1996 Kentucky Wildcats football
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
DivisionEastern Division
1996 record4–7 (3–5 SEC)
Head coachBill Curry (7th season)
Offensive coordinatorElliot Uzelac (2nd season)
Defensive coordinatorRick Smith
Home stadiumCommonwealth Stadium
(Capacity: 57,800)
Seasons
← 1995
1997 →
1996 SEC football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Eastern Division
#1 Florida x   8 0         12 1  
#9 Tennessee   7 1         10 2  
South Carolina   4 4         6 5  
Georgia   3 5         5 6  
Kentucky   3 5         4 7  
Vanderbilt   0 8         2 9  
Western Division
#11 Alabama xy   6 2         10 3  
#12 LSU x   6 2         10 2  
#24 Auburn   4 4         8 4  
Mississippi State   3 5         5 6  
Ole Miss   2 6         5 6  
Arkansas   2 6         4 7  
Championship: Florida 45, Alabama 30
† – Conference champion
x – Division champion/co-champions
y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1996 Kentucky Wildcats football team represented the University of Kentucky in the 1996 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Wildcats scored 138 points while allowing 322 points; they opened the season with 1 win and 6 losses, and then after the firing of head coach Bill Curry was announced, the Wildcats won three straight SEC games before losing their final game to finish 4–7.[1][2]

Season[edit | edit source]

Kentucky opened with a 38–14 loss to Louisville, then lost 24–3 at Cincinnati due to repeated special teams breakdowns. A game in a driving rainstorm against Indiana remained a scoreless tie until the final seconds when a Kentucky field goal led to a 3–0 win. A 65–0 loss at Florida and 35–7 loss at Alabama were followed by Kentucky blowing a second half lead to lose 25–14 to South Carolina. After a 41–14 loss at LSU, Kentucky stood at 1–5 on the season and the firing of head coach Bill Curry was announced. The Wildcats responded by reeling off three victories in a row: 24–17 against Georgia, 24–21 against Mississippi State and 25–0 against Vanderbilt. A 56–10 loss to Tennessee ended the season with the Wildcats at 4–7.[3][4]

Kentucky's victories over Georgia and Mississippi State kept those two teams out of bowl games, as each finished 5–6 due to their losses to Kentucky. Kentucky's 25–0 shutout of Vanderbilt on November 16 was the team's first shutout since a 21–0 win against #25 Ole Miss on October 2, 1993.[5][6] Kentucky played four road games against ranked teams in 1996.[7] Kentucky's three game SEC win streak (Georgia, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt) was its first since 1993 (South Carolina, Ole Miss, LSU).[8][9] This was the first college season for highly touted freshman quarterback Tim Couch, who later went on to be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and was the #1 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.[10]

Schedule[edit | edit source]

DateTimeOpponentSiteTVResultAttendance
August 316:30 PMLouisville*L 14–3859,384
September 73:30 PMat Cincinnati*L 3–2430,729
September 217:00 PMIndiana*
  • Commonwealth Stadium
  • Lexington, Kentucky
W 3–040,500
September 283:30 PMat No. 1 FloridaCBSL 0–6585,422
October 52:00 PMat No. 13 AlabamaPPVL 7–3570,123
October 127:00 PMSouth Carolina
  • Commonwealth Stadium
  • Lexington, Kentucky
L 14–2550,500
October 198:00 PMat No. 17 LSUPPVL 14–4179,660
October 267:00 PMGeorgia
  • Commonwealth Stadium
  • Lexington, Kentucky
W 24–1734,000
November 91:30 PMMississippi State
  • Commonwealth Stadium
  • Lexington, Kentucky (Rivalry)
W 24–2126,500
November 1612:30 PMVanderbilt
  • Commonwealth Stadium
  • Lexington, Kentucky (Rivalry)
JPSW 25–033,000
November 233:30 PMat No. 9 TennesseeCBSL 10–56102,534

[11][12][13]

Team players in the 1997 NFL Draft[edit | edit source]

Player Position Round Pick NFL club
Van Hiles Defensive back 5 141 Chicago Bears
Chris Ward Defensive end 7 205 Baltimore Ravens

[14][15]

Postseason[edit | edit source]

Leading rusher Derick Logan, the SEC Freshman Player of the Year, did not return. Head coach Bill Curry was replaced by Hal Mumme. Sometime-starting quarterback Billy Jack Haskins transferred to Rhode Island after Mumme announced that Tim Couch would take the starting spot.[16]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "1996 Kentucky Wildcats results". jhowell.net. Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. https://www.webcitation.org/5kJByYIFZ?url=http://www.jhowell.net/cf/scores/Kentucky.htm. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  2. 1997 Kentucky Wildcats Football Media Guide, p.209
  3. 1997 Kentucky Wildcats Football Media Guide, p.209
  4. "1996 Kentucky Wildcats scores". jhowell.ent. Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. https://www.webcitation.org/5kJByYIFZ?url=http://www.jhowell.net/cf/scores/Kentucky.htm. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  5. 1997 Kentucky Wildcats Football Media Guide, p.209
  6. "1996 Kentucky Wildcats scores". jhowell.ent. Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. https://www.webcitation.org/5kJByYIFZ?url=http://www.jhowell.net/cf/scores/Kentucky.htm. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  7. 1997 Kentucky Wildcats Football Media Guide, p.168, 209
  8. 1997 Kentucky Wildcats Football Media Guide, p.209
  9. "1996 Kentucky Wildcats scores". jhowell.net. Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. https://www.webcitation.org/5kJByYIFZ?url=http://www.jhowell.net/cf/scores/Kentucky.htm. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  10. 1997 Kentucky Wildcats Football Media Guide
  11. "College Football Reference". jhowell.net. Archived from the original on 2009-10-05. https://www.webcitation.org/5kJBzMXAY?url=http://cfreference.net/cfr/school.s?id=184&season=1976. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  12. 1997 Kentucky Wildcats Football Media Guide, p.168, 209
  13. 1996 Kentucky football scores Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Webarchive/data' not found.
  14. "1997 NFL Draft Listing". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. https://www.webcitation.org/5kJBzy441?url=http://www.pro-football-reference.com/draft/1984.htm. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  15. 1997 Kentucky Wildcats Football Media Guide, p.166
  16. 1997 Kentucky Wildcats Football Media Guide
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