fans,[42] but the program was hit with severe sanctions for NCAA violations involving cash payments from an assistant coach to prospective recruits.[41] Although Mumme himself was not implicated in any violation,[43] he resigned after the 2000 season.[41] Assistant coaches under Mumme at Kentucky included Mike Leach and Sonny Dykes.[44] Mumme is the last Kentucky coach to beat Alabama.[45]

Guy Morriss era (2001–2002)Edit

Guy Morriss was promoted from offensive line coach to head coach of the Wildcats after Mumme's resignation.[46] Under coach Morriss, the Wildcats went 2–9 in 2001[47] but improved to a 7–5 record in 2002.[48] However, the Wildcats were not eligible for postseason play in 2002 due to NCAA sanctions from Mumme's tenure.[49] The most significant event of that season came in a loss to LSU (See: Bluegrass Miracle).[50] Morriss accepted an offer to become the head football coach at Baylor after the 2002 season.[51]

Rich Brooks era (2003–2009)Edit

The team's next head coach was former Oregon head coach Rich Brooks, who was hired in December 2002.[52] He led the team out of the probationary years to an 8–5 regular season record in 2006,[53] including a memorable upset over the defending SEC champion Georgia, snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Bulldogs.[54] Brooks also led the football team to its first bowl game since 1999 and its first bowl game victory since 1984, as Kentucky defeated the Clemson University Tigers 28–20 in the Music City Bowl.[55] In 2007, the Wildcats were ranked 8th in the nation before a loss to South Carolina on October 4.[56] After the loss to South Carolina, Kentucky bounced back on October 13 to defeat No. 1 LSU in a historic triple overtime game.[57]

Brooks took Kentucky to four consecutive bowl games, winning the first three.[58] The 2007 Kentucky Wildcats football defeated the Florida State Seminoles 35–28 in the 2007 Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee, on December 31, 2007.[59] Quarterback Andre' Woodson was named the Music City Bowl MVP for the second year in a row.[60] In 2008 the Wildcats opted to go to the Liberty Bowl instead of the Music City Bowl and defeated Conference USA champion East Carolina 25–19.[61] In 2009, Brooks and Kentucky returned to the Music City Bowl, losing in a rematch to Clemson 21–13.[62] Brooks retired after seven seasons with a 39–47 overall record.[58]

Joker Phillips era (2010–2012)Edit

Former Wildcat wide receiver and longtime assistant coach Joker Phillips was formally named head coach January 6, 2010 after Brooks' retirement; he had been Brooks' designated successor since 2008.[63] Kentucky started off strong under Phillips with a win on the road against archrival Louisville.[64] The 2010 squad snapped a long-standing losing streak to South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier by defeating the Gamecocks at Kroger Field.[64] However, they dropped games to both Ole Miss and Mississippi State, lost to a Florida team on a down year and once again failed to beat its other archrival Tennessee, having lost 26 in a row to the Vols,[64] the longest losing streak by one team to another in college football. The Wildcats capped the season with a 27–10 loss to Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl.[65]

On November 26, 2011, Kentucky snapped the longest active FBS losing streak to any one team by defeating the Tennessee Vols 10–7 at Kroger Field.[66]

On November 4, 2012, the day after a 40-0 home shutout by Vanderbilt resulting with a 1–9 record, UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart released a public letter to Big Blue Nation announcing that Phillips would not return for the 2013 season, but that he would finish out the 2012 season as head coach.[67] With Joker's 5-year contract only being 3 years complete at the end of the season, the university has to pay $2.55 Million over the final 2 years of the contract.[68]

Mark Stoops era (2013–present)Edit

Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, brother of legendary former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops,[69] was hired as Kentucky's head football coach in late 2012.[70] One of Stoops' first moves was hiring offensive coordinator Neal Brown, who brought back the "Air Raid" offense.[71] After nine months as the head coach of the Wildcats, Stoops and his staff signed the highest ranked recruiting class in program history.[72]

Stoops's first season at Kentucky was a struggle, as the Wildcats duplicated the 2–10 record from 2012.[73] Kentucky's wins in 2013 were over a winless Miami (OH) and FCS opponent Alabama State.[74][73] In Stoops's second season, the Wildcats broke a 17-game SEC losing streak when they beat Vanderbilt the fourth game into the season.[75] The Wildcats finished the 2014 season with a 5–7 record.[76] After the season, offensive coordinator Neal Brown left to take the head coaching job at Troy.[77] In 2015, Stoops's third season, the Wildcats duplicated their 5–7 record from 2014. They lost to Florida,[78] Auburn,[79] Mississippi State,[80] Tennessee,[81] Georgia,[82] Vanderbilt,[83] and Louisville,[84] and they defeated Louisiana-Lafayette,[85] South Carolina,[86] Missouri,[87] Eastern Kentucky[88] and Charlotte.[89]

On December 18, 2015, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who was hired to replace Neal Brown, announced he would not return to the program for the 2016 season as the offensive coordinator, a result of the team's struggles over the previous few years.[90][91] In his place Kentucky hired Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran as the assistant head coach of offense at Kentucky. Cincinnati quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw has also joined the UK staff as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator.[92][93] Kentucky began the 2016 season with a loss to Southern Miss by a score of 44–35, after blowing a 25-point lead.[94] Ironically, Shannon Dawson, who was fired by Kentucky as offensive coordinator just months earlier, had been hired to serve as Southern Miss' offensive coordinator.[95] Kentucky would finish 7–6 (4–4 SEC) on the season, which included snapping a five-game losing streak to archrival Louisville by a score of 41–38,[96] with a berth in the TaxSlayer Bowl, their first bowl berth since 2010, a game they lost to Georgia Tech by a score of 33–18.[97]

In the 2017 season, the Wildcats opened the season with a victory over Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg 24–17. The next week, the Wildcats defeated the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in their home opener at the newly renamed Kroger Field in Lexington. Following a road victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks, they failed to defeat the Florida Gators, who they have not defeated since 1986. This extended the longest losing streak in SEC history to 31 years. Responding to the criticized loss to Florida, the Wildcats defeated Eastern Michigan and Missouri at Kroger Field, improving their record to 5–1.

Following their bye week, the Kentucky Wildcats fell to ranked Mississippi State team in Starkville, Mississippi by a score of 45–7. However, the Wildcats improved to 6–2 by defeating the Tennessee Volunteers by a score of 29–26 at Kroger Field in Lexington, KY. The victory over Tennessee was Kentucky's second victory since 1984 over the Volunteers, and secured Kentucky in postseason eligibility. This was followed by a loss to Ole Miss at home 37–34 on November 4 and a dominating road win over unranked Vanderbilt on November 11, 44–21. The Wildcats then lost to Georgia 42–13 in Athens, Georgia on November 18, 2017. In their last regular season game against Louisville on November 25, Kentucky was beaten at home 44–17. Kentucky then proceeded to play Northwestern in Nashville, Tennessee in the Music City Bowl on December 29, and the Kentucky Wildcats lost 24–23.

In 2018, After beating Central Michigan, Kentucky went to Gainesville to face the Florida Gators, who had won 31 straight against Kentucky, and ended their losing streak with a 27–16 win at the Swamp. It was the Wildcats first win in Gainesville since 1979. They added wins in the next two weeks over Murray State and No. 14 Mississippi State, the second of which put Kentucky into the Top 25. It was the Wildcats first time being ranked since 2007. They then split the next two games defeating South Carolina for the 5th straight season before losing for the first time, an overtime loss to Texas A&M on the road. After the bye week Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt at home then beat Missouri on the road thanks to a last second TD pass. Those wins put the Wildcats at 7–1 and #9 in the College Football Playoff Rankings leading in to a home game against the Georgia Bulldogs. In a matchup that would determine the SEC East Division champion, the Wildcats were defeated at home 34–17 by the Georgia Bulldogs. Kentucky would then go on the road at Tennessee, falling to the Volunteers by a score of 24–7, ending their final SEC record at 5–3. The first winning season in conference play since 1977. On Kentucky's final home game of the season, senior day, the Wildcats woulds go on to defeat Middle Tennessee State by a score of 34–23. Kentucky closed the Regular Season with a rout of the Louisville Cardinals 56–10 to win back the Governor's Cup.


National championshipsEdit

The NCAA has never officially recognized a national champion from among the bowl coalition institutions, but in 2004 the NCAA commissioned Jeff Sagarin to use his computer model to retroactively determine the highest ranked teams for the years prior to the BCS. His champion for the 1950 season is Kentucky.[98] The polls for the 1950 national champion, taken before the bowl games were played, list either Oklahoma (AP, Berryman, Helms, Litkenhous, UPI, Williamson), Princeton (Boand, Poling), or Tennessee (Billingsley, DeVold, Dunkel, Missouri, Don Faurot Football Research, National Championship Foundation, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)). Tennessee was the winner of the Cotton Bowl and the only team to beat Kentucky during the 1950 season. Oklahoma was named National Champion by AP and UPI Coaches' Poll, both which awarded their titles before the bowl games. Kentucky would go on to beat Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.[99]

Season Coach Selectors Record Bowl Opponent Result
1950 Bear Bryant Sagarin Ratings 11–1 Sugar Bowl Oklahoma W 17–7

Conference championshipsEdit

Kentucky has won two conference championships, both in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky also finished the 1977 season with a 10–1 (6–0 SEC) record, but were not eligible for a share of the SEC championship or for postseason play due to NCAA probation.

Season Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
1950 SEC Paul "Bear" Bryant 11–1 5–1
1976 Fran Curci 9–3 5–1

† Co-champions

‡ Mississippi State forfeited their 1976 win over Kentucky, giving Kentucky an official 5–1 conference record and a share of the SEC title with Georgia.

Bowl gamesEdit

UK has played in 17 bowl games, compiling a record of 8–9. Note that in the table below, the year references the season, and not the actual date the game was played.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1947 Bear Bryant Great Lakes Bowl Villanova W 24–14
1949 Orange Bowl Santa Clara L 13–21
1950 Sugar Bowl Oklahoma W 13–7
1951 Cotton Bowl Classic TCU W 20–7
1976 Fran Curci Peach Bowl North Carolina W 21–0
1983 Jerry Claiborne Hall of Fame Classic West Virginia L 16–20
1984 Hall of Fame Classic Wisconsin W 20–19
1993 Bill Curry Peach Bowl Clemson L 13–14
1998 Hal Mumme Outback Bowl Penn State L 14–26
1999 Music City Bowl Syracuse L 13–20
2006 Rich Brooks Music City Bowl Clemson W 28–20
2007 Music City Bowl Florida State W 35–28
2008 Liberty Bowl East Carolina W 25–19
2009 Music City Bowl Clemson L 13–21
2010 Joker Phillips BBVA Compass Bowl Pittsburgh L 10–27
2016 Mark Stoops TaxSlayer Bowl Georgia Tech L 18–33
2017 Music City Bowl Northwestern L 23–24
2018 Citrus Bowl Penn State  



First played in 1912, Louisville-Kentucky football series was revived in 1994 after the success of the basketball series that restarted in 1983. They played the first four games of the renewed series at Commonwealth Stadium (now Kroger Field) until Papa John's Cardinal Stadium (PJCS) was completed in 1997, at which time they began rotating the series between Louisville, Kentucky and Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky leads the series 16-15, but trails the modern series 15-10. Kentucky played Louisville in the Cardinals' first 4 seasons and twice in the 1920s, holding the Cardinals scoreless in all contests. Kentucky then left the SIAA in 1922 to become a charter member of the Southeastern Conference and limited its play of in-state schools. It would be 70 years before these two in-state rivals faced each other again.

In 2013, it was announced that the game would be moved to the final game of the season following Louisville's 2014 move to the ACC. This scheduling change fits with other end-of-year SEC vs. ACC rivalry games, such as Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Florida vs. Florida State and South Carolina vs. Clemson.

In 2018, Kentucky beat Louisville 56-10, winning by the largest margin since the rivalry restarted in 1994. The largest ever win in the rivalry was also by Kentucky which they won 73-0 in 1922, before the series went dormant.

Kentucky leads the series 16–15 as of the conclusion of the 2018 season.[100]


Like many college football rivalries, the Tennessee-Kentucky game had its own trophy for many years: a wooden beer barrel painted half blue and half orange. The trophy was awarded to the winner of the game every year from 1925 to 1997. The Barrel was introduced in 1925 by a group of former Kentucky students who wanted to create a material sign of supremacy for the rivalry. It was rolled onto the field that year with the words "Ice Water" painted on it to avoid any outcries over a beer keg symbolizing a college rivalry. The barrel exchange was retired in 1998 after two Kentucky football players died in an alcohol-related crash.

Tennessee leads the series 80–25–9 as of the conclusion of the 2018 season.[101]


More known for its basketball rivalry, the Indiana-Kentucky series was played annually from 1987 until 2005 in what was known as the "Battle for the Bourbon Barrel" game. The series rotated between Bloomington, Indiana and Lexington, Kentucky and the two teams played for a trophy called the "Bourbon Barrel" from 1987 until both schools mutually agreed to retire the trophy in 1999 following the alcohol-related death of two Kentucky football players.[102] Indiana leads the series (18–17–1) as of the conclusion of the 2017 season.[103]


Having started in 1896, the Kentucky-Vanderbilt football series has been played annually since 1953.[104] The two are divisional opponents in the SEC East. The series rotates between Nashville, Tennessee and Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky leads the series 45–42–4 through the conclusion of the 2018 season.[105]

Mississippi StateEdit

The Mississippi State-Kentucky series became a rivalry when the SEC assigned cross-divisional opponents. The Bulldogs (of the SEC West) and Wildcats (of the SEC East) were assigned to each other. They play every year which rotates between Lexington, Kentucky and Starkville, Mississippi. Mississippi State has won 8 of their last 10 vs. Kentucky. The series is tied 23–23 through the conclusion of the 2018 season.[106]

All-time record vs. current SEC schoolsEdit

Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage Streak First Last
Alabama 2 37 1 .063 Lost 6 1917 2016
Arkansas 4 3 0 .571 Lost 1 1998 2012
Auburn 6 26 1 .197 Lost 2 1934 2015
Florida 18 51 0 .261 Won 1 1917 2018
Georgia 12 58 2 .181 Lost 9 1939 2018
LSU 16 40 1 .289 Lost 2 1949 2014
Mississippi State 23 23 0 .500 Won 1 1914 2018
Missouri 6 3 0 .667 Won 4 1965 2018
Mississippi 14 28 1 .337 Lost 1 1944 2017
South Carolina 12 17 1 .417 Won 5 1937 2018
Tennessee 25 80 9 .259 Lost 1 1893 2018
Texas A&M 1 2 0 .333 Lost 2 1952 2018
Vanderbilt 45 42 4 .516 Won 3 1896 2018
Totals 183 409 20 .315

Individual Awards and HonorsEdit


Player Position Year Unanimous Consensus Selectors
Clyde Johnson T 1942 No No AP
Bob Gain T 1949 No No All-Players, NY Sun, NEA
Bob Gain T 1950 Yes Yes AP, UPI, INS, Camp, NEA, CP, FWAA-Look, AAB, FD, NYNews
Babe Parilli QB 1950 Yes Yes AP, INS, Camp, Colliers, NY News, Sporting News, AA
Babe Parilli QB 1951 Yes Yes UP, INS, Camp, NEA, CP, AAB, NY News, All-Player
Doug Moseley C 1951 No No AP, FWAA-Look
Steve Meilinger DE 1952 No No AP, NEA, All-Player
Steve Meilinger DE 1953 No No NEA, Colliers, AAB
Ray Correll DG 1953 No No FWAA-Look, Chicago Tribun
Howard Schnellenberger DE 1955 No Yes AP
Lou Michaels OT 1956 No Yes UPI, NA, Camp, Colliers,NY News
Lou Michaels OT 1957 No Yes AP, NEA, Camp, FWAA-Look, Coaches, NY News, Sporting News
Irv Goode C 1961 No No Time
Herschel Turner T 1963 No No Time
Sam Ball T 1965 No Yes UPI, NEA, Camp, FWAA-Look, Coaches, Time, Sporting New
Rodger Bird HB 1965 No No Time, NBC
Rick Norton QB 1965 No No Time, NBC
Elmore Stephens TE 1974 No No Time
Rick Nuzum C 1974 No No NEA
Warrant Bryant T 1976 No No Camp, Coaches
Art Still DE 1977 No Yes AP, UPI, NEA, Coaches, FWAA, Camp, Sporting News, Football News
Mike Pfeifer T 1989 No No Football News, Mizlou
Tim Couch QB 1998 No No Camp, FWAA, AAF
James Whalen TE 1999 No Yes AP, Camp, FWAA, AAFF, CNN/SI, CBS SportsLine
Derek Abney KR 2002 Yes Yes AP, FWAA, Camp, Sporting News, ESPN, CBS SportsLine, CNN/SI, College Football News
Glenn Pakulak P 2002 No No CBS SportsLine
Randall Cobb WR 2010 No No AP
Josh Allen LB 2018 Yes yes AP, WCFF, SI, CFN, ESPN, CBS Sports, Sporting News
Bunchy Stallings OG 2018 Yes No AP

First Team All-SECEdit

Year Player Position
1983 Duece Howerton Running Back
1993 Marty Moore Linebacker
1994 Melvin Johnson Free Safety
1995 Moe Williams Half Back
1997 John Schlarman Offensive Guard
1998 Kris Comstock Offensive Guard
1998 Tim Couch Quarterback
1998 Craig Yeast Wide Receiver
1999 Andy Smith Punter
1999 Jeff Snedegar Linebacker
1999 James Whalen Tight End
2000 Derek Smith Tight End
2000 Omar Smith Offensive Tackle
2001 Derek Abney Kick Returner
2001 Dennis Johnson Defensive End
2001 Glenn Pakulak Punter
2002 Derek Abney Kick Returner
2002 Antonio Hall Offensive Tackle
2002 Glenn Pakulak Punter
2002 Artose Pinner Running Back
2003 Derek Abney Kick Returner
2003 Antonio Hall Offensive Tackle
2005 Rafael Little All-Purpose
2006 Keenan Burton All-Purpose
2006 Jacob Tamme Tight End
2006 Wesley Woodyard Linebacker
2007 Jacob Tamme Tight End
2007 Wesley Woodyard Linebacker
2008 Micah Johnson Linebacker
2008 Trevard Lindley Defensive Back
2008 Tim Masthay Punter
2009 Randall Cobb All-Purpose
2010 Randall Cobb All-Purpose
2010 Danny Trevathan Linebacker
2011 Danny Trevathan Linebacker
2014 Alvin Dupree Defensive End
2014 Landon Foster Punter
2016 Jon Toth Center
2017 Benny Snell Jr. Running Back
2018 Josh Allen Linebacker
2018 Benny Snell Jr. Running Back
2018 Bunchy Stallings Offensive Guard

SEC Player of the YearEdit

Year Player Position
1950 Babe Parilli Quarterback
1957 Lou Michaels Tackle
1973 Sonny Collins Running Back
1998 Tim Couch Quarterback

SEC Offensive Player of the YearEdit

Year Player Position
2002 Artose Pinner Running Back

SEC Defensive Player of the YearEdit

Year Player Position
2018 Josh Allen Linebacker

SEC Coach of the YearEdit

Year Player
2018 Mark Stoops

SEC Freshman of the YearEdit

Year Player Position
1996 Derick Logan Running Back

Bednarik AwardEdit

Year Player Position
2018 Josh Allen Linebacker

Nagurski AwardEdit

Year Player Position
2018 Josh Allen Linebacker

Outland TrophyEdit

Year Player Position
1950 Bob Gain Defensive Tackle

Wuerffel TrophyEdit

Year Player Position
2017 Courtney Love Linebacker

Retired numbersEdit

Current players in the National Football LeagueEdit

The following is a list of Kentucky players in the NFL.

Pos. Name Height Weight Hometown Draft Year Round Overall Current NFL Team
WR Randall Cobb 5'11" 190 lbs. Alcoa, TN 2011 2 64th Green Bay
LB Bud Dupree 6'4" 270 lbs. Irwinton, GA 2015 1 22nd Pittsburgh
DT Corey Peters 6'3" 295 lbs. Louisville, KY 2010 3 83rd Arizona
DE Za'Darius Smith 6'6" 265 lbs. Greenville, AL 2015 4 122nd Baltimore
LB Danny Trevathan 6'1" 235 lbs. Leesburg, FL 2012 6 188th Chicago
OG Larry Warford 6'3" 332 lbs. Richmond, KY 2013 3 65th New Orleans
LB Avery Williamson 6'1" 238 lbs. Milan, TN 2014 5 151st New York Jets
LB Wesley Woodyard 6'1" 230 lbs. LaGrange, GA 2008 UD Tennessee

Hall of FamersEdit


Two Kentucky players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Inductee Position Class Team and Career
George Blanda Quarterback
1981 Chicago Bears, 1949, 1950–58
Baltimore Colts, 1950
Houston Oilers, 1960–66
Oakland Raiders, 1967–75
Dermontti Dawson Center 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1988–2000


Seven Kentucky Wildcat individuals have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Inductee Position Class Career
Art Still Defensive End 2015 1974–1977
Paul "Bear" Bryant Head Coach 1986 1946–53
Jerry Claiborne Head Coach 1999 1982–89
Bob Gain Guard
1980 1947–1950
Steve Meilinger Defensive Line 2013 1951–53
Lou Michaels Tackle 1992 1955–57
Babe Parilli Quarterback 1982 1949–51

Current coaching staffEdit

Name Position
Mark Stoops Head Coach
Eddie Gran Offensive Coordinator/Associate Head Coach, RB Coach
Matt House Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
Vince Marrow Tight Ends Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Steve Clinkscale Secondary Coach
Michael Smith Wide Receivers Coach
Darin Hinshaw Co-Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach
John Schlarman Offensive Line Coach
Derrick LeBlanc Defensive Line Coach
Dean Hood LB Coach/Special Teams Coordinator

Future opponents and schedulesEdit

2019 ScheduleEdit

August 31Toledo*
September 7Eastern Michigan*
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY
September 14Florida
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY
September 21at Mississippi State
September 28at South Carolina
October 12Arkansas
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY
October 19at Georgia
October 26Missouri
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY
November 9Tennessee
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY (rivalry)
November 16at Vanderbilt
November 23UT Martin*
  • Kroger Field
  • Lexington, KY
November 30Louisville*
  • *Non-conference game
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Eastern time

Conference and non-conference opponentsEdit

SEC West opponentsEdit

Kentucky plays Mississippi State as a permanent non-division opponent annually and rotates around the West division among the other six schools.[107]

Year Alabama Auburn Arkansas LSU Mississippi State Mississippi Texas A&M

Non-conference opponentsEdit

Announced schedules as of May 23, 2018[108]

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
8/31 – Toledo 9/5 – Eastern Michigan 9/4 – Louisiana-Monroe 9/3 – Miami (OH) 9/2 – Ball State
9/7 – Eastern Michigan 9/19 – Kent State 9/18 – Akron 9/17 – Youngstown State 9/9 – Eastern Kentucky
11/23 – UT Martin 10/10 – Eastern Illinois 11/20 – Chattanooga 9/24 – Northern Illinois 9/16 – at Akron
11/30 – Louisville 11/28 – at Louisville 11/27 – Louisville 11/26 – at Louisville 11/25 – Louisville


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External linksEdit