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Kentucky Wildcats are Bowl Eligible: Highlights, Postgame Notes and Milestones

Mark Stoops has brought UK back to the level Rich Brooks helped this program reach.

The Kentucky Wildcats going back-to-back in the bowl season.

After a comeback win over the Vols, UK has secured its sixth victory and postseason eligibility for the second-straight year. It’s an accomplishment not see in Lexington since Rich Brooks took the Cats to four-straight bowls from 2006-2009.

But the fifth one in 2010, led by Joker Phillips, was the last time Uk reached the postseason. After Phillips left the programs in ruins, Stoops has slowly brought UK back to being a postseason team on a regular season.

No one would have guessed that during UK’s putrid 2-3 start in 2016, which includes three losses by an average of 25 points. But since then, UK has reeled off 11 wins in 15 games, including a 6-4 mark in SEC play. That’s a far cry from the six SEC wins UK had from 2011-15.

Needless to say, Stoops has taken this program to a level far and away better than it was before he got here. He’s far from a perfect coach, but he’s just what UK needed to rise from the cellar and back to being a winning program.

Enjoy the highlights!

Here are the postgame notes and milestones, courtesy of UK Athletics:

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is 6-2 overall, 3-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Tennessee is 3-5, 0-5 in the league.
  • Tennessee leads the all-time series in games played 79-25-9, including a 37-15-3 mark in games played in Lexington. Tonight’swin snapped a five-game winning streak for Tennessee in the series.
  • The Wildcats will return to action on Nov. 4 against Ole Miss at Kroger Field. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET and will be televised on the SEC Network.

Team Notes

  • The win moved Kentucky to a 13-5 record over the last 18 regular-season games.
  • This marks the first time UK has accomplished this feat since Nov. 20, 1976 to Oct. 21, 1978. UK was 13-4-1 during that stretch.
  • Kentucky has reached its sixth win of the season on Oct. 28, which is the fourth earliest that UK has reached six wins in program history.
  • This is the earliest UK has accomplished this feat since Oct. 13, 2007.
  • UK has won nine of its last 11 home games.
  • This is the best stretch since Sept. 30, 2006 to Oct. 20, 2007.
  • UK has won six of its last 10 SEC games.
  • This is the best stretch since Oct. 28, 2006 to Nov. 10, 2007.
  • Kentucky has scored in 21 straight quarters at Kroger Field.
  • Kentucky has had a 100-yard rusher in each of its last five home games against Tennessee.
  • UK scored 21 points in the first half, which was the most points scored in the first half against Tennessee since scoring 21 in 2009.
  • Kentucky is 3-2 in SEC play in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1976/1977.
  • The Wildcats are 8-2 in games decided by seven points or less over the last two seasons.
  • Kentucky’s 289 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns are season highs.
  • UK averaged 8.0 yards per rush in the game.
  • This was Kentucky’s most rushing yards in a SEC home game since Nov. 13, 2010 vs. Vanderbilt. UK had 341 rushing yards that game.
  • UK has at least 289 rushing yards in a game in consecutive seasons against an SEC opponent for the first time since 2009/2010 against Vanderbilt.
  • Dating back to at least 1985, the game-winning touchdown with :33 left is the latest game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter against an SEC opponent.
  • The late TD marks the first time UK has scored a game-winning touchdown in the final minute of a game since Sept. 5, 2015 against Louisiana-Lafayette.
  • Kentucky’s 29 points scored was its most in a win against Tennessee since the first-ever meeting in 1893. UK scored 56 points that game.
  • Kentucky had four turnovers tonight. The last time UK had at least four turnovers and still won was in 2008 vs. Arkansas when the Wildcats won despite four miscues.
  • The last time UK lost with a turnover margin of -4 or worse was 1998 vs. Indiana.

Player Notes

  • UK’s game captains were OG Nick Haynes, QB Stephen Johnson, LB Courtney Love and S Mike Edwards. They have been game captains every game this season.
  • Senior quarterback Stephen Johnson completed six passes for 46 yards, while he rushed six times for 84 yards and a touchdown.
  • Johnson’s touchdown rush with :33 left in the game was the game-winner.
  • Johnson had 84 rushing yards, which is the most by a UK quarterback in an SEC game since Matt Roark against Tennessee in 2011. Roark had 124 that day against the Vols.
  • Sophomore running back Benny Snell was impressive in the win, rushing a game-high 27 times for 180 yards and three touchdowns.
  • It is his second-most single-game yardage of his career, behind the 192 yards at Missouri last season.
  • It is his fourth 100-yard game of the season and ninth of his career.
  • Snell is the first player in school history with nine career 100-yard rushing games prior to their junior season.
  • He has nine rushing TDs this season and 22 in his career.
  • Snell is the ninth player in school history to reach 20 career rushing touchdowns.
  • Snell is the first player in school history to reach 20 career rushing touchdowns prior to his junior season.
  • Snell is the first UK player with three rushing touchdowns in the first half of a SEC game since Artose Pinner against Vanderbilt on Nov. 16, 2002.
  • Snell is the first UK player with three rushing touchdowns against Tennessee since Moe Williams on Nov. 18, 1995.
  • Snell’s rushing total is the most a UK player has ever had against Tennessee.
  • Snell’s rushing total is the sixth most by a UK player in an SEC game at Kroger Field.
  • Snell is the first UK player with 180 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in an SEC game since Rafael Little vs. Vanderbilt on Nov. 12, 2005.
  • Snell now has 1,812 rushing yards for his career, which moves him into ninth place on UK’s career rushing list.
  • Senior wide receiver Garrett Johnson caught one pass in the game and has caught at least one pass in 19 consecutive games.
  • Senior wide receiver Blake Bone caught two passes for 26 yards.
  • Junior safety Mike Edwards recorded 10 tackles, one sack and 1.5 tackles for loss in the game.
  • Edwards has recorded 10 or more tackles in four of his last five games.
  • Junior linebacker Jordan Jones led all players with 13 tackles in the game, adding one sack and two tackles for loss.
  • Jones’ 13 tackles are a season high and the most in his career in a SEC game.
  • Jones has recorded 10 or more tackles in five career games.
  • Junior linebacker Josh Allen recorded seven tackles, one tackle for loss and 0.5 sacks in the game.
  • Allen has at least a half-sack in six of UK’s eight games this season.
  • Allen has had a TFL in every game this season.
  • Allen is the first UK player with at least seven sacks in consecutive seasons since Bud Dupree in 2013/2014.
  • Allen is the first UK player with seven sacks through the team’s first eight games of the season since Dennis Johnson had 7.5 in 2001.
  • Senior defensive end Denzil Ware recorded nine tackles with one sack and two tackles for loss in the game.
  • Ware has recorded a sack in four games this season.
  • Senior kicker Austin MacGinnis had three PATs in the game, which takes his career total of PATs made to 129. That ranks him second all-time at UK. He needs 29 more to tie Lones Seiber for the most all time at 158. He improved his UK career scoring record to 318 total points.