In front of his brothers and, more importantly, Mom, Mark Stoops’ UK team posted a rare shutout (the first since the stadium adopted the “Kroger Field” moniker) Saturday afternoon. Here’s what you need to know:


FINAL SCORE: No. 9/10 Kentucky 31, No. 23 (FCS) Youngstown State 0 

Team Records and Series Information

  • Kentucky is 3-0 overall, while Youngstown State is 2-1 overall.
    • This was the first meeting between the teams.
  • Next for UK: on Saturday, Sept. 24, Kentucky wraps up a two-game homestand by playing host to Northern Illinois. The game time is 7 p.m. ET and it will be televised on ESPN2.
    • The Wildcats will be seeking to extend its streak of 18 consecutive non-conference wins, the longest active streak in the nation.

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart joined the Stoops family at midfield for a pre-game ceremony, celebrating the coach’s milestone of 61 wins, passing Bear Bryant for career UK victories (UK Athletics/Chet White)

What the Win Means for Kentucky and Head Coach Mark Stoops

  • Kentucky is 3-0 for the fourth time in the last six seasons under head coach Mark Stoops, joining the 2017, 2018 and 2021 seasons. 
  • UK has won 18 consecutive non-conference games, the longest active streak in the nation.
  • Coach Stoops extended his school records of 62 total wins and 43 home wins.
    • After beginning 12-26 at UK (two games into the 2016 season), Stoops has since gone 50-27 (.649).

Team Notes

  • Kentucky held Youngstown State to no points, marking its first shutout since limiting Miami (Ohio) to no points at a neutral-site game in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Sept. 5, 2009 (42-0). 
    • It marked Kentucky’s first shutout at home since holding Vanderbilt to no points on Nov. 16, 1996 (25-0) and first shutout since the facility was named Kroger Field in 2015.

    • It was UK’s largest margin of victory in a home shutout since a 35-0 win over Kent State in 1993. 

  • UK has limited its last seven opponents to 21 or fewer points, its longest streak since doing so eight straight games to open the 2018 season.

  • UK has allowed 30 or fewer points in 49 of the last 55 games.  

  • UK has allowed 29 points so far this season, fewest in the first three games since 2008 (19 in the first three games). 

  • UK’s defense pitched the first home shutout since 1996 (UK Athletics/Chet White)

    The Wildcats held the Penguins scoreless in the first half, marking the first time Kentucky has garnered a first-half shutout since LSU on Oct. 9, 2021.

    • In fact, the UK defense kept YSU without a first down until 5:31 remaining in the second quarter.

  • UK has held its opponents scoreless for six straight quarters for the first time since 2019 – last three quarters at Vanderbilt and first three quarters vs. UT Martin.

  • Kentucky held its opponent to under 200 yards of total offense (192 yards) for the first time since doing so in the season opener against ULM on Sept. 4, 2021.

    • It is the second time in the defensive coordinator Brad White era (2019-present) and the fourth time in the Coach Stoops era (2013-present).

  • This is the first time UK has held its first three opponents under 300 yards since the first three games of 1989.

    • UK has held its first three opponents to 761 this season, fewest in the first three games since 2008 (752 in first three games).

  • Will Levis posted his second 300+ passing yards game of the season (UK Athletics/Chet White)

    UK limited YSU to nine first downs, fewest since Vanderbilt had eight in 2014.

  • YSU was 0-of-10 on third-down conversions, the first time UK had accomplished that feat since holding Georgia to 0-of-10 in 2005.

  • UK has limited each of the last two opponents under 50 percent completions, first time in back-to-back games since 2018 (Florida and Murray State).

  • UK completed passes to 10 different receivers, most since 10 Wildcats caught passes vs. Vanderbilt in 2020.

Player Notes

  • Senior quarterback Will Levis completed 27-of-35 passes for a season-high 377 yards, which is the second-most in his career, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
    • He also rushed for seven yards on nine carries and a touchdown. 

    • Levis recorded his highest completion percentage in a game when attempting at least 20 passes (.771).

    • It is the highest single-game completion percentage for a Wildcat (min. 35 pass attempts) since Dusty Bonner hit 34 of 40 (85 percent) in 1999.

    • It marked Levis’ fifth 300+ yard passing game in his career and his second this season. 

    • He is the third QB in school history with at least four games of 365+ passing yards, also Tim Couch and Jared Lorenzen.

  • Freshman wide receiver Dane Key had season highs with six catches for 90 yards, including a three-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. 

    • He has recorded a TD catch in each of the first three games of his collegiate career.

    • The last Wildcat with a TD catch in the first three games of a season was La’Rod King in 2011.

    • His three TD catches already ties the UK freshman single-season record, equaling the mark of three by Derek Abney in 2000 and Tommy Cook in 2001.   

  • Senior wide receiver Tayvion Robinson has recorded a reception in 29 consecutive games, as he grabbed a team-high tying six passes for 66 yards this afternoon.
  • Senior running back Kavoisey Smoke rushed for 66 yards on a career-high 18 carries, recording one touchdown. 
    • He has now reached 1,484 career rushing yards, which ties Mike Fanuzzi (1971-74) for the 24th-most career rushing yards in program history. 
  • True freshman Barion Brown had season highs with five catches for 56 yards.

  • Redshirt freshman wide receiver Chris Lewis had the first pass reception of his collegiate career go for a touchdown. 

    • He caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Levis, helping Kentucky go up 21-0 before halftime.

  • Redshirt freshman wide receiver Dekel Crowdus got his first collegiate catch and totaled two receptions for 17 yards this afternoon.
  • Junior receiver DeMarcus Harris had a career-long 58-yard reception.

  • Freshman defensive back Alex Afari Jr. led Kentucky with five total tackles, which included one solo tackle and a tackle for loss (-2 yards).

  • Linebackers Jordan Wright and Jacquez Jones tied for the second-most total tackles with four apiece, while Wright and freshman safety Jordan Lovett rallied a team-high three solo tackles apiece. 
    • Wright also led with two tackles for loss (-3 yards).

  • With YSU first-and-goal at the UK two-yard line in the third quarter, junior cornerback Carrington Valentine recorded his first career interception to help keep the Penguins off the scoreboard. 
    • He also had two pass breakups and a quarterback hurry.  He has five PBU over the last two games. 

  • Senior kicker Matt Ruffolo made four extra point attempts and a field goal.
    • He now has 200 points, becoming the eighth player in school history to reach 200 career points.
  • First collegiate starts: true freshman DL Deone Walker and redshirt freshman DB Jordan Lovett. 
  • Game captains for Kentucky: Will Levis, DeAndre SquareJacquez Jones and J.J. Weaver.


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