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Kentucky Football stuns Louisville: Highlights and recap

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Austin MacGinnis nailed a 47-yard field goal with 12 seconds left to defeat the Cardinals.

Chet White (UK Athletics)

Kentucky started their season with back-to-back loses to Southern Mississippi and Florida by a margin of 23.5 points.

With head coach Mark Stoops on the hot seat, his Wildcats won seven of their 10 remaining games by a margin of 12.7 points and reached bowl eligibility. Their last win for the regular season came against 11th ranked Louisville as Austin MacGinnis sent a bullet through the uprights to ice the game.

At 7-5, Kentucky has recorded their first winning record in seven years and will look for a trip to the bowl season. Thanks to this win, the Music City Bowl in Nashville (TN).

With Heisman front-runner Lamar Jackson in Louisville’s backfield, the Kentucky defense went into Papa John’s stadium knowing they’d have their hands full. Though he’d led the team all season with clutch deep throws and mobility out of the pocket, the defense probably didn't count on their quarterback Stephen Johnson to outgun Jackson.

Johnson completed 16-27 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Averaging over 21 yards per completion, Johnson’s three touchdown passes came from 75, 63 and 35 yards. He also led the team in rushing with eight carries for 83 yards.

Jackson completed 16-25 passes for 281 yards and two touchdown passes but threw three interceptions in the loss. Jackson did most of his work on the ground with 25 carries for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cardinals game out of the gate with an 84-yard touchdown drive capped off by Jackson running for a 19-yard TD. However Kentucky answered with their first play from scrimmage as Stephen Johnson connected with Garrett Johnson for a 75-yard touchdown.

Tied at seven, Stanley “Boom” Williams took the lead for the Wildcats with a 36-yard touchdown run. Boom had 14 carries for 63 yards.

Louisville would score a tie the game at 14 on the next drive and added a field goal followed by a touchdown to score 17 unanswered points to take a 24-14 lead. With under a minute remaining, Stephen Johnson connected with Garrett Johnson once more for a 63-yard touchdown pass to leave the score at 24-21 U of L at halftime. Garrett Johnson grabbed five balls for 164 yards.

With the intensity rocking, Kentucky came out of halftime with a 9-play 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 28-24 lead. Benjamin Snell Jr. exploded in the red zone for an 18-yard touchdown. Snell carried the ball just 11 times but gained 51 productive yards.

Louisville answered with a touchdown of their own to take a 3-point lead but immediately were tied at 31 as MacGinnis hit a 35-yard FG.

Following a Lamar Jackson interception, Stephen Johnson picked apart the Cardinals’ secondary to go 60 yards and score a touchdown. The score came from Johnson’s connection with Dorian Baker for 35 yards on a ridiculous grab:

Leading 38-31, Jackson threw his second straight interception. However Kentucky was forced to punt and couldn't capitalize off the turnover. The Cards would drive the ball 55 yards for a touchdown to tie the game on the next drive, tying the game at 38.

If you thought this had been a roller coaster, you’re in for the grand finale.

Following the Cardinal TD, the Wildcats reached field goal range only to cough up the ball on a Benny Snell fumble.

Louisville would then take the ball all the way to the Kentucky 10-yard line to have Jackson fumble the ball right back to Kentucky.

The Wildcats, led by Johnson, moved the ball to the Louisville 29-yard line and milked the clock all the way down to just 12 seconds remaining. Facing a fourth down and three, Stoops brought out Macginnis to attempt a potential game winning FG.

From 47 yards away, Macginnis put the nail in the coffin. Kentucky lead: 41-38.

Jackson then was forced to heave the ball downfield and was intercepted by Mike Edwards to ice the game.

The win gave Kentucky their first winning record in seven years, a possible trip to the Music City Bowl and snapped the 5-game losing streak to the Cardinals.