ULM at Kentucky
C.M. Newton Grounds at Kroger Field
Sept. 3, 2021
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 45, ULM 10
Team Records and Series Information

  • This was the season opener for both teams as Kentucky began its 131st season of football.

    • UK is now 89-37-5 in season openers, including 6-3 under Mark Stoops.
  • Kentucky leads the series 4-1 and has won five in a row.  All games have been played in Lexington.
  • Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats have their Southeastern Conference opener Saturday, Sept. 11, as the Wildcats play host to Missouri. Game time is 7:30 and it will be televised on the SEC Network.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky has won 12 consecutive non-conference games during the 2018-21 seasons, the third-longest active streak in the nation.
    • UK has won eight straight non-conference games at Kroger Field.
  • Since 2006, UK is 28-3 against teams from the current lineup of group of five conferences.
  • 45 points and the 35-point margin of victory are the most in a season opener since a 59-14 win over UT Martin in 2014.
  • 45 points are the most since the 45-13 win over Louisville to conclude the 2019 regular season.
  • UK’s 554 yards total offense is the most since in a non-overtime game since 601 yards at Louisville in 2018.
    • It’s the most yards in a season opener since totaling 656 vs. UT Martin in 2014.
  • Kentucky passed for 419 yards today, most since 422 vs. UT Martin in 2014.
  • It’s the first time UK had a 300-yard passer, two 100-yard receivers and a 100-yard rusher in the same game since 2006 at Vanderbilt (Andre’ Woodson, Keenan Burton/Rafael Little, Rafael Little).
    • This was the second time in school history that UK had a 300-yard passer, 100-yard receiver and 100-yard rusher in a season opener.  The other occurrence was 1998 at Louisville (Tim Couch, Craig Yeast, Derek Homer).
  • UK had two 100-yard receivers in a game for the first time since 2011 vs. Ole Miss (La’Rod King and Matt Roark).
  • The Kentucky defense limited ULM to 87 total yards. That’s the fewest in a game since holding Central Michigan to 78 total yards in the 1988 season opener. 
  • UK held ULM to 17 net rushing yards, fewest since Eastern Michigan had 13 rushing yards in 2017.
  • UK held ULM to 70 passing yards, fewest since Georgia had 35 passing yards in 2019.
  • 10 seniors started on defense.  With starting lineups available since 1993, it is the most seniors starting on offense or defense in a season opener since that time.
  • UK had 14 tackles for loss, including six quarterback sacks.
  • This was UK’s largest margin of yardage (+477 today) since 2013 vs. Miami (Ohio) when UK had a +553 yardage margin.

Coach Mark Stoops

  • Coach Stoops began his ninth season as head coach of the Wildcats, tying Fran Curci (1973-81) for most seasons as head coach at UK.
  • This was Stoops 100th game as UK head coach, tying Curci’s record for most games as coach of the Cats. 
  • This was Stoops’ 50th win as UK head coach.  Paul “Bear” Bryant holds the school record with 60 victories.

Player Notes

  • Junior quarterback Will Levis completed 18 of 26 passes for 367 yards and four touchdowns, notching career highs for completions, yards and TDs.

    • It is the most passing yards for a Kentucky player in his first game as a Wildcat.
    • It is the most passing yards for a UK quarterback since Patrick Towles threw for 390 in 2014 vs. Mississippi State.
    • He is the first 300-yard passer in a season opener since Drew Barker, 323 vs. Southern Mississippi in 2016.
    • It is the most passing TDs since Drew Barker threw four vs. Southern Mississippi in 2016.
    • His 58-yard touchdown pass to Josh Ali is the longest in a season opener since 2016 vs. Southern Mississippi (72 yards, Barker to Jeff Badet).
  • Junior running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed 19 times for 125 yards and one touchdown, the seventh 100-yard game of his career.
    • Rodriguez had the most yards in a season opener since Benny Snell rambled for 125 in the 2018 opener vs. Central Michigan.
    • He has 1,486 career rushing yards, moving past Alfred Rawls, Tony Dixon, Bobby Cravens and Mike Fanuzzi into 23rd place in school history.
  • Sophomore running back Mike Drennen II rushed three times for 16 yards, including a four-yard touchdown that is his first collegiate TD.
  • Senior wide receiver Josh Ali had five receptions for a career-high 136 yards.
    • It is the first 100-yard game of his career.
    • It’s the most receiving yardage in a season opener since Garrett Johnson had 143 vs. Southern Mississippi in 2016.
    • His 58-yard scoring grab in the first quarter is a career long.
    • He has 95 career receptions for 982 career yards.
  • Junior wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson had five receptions for a career-high 125 yards and tied his career high for touchdowns with two (also at Illinois in 2019).
    • It is the most receiving yards for any Wildcat in his first game at UK.
  • Junior tight end Brenden Bates caught his first collegiate touchdown with a four-yard catch.
  • Players making their first collegiate receptions included Jordan Dingle, Tae Tae Crumes, Izayah Cummings and Rahsaan Lewis.
  • Senior defensive end Josh Paschal led the Wildcats with a career-high-tying seven tackles.
    • He also tied his career best with two tackles for loss (-13), the fourth time he has done that.
    • Included in his TFL was a nine-yard quarterback sack.
  • Senior linebacker DeAndre Square had six tackles, including a career-high 3.5 TFL (-7 yards).
    • Included in the TFL was a one-yard sack.
  • Senior linebacker Jordan Wright had six tackles, with a career-high-tying two tackles for loss (-9).
    • He had an eight-yard sack.
  • Senior safety Yusuf Corker had five tackles, including his first career sack, and tied a career best with two pass breakups.
  • Sophomore linebacker J.J. Weaver had two tackles, notching a career high with two quarterback sacks.
  • Senior kicker Matt Ruffolo made all seven of his kicks, a 45-yard field goal and all six extra points.
  • First career collegiate starts: senior DT Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald, sophomore OG Eli Cox, RB Chris Rodriguez and TE Brenden Bates.
    • Transfers making first starts at UK: OT Dare Rosenthal, WR Wan’Dale Robinson, QB Will Levis, LB Jacquez Jones


Related Stories

View all