It's officially Louisville hate week in the Commonwealth. After we enjoy time with friends and family on Thanksgiving, we turn our attention to the Governor's Cup. After a disappointing start, Scott Satterfield has saved his job in Louisville, leading the Cardinals to a 7-4 record. On the other side, Kentucky's 4-0 start and #7 ranking in the AP poll had Big Blue Nation thinking about Atlanta in 2022. Fast forward a month and a half later and the Wildcats are 6-5. Despite the records, this rivalry will undoubtedly bring out the best in both teams and could result in one of the more exciting matchups in the series' recent history. Mark Stoops is 4-4 against Louisville in his tenure at Kentucky. Considering he started 1-4 against the other team in Kentucky, its impressive that he could get over .500 on Saturday. Before we get to that, lets reflect on those four wins. Here are my rankings of the Louisville wins in the Stoops era:
With an 8-3 record and the potential for double digit wins on the table, Kentucky left no doubt on the field with their 52-10 win over the lowly Cardinals. Any win over the dirty birds is great, but this was definitely the least exciting of the four.
In the same situation as 2018, Will Levis and the Cats had a tough test against a rising Cardinals squad. After trading blows early, the legs of Will Levis took over as he rushed for four touchdowns on the night. The final score ended up being 52-21, but the game wasn't even that close.
Both Kentucky and Louisville had exceeded expectations in this season, considering the circumstances around the teams. This game was expected to be one of the more evenly matched games in the series. Instead, it turned into a field day for Lynn Bowden and the Kentucky ground game, as the wide receiver turned quarterback rushed for 284 yards and four touchdowns. No, that is not a typo. The sluggish conditions at Kroger Field definitely helped the Wildcats' chances, but this game was just the guys in blue bullying the guys in red, on their way to a 45-13 win in Lexington.
With a 6-5 record and the first bowl berth in Stoops era clinched, Kentucky had nothing to lose as a four-touchdown underdog at Cardinal Stadium. Louisville was coming off of a disappointing loss at Houston that put their playoff hopes to bed. With that, the Cardinals still had a lot to play for with a New Year's Six bowl bid and a Heisman trophy for Lamar Jackson. Despite trailing most of the game, the Wildcats had the game tied at 38 late in the fourth quarter, with stellar play from Stephen Johnson. After a miracle fumble by Jackson, Johnson and the Kentucky offense got the ball back with just enough time to go on a game-winning drive that would lead to a 41-38 win for Kentucky. After all the success Stoops has had over the years, this game still comes to mind as one of the best in his tenure.