If Kentucky can knock off 14th-ranked Mississippi State on Saturday night at Kroger Field, it would snap another negative streak in the program’s history.
As we all know, the Cats (finally) defeated Florida 27-16 on Sept. 8 in Gainesville, not only ending that nightmare of a 31-game losing streak against the Gators, but also accomplishing a win over a ranked team. Florida was 25th in the AP college football poll that week.
If UK can beat Mississippi State, it would be the first time the Cats would have beaten two ranked teams in the same season since 2007. Rich Brooks’ team beat No. 9 Louisville 40-34 in the season opener, and then famously No. 1 LSU 40-34 in overtime.
A win over Mississippi State would also be the first time Kentucky has won back-to-back games against ranked teams since 1977. Behind Derrick Ramsey and Art Still, that 10-1 team beat No. 17 West Virginia 28-13, No. 4 Penn State 24-20 at State College and No. 16 LSU 33-13 in Baton Rouge.
After that special season, UK dropped 20 straight games against ranked teams before it finally beat No. 11 Georgia 16-10 in 1988. Jerry Caliborne was the Kentucky coach that season. That was one of only two ranked teams Caliborne beat while UK’s coach from 1982 through 1989.
Here are the records of UK coaches against ranked teams since 1946:
- Bear Bryant 9-10-2
- Blanton Collier 5-18-1
- Charlie Bradshaw 4-8
- John Ray 2-16
- Fran Curci 9-19-1
- Jerry Claiborne 2-22
- Bill Curry 2-20
- Hal Mumme 3-15
- Guy Morriss 1-7
- Rich Brooks 2-25
- Joker Phillips 1-12
- Mark Stoops 3-12
Under Stoops, UK is 3-4 in its last seven games against ranked teams with wins over No. 25 Missouri 21-13 in 2015; over No. 11 Louisville 41-38 in 2016; over No. 25 at Florida 27-16 this season. (See chart below.)
Kentucky has lost six straight to Mississippi State when the Bulldogs are ranked.
- Lost 37-36 to No. 4 Mississippi State in 1992
- Lost 23-22 at No. 8 Mississippi State in 1999
- Lost 35-17 to No. 8 Mississippi State in 2000
- Lost 24-17 at No. 21 Mississippi State in 2010
- Lost 27-14 to No. 20 Mississippi State in 2012
- Lost 45-31 to No. 1 Mississippi State in 2014
Kentucky against ranked teams under Mark Stoops