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2018 Kentucky Wildcats football
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Citrus Bowl champion
Citrus Bowl, W 27–24 vs. Penn State
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
DivisionEastern Division
Ranking
CoachesNo. 11
APNo. 12
2018 record10–3 (5–3 SEC)
Head coachMark Stoops (6th season)
Offensive coordinatorEddie Gran (3rd season)
Co-offensive coordinatorDarin Hinshaw (3rd season)
Defensive coordinatorMatt House (2nd as DC; 3rd overall season)
Home stadiumKroger Field
(Capacity: 61,000)
Seasons
← 2017
2019 →

Template:2018 SEC football standings The 2018 Kentucky Wildcats football team represented the University of Kentucky in the 2018 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Wildcats played their home games at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky and competed in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They were led by sixth-year head coach Mark Stoops.

The season was one of the most successful in Kentucky's history. In Kentucky's second game of the season, the team ended the then-longest current losing streak in an uninterrupted series in FBS when they defeated Florida for the first time since 1986, ending a losing streak of 31 games.[1] Two weeks later, the Wildcats upset No. 14 Mississippi State, and entered the AP Poll for the first time since 2007. Kentucky ended the regular season tied for second in the SEC East Division with a conference record of 5–3. They were invited to the Citrus Bowl, where they defeated No. 13 Penn State, their first bowl win since 2008. Kentucky ended the season with a record of 10–3 and were ranked 12th in the final AP Poll, the most wins and highest poll finish for the program since 1977.

The team's highly touted defense was anchored by unanimous All-American Josh Allen, who was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and led the conference in sacks and tackles for loss.[2] Allen won several national awards for defensive excellence, including the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, and the Lott Trophy; he became the first Kentucky player to receive any of these awards. On offense, the team was led by first-team All-SEC running back Benny Snell Jr., who finished second in the conference in rushing with 1,449 yards and 16 touchdowns.[2] Offensive lineman Bunchy Stallings was also named first-team all-conference. Quarterback Terry Wilson led the team in passing, finishing with 1,889 yards and 11 touchdowns. Head coach Mark Stoops was named SEC Coach of the Year.

Previous seasonEdit

The Wildcats finished the 2017 season 7–6, 4–4 in SEC play to finish in a tie for third place in the Eastern Division. They were invited to the Music City Bowl where they lost to Northwestern.

OffseasonEdit

Spring gameEdit

The spring game took place on April 13 at Kroger Field.

Date Time Spring Game Site TV Result Attendance
April 13 6:30 p.m. Blue vs. White Kroger FieldLexington, KY SECN Blue 45, White 32
36,090

DeparturesEdit

Name Number Pos. Height Weight Year Hometown Notes
Drew Barker #7 QB 6'3" 222 Junior Orlando, FL Retired
Stephen Johnson #15 QB 6'2" 195 Senior Rancho Cucamonga, California Graduated
Blake Bone #6 WR 6'5" 213 Senior Woodruff, South Carolina Graduated
Garrett Johnson #9 WR 5'11" 175 Senior Winter Park, Florida Graduated
Kayaune Ross #19 WR 6'6" 225 Senior West Chester, Ohio Graduated
Charles Walker #88 WR 5'11" 203 Senior Louisville, Kentucky Graduated
Greg Hart #85 TE 6'5" 245 Senior Dayton, Ohio Graduated
Kyle Meadows #73 OT 6'5" 300 Senior West Chester, Ohio Graduated
Nick Haynes #68 OG 6'3" 300 Senior Niceville, Florida Graduated
Matt Elam #69 DT 6'7" 360 Senior Elizabethtown, Kentucky Graduated
Jacob Hyde #36 DT 6'2" 320 Senior Manchester, Kentucky Graduated
Naquez Pringle #77 DT 6'3" 320 Senior Georgetown, South Carolina Graduated
Denzil Ware #35 DE 6'2" 240 Junior Opp, Alabama Transferred to Jacksonville State
Eli Brown #32 LB 6'2" 208 Sophomore Bowling Green, Kentucky Transferred to WKU
Courtney Love #51 LB 6'2" 245 Senior Youngstown, Ohio Graduated
Kendall Randolph #5 DB 6'0" 183 Senior Tallahassee, Florida Graduated
Marcus Walker #16 DB 6'1" 208 Junior Lake Wales, Florida Kicked off team
Austin MacGinnis #99 K 5'10" 172 Senior Wedowee, Alabama Graduated

2018 signing classEdit

The 2018 football recruiting cycle was the first in which the NCAA authorized two signing periods for high school seniors in that sport. In addition to the traditional spring period starting with National Signing Day on February 7, 2018, a new early signing period was introduced, with the first such period falling from December 20–22, 2017.[3]

Notably, the Wildcats did not sign a single in-state player in their 2018 class—the first time this had happened since 1940.[4]


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