Every media outlet across the country is handing out their midseason college football awards. And the Kentucky Wildcats football team has been getting tons of praise.
This time it’s Mark Stoops’ turn. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman dished out his midseason awards, in which he named Mark Stoops the Midseason Coach of the Year.
The Cats currently sit at 5-1 overall with a 3-1 record in the SEC. And they are ranked #14 in the country by the AP Poll. Well, people are finally starting to take notice of the job Stoops has done.
Feldman started his awards with this to say about Coach Stoops:
He’s made UK football respectable the past few years, and this season the ’Cats have mauled some solid SEC opponents. They won at Florida for the first time since 1979 by running it down the Gators’ throats. They also whipped Mississippi State by three touchdowns and beat South Carolina by two touchdowns. Their only blemish is an overtime loss at Texas A&M.
This isn’t the first time Stoops has gotten Coach of the Year buzz. Recently, ESPN college football analyst David Pollack gave Stoops his midseason “Best Coach ‘Em Up Performance” while on ESPN’s College Football Live show.
When Stoops took over back in 2013, it looked like Kentucky football was perennially cursed. There was no light at the end of the tunnel after constantly falling short of even a respectable football team. Kentucky was forever labeled the “basketball school.”
Finally, Stoops has changed the landscape of Kentucky football. And Stoops, Benny Snell, Josh Allen, and Co. are taking college football by storm.
Feldman’s praise didn’t end at Stoops, though. He named Josh Allen the Midseason Top Linebacker in the country. The staff at The Athletic also gave Allen First Team All-American honors.
An overlooked two-star recruit who nearly ended up at Monmouth, an FCS school, Allen leads a Kentucky defense that ranks 13th in the FBS in yards per play allowed. He has an SEC-best 10.5 tackles for loss, with six sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles. According to Sports Info Solutions, he ranks third nationally with 34 total quarterback pressures.
Allen was the lone Wildcat to garner First Team All-American honors, but a few other Cats received some recognition. Running back Benny Snell, offensive guard Bunchy Stallings, and safety Darius West were all named to the Second Team All-America.
There has been no shortage of love for UK in the first half of the season.
Hopefully, the second half continues in the same direction and the Cats finish strong.