SEC: Is Kentucky Football For Real?

Kentucky football (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Kentucky football (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Has Kentucky Football head coach Mark Stoops finally built the team that he has needed to compete in the SEC East? Well at 5-0 (3-0 SEC), two obstacles are cleared in the East with six more to go.

After five weeks into the SEC season, Georgia may not be the only team competing for the SEC East. Like they did with Florida (4-1, 2-1 SEC), Kentucky disposed of South Carolina in their division, but do they have their eyes set on the prize? The Kentucky football nation believes so.

How did this Cinderella journey start off? Technically, you can leave out Central Michigan and Murray State although they count on record. But the first three SEC games are key to their journey to Atlanta.


For 31 consecutive years, Florida has owned Kentucky and rightfully so despite a few close calls in the past. At the time, no one knew what game plan Mark Stoops had in store when they arrived in Gainesville.

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It took the talents of Benny Snell Jr and new quarterback Terry Wilson to run up the yards in rushing, and a key turnover which forever ended the streak dating back to 1986. Removing this one elusive monkey was the true start to Kentucky’s journey.

With one lifelong streak over, another positive one began for the Wildcats as they headed home for a cross-divisional showdown.

Mississippi State

Kentucky and Mississippi State have faced each other consecutively since 1990, and beating Florida gave the Wildcats a huge momentum win at home. This turnaround for both teams was one for the history books and the ages.

Kentucky last beat Mississippi State two years ago at home, snapping a seven game losing streak against the Bulldogs in 2016. Mississippi State was ranked fourteenth at the time under new head coach Joe Moorhead, but they did not play as such.

The Wildcat defense caused 16 penalties for 139 yards (mostly false starts and personal fouls), and held the Bulldog offense to just 56 yards rushing. Even the pre-game fight caused a psychological change in the game.

The biggest impact: Benny Snell Jr scoring all four times on the ground including breaking Randall Cobb’s record for career touchdowns at Kentucky. This particular performance entered Snell into the early Heisman race.

South Carolina

For the match up at home against the Gamecocks, Kentucky was first reportedly picked as the underdog, but was later upgraded to a 1.5 point favorite. Both teams showed great potential in each half of the game.

While Kentucky ran away with the first half, the South Carolina defense shut them out in the second and the offense got a momentum builder on a pass from Jake Bentley to Deebo Samuel. Both defenses played a key part too in the second half.

Total yards were an even match, but it was the Wildcat defense who truly prevailed even with some mild miscues by the offense in the second half. Playing the clock and a key turnover at the end sealed the deal to stay undefeated.

Is Kentucky Football For Real?

My answer would have to be yes. All that is left to play Georgia undefeated for the SEC East is to get past Texas A&M and Missouri. With Vanderbilt sitting at 3-2 with only one divisional game played, their next SEC game is at Athens, so no conference judgement on the Commodores just yet.

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Once the Wildcats pass those obstacles, Kentucky at Georgia could become one of the SEC games of the year. Here is to holding our breaths for the next month or so.