Big Blue Preview: Kentucky vs. Iowa
Info to Know
|Kentucky vs. Iowa | When: Sat., Dec. 31, 12 p.m. ET | Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tenn. | TV: ABC | Radio: UK Sports Network|
For the second consecutive season, Kentucky and Iowa will meet during bowl season, as the schools follow up their meeting in the VrboCitrus Bowl to conclude the 2021 season, a 20-17 UK victory, with a showdown in the Transperfect Music City Bowl. It marks UK’s seventh consecutive bowl appearance, 22nd all-time and record sixth in the Nashville event.
UK will be without the services of quarterback Will Levis and third-leading career rusher Chris Rodriguez Jr. after they opted out of the game. The Cats should still have plenty of weapons, including star freshman receivers Barion Brown, who is from Nashville, and Dane Key.
The game also features a pair of top 20 defenses in what could be a physical, hard-hitting rematch.
Cat Scratches: ‘Nashville Cats’ Hope to Shine in TransPerfect Music City Bowl
Nashville has been a home away from home for Kentucky athletics for many years. Whenever the Cats are playing in Music City, the Big Blue Nation shows up in large numbers.
This season, that home field feeling takes on an even bigger feeling as the Cats have some significant contributors from the Nashville area. Those include freshmen Barion Brown and Keaten Wade. Destin Wade, Keaten’s twin brother, also has a chance to see his first game action in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl. UK head coach Mark Stoops spoke about those players during Wednesday’s media opportunity.
“Barion is just excellent,” Stoops said. “The Wades, they’re just great young men. Barion has had a monster season. Keaten has done a good job and played a lot for us and hopefully we’ll see D-Wade (Destin Wade) in this game, we’ll see what happens. They’re great young men and they’re great fits for us and we’re really glad we have them.”
Speaking of Destin Wade, he’s one of three quarterbacks (along with Kaiya Sheron and Deuce Hogan) who are vying to be the starter against Iowa in the Music City Bowl. Stoops likes what he has seen from Destin Wade during the bowl preparation…Read More
• This marks UK’s second meeting against Big Ten member Iowa, both coming in bowl games the past two seasons.
• Kentucky is 30-37-4 all-time against current Big Ten members.
• UK defeated Iowa, 20-17, in the teams’ first matchup, a thrilling game in the Vrbo CitrusBowl on January 1, 2022. The Cats mounted a last-minute scoring drive and then sealed the victoy on an interception by inside linebacker DeAndre Square.
• Kentucky coach Mark Stoops lettered at Iowa from 1987-89, playing for legendary coach Hayden Fry.
• Stoops also served as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 1990 and 1991. In 1990, the Hawkeyes won the Big Ten title and played in the Rose Bowl.
• Stoops’ brothers, Bob (1979-82) and Mike (1981-84), both played at Iowa as well.
• Stoops said his late father, Ron, was buried in 1988 with one of his Iowa game jerseys in his casket.
• Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was on the Iowa staff when Stoops was recruited to play for the Hawkeyes and knows the family well.
• UK reserve quarterback Deuce Hogan transferred from Iowa after last season’s bowl game.
Kentucky in Bowl Games
• The Wildcats own a 12-9 all-time record in bowl games, including a 4-2 record under head coach Mark Stoops.
• UK is appearing in its school-record seventh straight bowl game.
• Kentucky has won four straight bowl games which is tied with Northwestern, Syracuse, Texas and Troy for the third-longest active streak in FBS. The Cats defeated Penn State, Virginia Tech, N.C. State and Iowa for their bowl game winning streak.
• UK is appearing in the Transperfect Music City Bowl for the sixth time, the most of any participating school. The Cats have a 2-3 record in the Music City Bowl, defeating Clemson (2006) and Florida State (2007) and losing to Syracuse (1999), Clemson (2009) and Northwestern (2017).
By the Numbers
Consecutive bowl wins for Kentucky
All-time bowl wins for the Cats, compared to just nine losses
Consecutive nonconference wins by Kentucky, currently the longest such streak in the nation
Graduates who will play for UK in the Music City Bowl
Wins by Mark Stoops, the most for any coach in UK history