Kentucky football: 5 records that could be broken in 2020 ... and 2 that won't be (maybe ever)
Kentucky football’s record book has been under an assault in recent years — whether it was Benny Snell smashing the rushing records, Josh Allen getting the sack records or even Lynn Bowden with the QB rushing records.
Given the program’s general uptick, there’s every reason to expect more of the same in 2020.
Here are 5 UK records that could be broken in 2020 … and then 2 magic numbers that could last forever.
1. Most home wins at UK by a coach: Bear Bryant, 33 wins
Yes, Mark Stoops is gaining on Bryant’s UK high of 60 wins, but at 16 wins shy, that’s at least a 2021 issue.
Bryant won 33 games at home at UK, 1 more than Stoops and 1980s coach Jerry Claiborne.
So yes, with Kentucky’s 2nd home win of the 2020 season (Kent State in Week 3?), Stoops will be the school’s winningest head coach in home games.
2. Career QB rushing yards* (note the pass attempts qualifier): Pookie Jones, 854 yards
Yes, Lynn Bowden amassed a ton of QB rushing yards, but as he threw fewer than 100 career passes at UK, he wasn’t a true quarterback.
Kentucky’s record book actually breaks this category down by number of pass attempts.
Of QBs who threw at least 400 passes, Jones’s 854 rushing yards is the record.
Terry Wilson enters 2020 with 320 passing attempts … and 591 rushing yards.
As long as he attempts 80 or more passes (and barring unforeseen injury, that seems certain), Wilson is only 263 yards from the record book.
Incidentally, Bowden wasn’t the only run-only UK QB who doesn’t qualify for this record — QB Derrick Ramsey actually rushed for 1,764 yards, but despite starting for 2 seasons in Lexington, Ramsey threw just 273 passes. He went on to play tight end in the NFL.
3. Highest career yards per carry: Boom Williams, 6.9 yards per carry
Kentucky speedster Kavosiey Smoke has emerged as the likely home-run threat in 2020. In a season and 4 carries in a 2018 redshirt campaign, Smoke has 105 carries for 675 yards — a cool 6.4 yards per carry.
He’s within striking distance of Williams’ 6.9 yards per carry — and granted, that record is for backs with at least 200 career carries. But given that Smoke had 101 carries as UK’s 3rd rushing option in 2019, he’s likely to get enough attempts.
If he can average over 7 yards per carry, he could give Williams a run for his money.
4. Most passes broken up in a season: Eric Kelly and Gary Willis, 13
UK defensive back Brandin Echols had an impressive 2019 campaign. Despite coming off the bench in the season’s first 2 games, the JUCO product managed 9 passes broken up, tying him with senior Jordan Griffin for team-high honors.
Kentucky’s season record is only 4 more away, and Echols figures to be on the field from play one in 2020 with a good chance to make a little history.
5. Season punting average: Max Duffy, 48.1 yards per punt
OK, so it’s not the most glamorous record … but since Duffy set UK’s punting record last year with 48.1 yards per boot, obviously he has a fair chance of besting it in 2020. His 2018 mark of 44.8 yards per punt is now 4th all-time on the UK list. Duffy also holds the career mark by about a yard per punt over early 2000s punter Glenn Pakulak.
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Those records are in danger of falling in 2020. These 2 school marks won’t be touched this season and maybe in any other.
1. Tim Couch’s 4,275 passing yards in 1998
Couch’s record was the SEC mark until Joe Burrow broke it last season. While Kentucky hopes for a more balanced offense this season — and Terry Wilson showed signs of being able to deliver same in his game and a half of pre-injury play in 2019 — the Wildcats aren’t going to pass for 4,000 yards this season.
2. James Whalen’s 90 receptions in 1999
It’s hard to believe that Whalen was a walk-on transfer from basically the middle of nowhere. It’s harder to believe that Kentucky will have a receiver approach a triple-digit catch total in a season.
Randall Cobb managed 84 catches in 2010, but it’s going to take a few offensive revolutions in Lexington for a Wildcat to grab over 90 passes in a season.