KENTUCKY POSTGAME NOTES
Austin Peay at Kentucky
Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, Ky.
Nov. 19, 2016
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 49, Austin Peay 13
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky is 6-5 overall. Austin Peay finishes the season 0-11.
- This was the first meeting between the schools in football.
- Kentucky is bowl-eligible for the first time since the 2010 season.
- UK completes the regular season Sat. Nov. 26 at Louisville. Game time and television assignment will be announced Sunday.
Kentucky Team Notes
- UK’s game captains were senior center Jon Toth, senior running back Jojo Kemp, senior safety Marcus McWilsonand senior defensive lineman Courtney Miggins. It is the first time this season that this combination of players have been captains.
- Toth and Miggins have been captain in all 11 games. Kemp has been captain for three games. This was the first game for McWilson to be captain.
- After trailing 13-0 early in the second quarter, Kentucky scored touchdowns on seven consecutive possessions.
- This was the largest margin of victory in school history (36 points) in a game in which the Wildcats trailed by at least 10 points.
- This is the fifth season in school history that Kentucky has won two games after trailing the opponent by at least 11 points (also Mississippi State).
- Mark Stoops is only the second coach in school history with five career wins after trailing by at least 11 points. Rich Brooks had eight.
- UK scored 21 points in the second and third quarters. It was the first time that UK scored at 21 points in two quarters since Oct. 11, 2014 vs. Louisiana-Monroe.
- Five of Kentucky’s touchdowns were at least 25 yards.
- Kentucky rushed for 281 yards tonight, the fifth time in the last six games that the Wildcats ran for at least 250 yards.
- UK has had six games of at least 400 yards total offense, most since 2010 (eight times that season).
- Kentucky limited Austin Peay to 27 passing yards tonight, fewest since Sept. 7, 2013 when the Wildcats limited Miami (Ohio) to 23 passing yards.
- UK has 2,666 rushing yards this season, most since 1976 (2,960).
- UK has a rushing touchdown in each of the last 13 home games.
- Kentucky has scored at least 35 points six times this season, the most since the 2007 team did it in nine games.
- This is the 12th time in Commonwealth Stadium history that the Wildcats won at least five home games.
- UK converted both of its fourth-down attempts tonight, making the Wildcats 9 of 11 on the season. The Cats lead the Southeastern Conference in fourth-down conversions at 81.8 percent.
- UK is 32-1 in the last 33 games in which the Wildcats have led at the end of the third quarter.
- UK is 33-1 in the last 34 games in which the Wildcats have held the opponent to 14 or fewer points.
- This was the first time that UK held three opponents to 13 points or less in one season since 2011 (four times that season).
Kentucky Player Notes
- Junior quarterback Stephen Johnson entered the game in the second quarter. He directed UK to touchdown drives on all five possessions he played — three possessions in the second quarter and the first two possessions of the third quarter. He completed 5 of 9 passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
- Sophomore quarterback Luke Wright made his first start as a Wildcat. He completed 3 of 4 passes for 28 yards.
- True freshman running back Benny Snell ran 14 times for 152 yards, including touchdown runs of 30 and 48 yards.
- He had his fifth 100-yard game of the season, breaking the UK freshman record of four 100-yard games by Chris Jones in 1979 and Moe Williams in 1993.
- Snell averaged 10.9 yards per carry tonight, the best average for a Wildcat with at least 14 carries since Mark Higgs averaged 13.7 per attempt vs. Ole Miss in 1987.
- Four of Snell’s 100-yard games have been at home, first Wildcat to have four in Commonwealth Stadium in one season since Rafael Little in 2007.
- He has 1,006 yards for the season, breaking Moe Williams’ freshman record (928 yards in 1993) and becoming the first freshman in school history to top 1,000 yards.
- He is the first SEC true freshman to rush for 1,000 yards since Leonard Fournette of LSU and Nick Chubb of Georgia in 2014.
- He has 12 rushing touchdowns this season (already the UK freshman record) and it is the most for a Wildcat since Artose Pinner had 13 rushing TDs in 2002.
- Senior running back Jojo Kemp ran eight times for 54 yards, including TD runs of 40 and seven yards.
- Kemp is the first senior with two touchdowns in his final home game since Derrick Locke in 2010 vs. Vanderbilt.
- Kemp now has 1,649 rushing yards as a Wildcat, moving up one spot to 16th place on the UK career list.
- Kemp has 19 rushing touchdowns, tied for ninth on the UK career rushing TD list.
- Junior running back Stanley “Boom” Williams ran seven times for 47 yards, featuring a 25-yard touchdown.
- Williams has 1,072 yards this season, seventh on the UK single-season list. It’s the most since Artose Pinner ran for 1,414 yards in 2002.
- Williams now has 2,413 career rushing yards, seventh on the UK career list.
- Williams and Snell have combined for 2,078 rushing yards this season, breaking the record for the most by a duo in one season in school history. The old record was 1,879 rushing yards by Sonny Collins and Mike Fanuzzi in 1974.
- Williams and Snell have combined for 18 rushing touchdowns this season, most by a duo since Moe Williams and Billy Jack Haskins combined for 21 rushing TDs in 1995.
- Junior Garrett Johnson paced the receivers with three catches for 46 yards, including a 40-yard TD bomb.
- He now has 1,369 career receiving yards, moving up two spots to 14th place on the UK career receiving yardage list.
- Sophomore tight end C.J. Conrad made a magnificent leaping grab at the pylon for a 14-yard touchdown, his only reception of the game.
- Junior Jeff Badet caught one pass for 42 yards. He has 1,302 receiving yards as a Wildcat, moving up two spots to 17th place on the career list.
- Junior kicker Austin MacGinnis had seven points today. He has 242 career points and remained in third place on the UK career list.
- Sophomore cornerback Chris Westry intercepted a pass to end Austin Peay’s first drive. It is his first interception of the season and third of his career.
- Sophomore safety Mike Edwards intercepted a pass in the second quarter, made a magnificent spin move to stay off the ground, then returned it 46 yards. The play set up UK’s first touchdown.
- It was Edwards’ first interception of the season and second on his career.
- Senior center Jon Toth made his 46th consecutive start.
Highlights from UK Sports Video
Mark Stoops Postgame
Transcript from UK Athletics
University of Kentucky Football Media Conference
Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016
MARK STOOPS: I was very thankful to come away with the victory. I thought our team really showed their toughness all season and it was evident again tonight. When we needed it, we got physical, and the guys played exceptionally well.
It’s been a season of a lot of ups and downs – and we got one big game left – but I’ve been proud of these guys, their effort, and their resiliency. So, it’s a good starting point. We’re thankful to get to six victories and proud of the seniors. We wouldn’t have done it without them and without their leadership. So, just an exciting locker room.
Q. Were guys a little bit nervous early when they came out? Started a little slow.
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, we were overrunning some things, too. I think guys were a little jacked up and we were over-pursuing and they were getting some cutback yards early, aggravating yards. But they possessed the ball a little longer than I wanted to at the start, but we felt pretty comfortable.
Q. Talk more about what happened in the locker room with the kids and the excitement and just what happened.
MARK STOOPS: Yeah. The guys were, they — it’s a happy locker room. I told the team that we talk about toughness and an attitude, every day, and being resilient, and this team has showed that. It wouldn’t have happened without the great leadership of our seniors, and I’m very happy for them. They have been through some ups and some downs. And they knew very clearly when I got here that what we were up against and what we were trying to do, there was going to be some tough times. And they stayed the course. They never flinched. And it’s not always easy, but that’s been a fun group to coach, and we’re going to continue to push forward.
Q. This has to bring out a lot of emotion. You try not to be emotional with us, but can you talk about that?
MARK STOOPS: Trying to be like 60 Minutes or something. I could be, believe me. I mean that. It is. It’s hard to control the emotions right now. It is because I’m very thankful and appreciative of this team, the administration, our fans, the people that sat out there tonight – and it was cold, nasty day – and stuck with us through the good times and the bad. And I greatly appreciate everybody. I said it day one and I continue to say it, that it’s going to take all of us to take this program to new heights. So, it is. It’s hard, for me right now, to be totally honest with you, because I’m very proud that have group.
Q. Why control the emotions right now?
MARK STOOPS: Never flinch.
(Laughter.) Good or bad.
Q. What do you know about Stephen Johnson’s injury? Was he able to practice this week?
MARK STOOPS: He did not practice at all. I take that back. He did very little Wednesday and very little Friday. So, he is tough as nails. He was banged up and was not able to practice, was not able to be on his leg very much. He fought through it and came in there tonight.
And Luke (Wright), I feel bad, we didn’t put him in the best situation. That was not the way we wanted that to go. I wanted to take the ball — they got it and took it and possessed the ball. And we put him in a bad situation to start the game. And that’s on the team, not on Luke. So, that was tough for him to start that way.
Q. Is this the type of injury where you expect Stephen to be able come back with some rest?
MARK STOOPS: Hopefully it won’t — nothing will swell up and he’ll be good to go. He is extremely tough. He’s been that way all year.
Q. What was the thought process in terms of – they told us that he was available in an emergency (situation) – 13-0 down, you needed him.
MARK STOOPS: Well, obviously an important game. So, and again, I just, I feel like we put Luke in a tough spot to start that way. But we needed to calm him down and we did. And Stephen is that way. We talked about it all year, his poise, and he showed that tonight.
Q. Do you think when Stephen went in he lifted the entire team both offensively and defensively just with his presence on the field?
MARK STOOPS: I’m not sure. I think guys were going to settle in and play and we knew we were more physical and we would settle down defensively and be in a good situation. But it was important or we wouldn’t have put him in. So, hopefully, the guys fed off that a little bit and just calmed everybody down.
Q. Benny (Snell) broke the freshman rushing record tonight. Talk about that.
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, it was good. It was nice to have Moe (Williams) here. And Moe give him the hug when he broke it. And I thought it was significant for him. I think he went over a thousand tonight. To have two over a thousand was a great mark for the team. And all those guys, it was good to get Jojo (Kemp) in there and get him some touchdowns. So it was just a good night overall.
Q. Do you consider this one more step in the culture change that we so often talk about?
MARK STOOPS: I’m sorry?
Q. Do you consider this one more step in the culture change that you were talking about?
MARK STOOPS: I think it is. I think it’s a big step in the culture change. And we want this to be the norm to go to bowl games and win over six games and that’s our plan.
Fortunately we have another game left this season and it’s against our rival. And we’ll be fired up and ready to go for that. But yeah, it is part of it. And you know you’re going to go through tough times, and I think the team and myself and you know very clearly kind of what you’re getting into. That doesn’t make it always easy.
So, I’ve been just proud of the guys just really, just grinding it out and listening, and taking the coaching, taking the counseling, and a lot of the hard work that they do in the offseason is starting to pay off.
Q. Would you say after — you said at the beginning of this week, that you felt like the program was starting to knock on some doors. Do you think after being stuck on five wins the last couple years that this is kind of a big door that you knocked down?
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, we’re knocking doors down as often as we can. This was a significant one. I’ve said that all along. Like I said, I’ve said it in the preseason, and I said it when we sitting here at 0-2 and not playing very good football. And I still had a lot of confidence in this football team and knew, without a doubt, that we were going to go to work and get better every day. And this team has gotten better every day and every week. Doesn’t mean you’re always going to play perfect, but we’re getting better, and they’re getting better. And we’re getting — there’s just always things to learn from and this is part of it.
Q. What did you see in Snell on his recruiting trip?
MARK STOOPS: As I mentioned before, just like he is, a strong, steady, disciplined player. He’s physically strong, he has great balance and vision for his size, and he’s a solid guy. He’s a disciplined guy. So, I think that he’s been good for us.
Q. You always —
MARK STOOPS: But, excuse me, but over the years we have had, we have been inches and yards short, and we needed a guy with that type of physicality. And he’s brought that to us. And of course, we’re getting more physical in the O-line across the board.
Q. You always say don’t flinch. But was there any point this season where you doubted that you were going to get to six wins?
MARK STOOPS: Never. Never. No. I answered that question before. I never really looked at the end, at the wins. I never doubted for a minute what we were doing.
Q. After a couple deep balls were dropped, what does it say about (Jeff Badet) to be able to come back and make that play?
MARK STOOPS: That’s exactly what we said. We knew we were coming back to him tonight and he was going to get more opportunities tonight and he went and made a more difficult catch. And that’s important. It was important for him and for us to see him get that completion.
Q. Your wife and kids were standing over with Alex (Montgomery). Was that your idea? What was the thought there?
MARK STOOPS: It was our idea, because Alex, his grandma was not able to come. And so we have been very close with Alex and he’s a remarkable young man and I’m excited to have him come work with me next year. So he’ll be around for a year and work with us. But he’s a strong kid and it’s hard for him to give up football. But he’s been through so many injuries and it’s been a tough road for him. But we’re going to get him over, get him coaching. I hurt my knee in college, too, so we’ll get him going.
Q. Have you figured out what part of your staff he’s going to be on?
MARK STOOPS: No, not sure.
Q. You watch the kids, you develop them, and some go to the NFL and some move on to other stuff, but having one that’s had some injuries and has to sit, is it hard?
MARK STOOPS: It’s hard. It’s very difficult. Because he’s just a salt-of-the-earth guy. He’s a great kid. He was a very good player, if you remember him back — and he’s had so many injuries since then — but he was a starter and a good player and playing at a young age and doing good and he had great hands and he was physical. And so it’s tough. He’s going through adversity right now and it’s not easy, but the big thing is for us to give him the support here. He’s a long way from home, from Fort Lauderdale, and being here and for us to support him and be around him, it’s awesome. It’s part of the big family, and he’s just another example of that. But he is a special guy.
Q. Can you spill beans on what senior cried tonight?
(Laughter.) None that I know of. None that I know of. But they were definitely emotional and I could just see it in their eyes, all of them. And for the guys that, the great ones that, the great kids that we inherited were awesome to coach the whole time. And the ones that I remember were going into those homes that first year and it seems like it’s gone very quickly. Maybe not all the time. When I was banging my head into the wall for 14 hours a day it doesn’t, that day went slow. But no, it’s gone fast. I think those guys realize it, too, that how quickly it goes.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports