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Modern History of the Governor's Cup: By the numbers

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You might not be aware of this, but on Saturday Kentucky will play Louisville in football.  It's the 18th meeting between the two schools since the rivalry was renewed in 1994.  Louisville holds a 9-8 edge in that time, but Kentucky of course has won the last 4 games in the series and will look to even that record tomorrow evening.

I thought it would be fun to go back through the last 17 games* and look at how the two teams have fared against each other in some of the more important statistical categories during that time.  Using old box scores from The USA Today archives, ESPN, and Yahoo I put together a few visual comparisons of how the two teams have performed.

*Actually it's only the last 16 games since the box score for the 1994 game doesn't seem to exist on the internet - something I found to be rather surprising.  I mean, what is this, the dark ages?

First off, here are the best and worst single game performances for each school for points scored, rushing yards, passing yards, interceptions, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, touchdowns, field goals, penalties and penalty yards. 
  • The vertical axis indicates the year of the game when the high or low mark was achieved.  The year is colored to indicate which school won.
  • the top performances are in the top of the graph while the worst performances are in the bottom (turnovers and field goals have been omitted in the bottom due to too many games with 0 in each category)
  • The color of the box indicates the school: blue and white for UK, red and black for UL.
  • The number in the box indicates the value for the category in question.

So for example, UK's highest scoring output came in 1998 when they scored 68 points. 


  • Most of UK's best performances (or worst in the case of penalties) came in that 1998 game.  Not surprising given the number of points scored.
  • By contrast, UL's best marks are more spread out.  That 1998 game sure was a barn burner though with both schools setting their best modern passing marks.
  • Did UK really rush for negative 10 yards in 1999?  I sure didn't remember that.

Next is a graph showing which school "won" (had the best total) each category each year.  A red box indicates Louisville outperformed UK that year, while a blue box shows the opposite.  A white box indicates the two schools tied.


  • The first thing that jumped out at me is the almost inverse relationship between the winner of the game and the "winner" of the penalties.  The winner of the game has been the least penalized team only 5 times and the winner has had the fewest penalty yards only 3 times.
  • UK has been better than UL at winning the turnover battle.
  • That 2003 game was really odd, with UK winning almost every category except the one that matters most.