KENTUCKY POSTGAME NOTES
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.
- 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.
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