Mark Stoops was the best coach in college football last Saturday. Those aren’t the John Wall shots talking, either.
Each week Barton Simmons from 247 Sports highlights the best and worst coaching performances from around college football. Mark Stoops was the best of the best after leading the Wildcats to a dominant 34-7 victory over Tennessee at Neyland Stadium.
Kentucky won in Knoxville for the first time since 1984 on Saturday. That’s 17 straight losses that came to an end in resounding fashion when the Wildcats posted a 34-7 upset win. The box score wasn’t nearly as lopsided as the scoreboard. Kentucky only outgained Tennessee by seven yards but the Wildcats shut Tennessee out in the second half, forced three interceptions, returned two for touchdowns and had nearly eight minutes of time of possession advantage in controlling the game.
Stoops’ tenure at Kentucky has been characterized by his ability to find ways to win. The game against Tennessee was a microcosm of that. In the first half, it was about converting turnovers into points; all 17 first-half points came off of three interceptions. But the second half was about game control. Kentucky limited the Vols to four second half possessions, one in the fourth quarter, established a 21:03 to 8:57 advantage in time of possession and sucked the oxygen out of the game for the Vols. Kentucky has now won by 22 and 24 points in consecutive games without topping 300 yards of total offense in either.
Much history was made in the win over Tennessee. Stoops could secure a new spot in the UK record books this weekend. A win over Missouri would improve Stoops’ head coaching record to 47-46, moving him into a tie with Fran Curci for the second-most wins in school history. It would also give him a career record above .500, something no other UK coach has done since Bear Bryant (60-23-5) roamed the sidelines.