Former Kentucky kicker’s pro debut perfect, including the game-winner

Austin MacGinnis is Kentucky football’s all-time leading scorer.
Austin MacGinnis is Kentucky football’s all-time leading scorer. cbertram@herald-leader.com

While several University of Kentucky alumni were busy auditioning for jobs at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Saturday, one of their former teammates was busy leading his new professional football squad to its first win in franchise history.

Former Wildcat Austin MacGinnis hit all four of his field-goal attempts, including the 45-yard game-winner with 2:46 to play, to lead the Memphis Express to a 26-23 victory over the San Diego Fleet during the fourth week of games in the first season of the Alliance of American Football.

“I wanted to be playing in the NFL, but didn’t really get my shot,” MacGinnis told The Commercial Appeal. “This opportunity came up and I made the most of it. I just like to win. It felt good to get out there because the guys put so much work into it. To come through in the clutch for them was great.”

MacGinnis was signed by Memphis on Wednesday. He’s Kentucky football’s all-time leading scorer, having connected on 51 of 64 field goal attempts and 102 of 104 extra points over his four-year college career. He has yet to surface on an NFL roster after going undrafted following his senior season in 2018.

“The consistency at that position is critical, especially in a game like this,” said Express Coach and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary when asked about MacGinnis’ production.

The AAF consists of eight teams whose rosters include many former NFL players and undrafted free agents hoping to make their way onto an NFL roster. The league staged its first slate of games six days after the Super Bowl.

On Saturday, in addition to his 45-yard game-winner, MacGinnis kicked field goals 35, 40 and 46 yards. There are no extra points or kickoffs in the AAF. After scoring a touchdown, teams must attempt a two-point conversion, and teams take possession of the ball on their own 25-yard line following a score by the opposition.

Former Western Kentucky linebacker Drew Jackson led the Express with 14 tackles. Four of those were for a loss, including a QB sack, and he also made an interception.

With the win, Memphis improved to 1-3 on the year.

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Josh Sullivan has worked at the Herald-Leader for more than ten years in multiple capacities, including as a news assistant, page designer, copy editor and sports reporter. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Lexington native.