Sidelines with John Clay

Drew Barker makes his first road start at The Swamp. How bad has it been for previous Kentucky quarterbacks there?

Drew Barker fires a TD pass in the first quarter of last week’s 44-35 loss to Southern Miss. The sophomore quarterback makes his first road start on Saturday when UK plays at Florida.
Drew Barker fires a TD pass in the first quarter of last week’s 44-35 loss to Southern Miss. The sophomore quarterback makes his first road start on Saturday when UK plays at Florida. Lexington Herald-Leader

Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker makes his first road start on Saturday. He does so in a tough place to make a road debut. At “The Swamp.”

His three turnovers aside, the sophomore is coming off a terrific opener. After completing 15 of 24 passes for 323 yards and a touchdown, Barker’s pass efficiency rating of 222.2 ranks fifth in the country heading into this weekend. It was also the fifth-best passer rating in a single game by a UK quarterback over the past 30 years. See third chart below.

Tim Couch made his infamous first collegiate start at Florida back in 1996. It was not under ideal circumstances, however. Couch was running an ill-suited offense against a superior team and a tough, tough crowd. It didn’t go well. Under different circumstances, i.e. Hal Mumme’s offense, Couch got much, much better on the road. See second chart below.

How have other UK quarterbacks fared against the Gators in Gainesville? The Cats haven’t beaten Florida in Florida since 1979. That gives you some idea. See first chart below for the passing numbers.

Kentucky quarterbacks at The Swamp

Date

Passer

C

A

Yds

TD

INT

Rating

9/28/96

Couch

6

18

13

0

1

28.29

9/26/98

Couch

40

61

406

3

2

131.15

9/23/00

Lorenzen

35

59

363

2

2

115.41

9/28/02

Lorenzen

20

32

180

2

1

124.13

9/25/04

Boyd

17

35

134

0

1

75.02

9/23/06

Woodson

26

37

210

1

0

126.86

10/25/08

Hartline

7

16

33

0

1

48.58

10/25/08

Cobb

9

18

78

0

0

86.40

9/25/10

Hartline

21

39

242

1

2

104.17

9/22/12

Newton

7

21

48

0

3

23.96

9/13/14

Towles

24

45

369

3

3

130.88

How Kentucky quarterbacks have fared on the road

Passer

C

A

Yds

TD

INT

Rating

Couch

351

536

3654

33

11

139.0

Lorenzen

373

668

4474

31

19

121.7

Woodson

247

431

2739

15

5

119.9

Hartline

187

329

2023

9

10

111.4

Smith

85

158

761

5

4

100.3

Towles

155

300

761

4

13

68.7

Kentucky’s top 10 passing efficiency ratings

Criteria: 15-or-more passes in a game; last 30 seasons

Date

Opp

Passer

C

A

Yds

TD

INT

Eff

9/7/02

UTEP

Lorenzen

10

17

211

5

0

260.14

9/5/98

@Louisville

Couch

29

39

498

7

0

240.85

9/20/97

@Indiana

Couch

24

32

334

7

0

234.86

11/10/01

@Vandy

Lorenzen

26

37

453

6

0

226.63

9/3/16

Southern Miss

Barker

15

24

323

4

1

222.22

9/7/13

Miami (O)

Smith, M

15

23

310

3

0

221.48

9/11/10

Western Ky

Hartline

16

20

213

3

0

218.96

9/18/99

@Indiana

Bonner

24

31

304

5

1

206.57

11/14/92

@Cincinnati

Jones

12

18

280

1

1

204.56

10/18/97

NE Louisiana

Couch

34

43

428

6

1

204.07

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