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Notes from Kentucky’s 37-13 Win vs. Miami (Ohio)

Kentucky football
UK Athletics

Team Records and Series Information

  • This was the season opener for both teams, as Kentucky football began its 132nd season.
    • UK is now 90-37-5 in all-time season openers, including 7-3 under Mark Stoops.
    • The Wildcats have won 12 of their past 16 season openers, including five of the last six.
    • The Wildcats have won the last four times they opened the season at home (2018, 2019, 2021, 2022) most since the Wildcats opened at home and won them all from 1987-1994.
    • UK has scored 35 points in the last eight seasons in which they opened the season at home (2007, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022), a school record.
  • Kentucky leads the all-time series with Miami (Ohio) 9-4-1 and has won four in a row.
    • Stoops is 2-0 against Miami (Ohio) at Kentucky.
  • Tonight’s attendance of 61,139 is the most for a season opener since the 2015 opening of the renovated stadium.
  • Next up, the Wildcats will have their Southeastern Conference opener Saturday, Sept. 10, as Kentucky travels to Gainesville, Florida, to sqaure off with Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The game time is set for 7 p.m. ET and it will be televised on ESPN.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky has won 17 straight nonconference games since 2018, the longest active streak in the nation.
    • UK is 23-3 in the last 25 nonconference games dating to 2016.
    • UK has won 11 straight nonconference games at Kroger Field.
  • Under defensive coordinator Brad White, the UK defense has held its opponents to 30 or fewer points in 32 of the last 38 games
  • Although 303 yards total offense isn’t a huge total, the Wildcats did average 6.1 yards per play.  It’s worth noting that one offensive possession was “missed” because of the kickoff return touchdown and a TD drive needed only two plays after the fumble return to the eight-yard line.
  • UK held Miami to 290 yards total offense, holding the opponent to less than 300 yards in consecutive season openers since doing it three years in a row from 2007-09.
  • Kentucky had a sparking game on special teams with a kickoff return for a touchdown, a 23-yard punt return that set up a field goal, a blocked punt that set up a field goal, making all three field goals and all seven kickoffs were touchdown.
  • UK’s 17 points in the third quarter was the most in that period since scoring 17 in the third quarter of the 2019 VRBO Citrus Bowl win over Penn State.

Coach Mark Stoops 

  • In 2022, Mark Stoops began his 10th season as Kentucky’s head coach, surpassing Fran Curci (nine seasons from 1973-81) for the most seasons as the UK head coach.
  • In tonight’s win against Miami (Ohio), Stoops recorded his 60th triumph at the helm of the program.
    • He is tied with former head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant as the all-time winningest head coach at Kentucky.  Bryant went 60-23-5 from 1946-53.
  • Stoops’ added to his school-record total for home victories, now has 42.

 Player Notes

  • Senior quarterback Will Levis completed 21 of 32 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns.
    • It is his fourth 300-yard game as a Wildcat and his fifth game with at least three TD tosses.
    • Levis became the 15th UK quarterback to throw for at least 3,000 yards as a Wildcat, now with 3,130.
    • He is the second quarterback in UK history with 300-yard passing games in consecutive season openers, also TIm Couch in 1997 and ‘98.
  • Senior wide receiver Tayvion Robinson caught a career-high-tying six passes for a career-high 136 yards.
    • It is the most receiving yards for any Wildcat in his first game at UK. The previous record was Wan’Dale Robinson’s 125 yards in the 2021 season opener.
    • It is tied for the third-most in a season opener by a Wildcat.
    • He eclipsed 100 receiving yards in the first half of his Kentucky debut (five catches for 123).
    • It marked his first 100-yard game in his college career. Playing the previous three seasons at Virginia Tech, his previous career bests were six catches for 98 yards.
  • Senior tight end Brenden Bates hauled in his second-career touchdown on a six-yard reception in the first quarter, his only reception of the game.
  • Freshman wide receiver Barion Brown scored his first career touchdown on a 100-yard kickoff return out of halftime.
    • He became the first UK player to score on a kickoff return and a 100-yard kickoff return since Derrick Locke did so against Louisville on Sept. 19, 2009.
    • It is the 19th time in program history that a UK player has scored on a kickoff return. Fifteen players have accomplished the feat.
    • Six Wildcats have had 100-yard KO returns, done a total of seven times (Derrick Locke twice).
    • He is the first UK freshman with a kickoff return touchdown since Kio Sanford in 1994.
    • Brown caught three passes for 45 yards.
  • Sophomore wide receiver Chauncey Magwood scored his first career touchdown on an eight-yard catch in the third quarter, his only reception of the game.
  • Freshman wide receiver Dane Key caught four passes for 53 yards and his first career touchdown, on a one-yard catch, in his college debut.
    • He is the first true freshman to start the opener at wide receiver since Keenan Burton in 2003.
  • Players making their first collegiate receptions included Barion Brown and Dane Key. 
  • Senior running back Kavoisey Smoke led the Wildcats with 32 yards rushing on seven carries.
    • He improved two spots on the career rushing leaders list to 28th with 1,338 yards.
  • Alex Afari Jr.,Jacquez Jones and J.J. Weaver led Kentucky in sacks with one apiece.
    • It marked the first sack of Afari Jr.’s college career and Jones’ Kentucky career.
    • Afari totaled six tackles in his collegiate debut and also shared a tackle for loss in addition to the sack.
  • On Miami’s first possession of the third quarter, grad student safety Tyrell Ajian caused a fumble that was recovered and returned 23 yards by Keidron Smith, setting up a UK touchdown. It is Ajian’s second caused fumble of his career and Smith’s first career fumble recovery.
  • Senior linebacker DeAndre Square started the season opener for the fourth straight season, the first Wildcat to do so since tight end C.J. Conrad in 2015-18.
    • Square is the first defensive Wildcat to start four straight openers since Trevard Lindley in 2006-09.
    • Square led Kentucky with seven total tackles, which included three solo tackles.
  • Senior kicker Matt Ruffolo made three field goals from 34, 25 and 50 yards, respectively.
    • His 50-yard field goal in the third quarter tied his career long.
    • He has made eight straight field goals, a streak that began in 2021.
    • It is the third time in his career he has made a field goal from 50 yards.
    • He moved past Craig McIntosh and Chris Rodriguez Jr. for ninth place on the UK career scoring list with 185 points.
  • First career collegiate starts: redshirt freshman OT David Wohlabaugh Jr., redshirt freshman OG Jager Burton, junior OT Jeremy Flax, freshman WR Dane Key, redshirt freshman TE Jordan Dingle and sophomore CB Andru Phillips.
    • Transfers making first starts at UK: OG Tashawn Manning and WR Tayvion Robinson. 

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