There was much to be desired in the 2022 campaign for Kentucky Football. Atlanta had been the talk around Lexington heading into the season, but the Music City would be the Wildcats' calling card. Even with the disappointing result of the year, there were still some moments that left a great deal of excitement for the Big Blue Nation.
5: Barion Brown Kick Return vs Miami (OH)
With a 13-10 lead coming out of the halftime locker room, Kentucky needed a bolt of energy. The Wildcats caught lightning in a bottle, with Barion Brown kickoff return touchdown to start the second half. This would be a preview of things to come from the explosive freshman, who almost got home on other returns throughout the season.
4: Kentucky Extends Win Streak Vs Louisville
Despite an extremely disappointing season in Lexington, the Governor's cup stayed home, with a 26-13 win over No. 25 Louisville. This victory was a bittersweet one as it would be the last time Will Levis and Chris Rodriguez would take a snap for Big Blue Nation. The loss for Louisville resulted in Scott Satterfield skipping town for Cincinnati.
3: Will Levis Returns Vs Mississippi State
Following a hit directly on his left shoulder, Will Levis wallowed in pain inside a silent Kroger Field. The star quarterback had just returned to the lineup, following a turf toe injury that kept him out of the South Carolina game. Points were already hard to come by and the injury to Levis made things even tougher. A scene out of a movie broke out, as Levis triumphantly ran out of the locker room just a few minutes later and would proceed to lead Kentucky to a victory over No. 16 Mississippi State.
2: Colin Goodfellow Sacrifices Body for Win Vs Missouri
With a brutal October out of the way, Mark Stoops and the Cats were looking to write a better chapter, with an easier November slate. That stretch began with a matchup against Missouri, who was looking to make a late season push at bowl eligibility. As many expected, this game was a struggle for both offenses. With a 21-17 lead late in the fourth quarter, Kentucky lined up to punt it away. The snap flew over Colin Goodfellow's head, but the gutsy punter made the decision to field the ball and get the punt off rather than kicking it through the endzone. This choice resulted in a roughing the kicker penalty that resulted in a first down and a win for Kentucky. Who would have thought that two special teams plays would make this list?
1: Keidron Smith Pick Six Vs Florida
Would anyone else like to return to the excitement in Kentucky athletics from September 10th? Florida was on top of the college football world after upsetting No. 7 Utah in week one. The Gators jumped to 12th in the AP rankings, while Kentucky stayed put at 20th after their week one win. With all eyes on Gainesville in week two, the SEC East foes went back and forth and were knotted at 16 late in the third quarter. As Anthony Richardson and the Gators were driving, Keidron Smith jumped a route and returned an interception for 65 yards for a touchdown. This score would break the tie for the final time on that night and would clinch back-to-back victories for Kentucky over Florida.
With key returners, a revamped coaching staff, and great pickups in the transfer portal, there is hope for many more great moments like these in 2023.