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UK’s win over Mississippi State in 2016 may have saved Stoops’ job

There have been plenty of big games in the Mark Stoops era, but the biggest may be Kentucky’s win over Mississippi State in 2016. Yesterday on The Paul Finebaum Show, ESPN college football reporter Marty Smith said Stoops told him he knew he had to beat Mississippi State or he’d be fired.

The quotes, via 247 Sports’s Derek Terry:

“What about what Mark Stoops said about winning? There was a crossroads in 2014 (it was actually 2016), he told us, he knew — what game was it? (Mississippi State) either I’m winning or I’m fired. He knew it. I’m winning or I’m fired.”

Finebaum agreed, recalling how anxious Stoops was on set of SEC Nation that day.

“We were up there that weekend and he came by the show. I’m not going to use any cliches about how tight he was, but he was like sweating the day before because you couldn’t avoid the subject. He barely won that game.”

Kentucky started that season 0-2 with losses to Southern Miss at home and Florida in Gainesville. The Cats were 3-3 heading into the Mississippi State game, but desperately needed a win to keep bowl hopes alive; thanks to Austin MacGinnis’ 51-yard field goal as time expired, they got it.

Forget Christmas cards; MacGinnis better get a present every year from the Stoops family.

Listen to Marty Smith, Ryan McGee, and Paul Finebaum discuss the moment below around the 10:30 mark:



Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

16 Comments for UK’s win over Mississippi State in 2016 may have saved Stoops’ job

  1. cats646
    10:07 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

    So glad we won that!!

  2. runningunnin.454
    10:17 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

    Miss Mac already. He would have beaten Florida last year, but for a crappy holding call behind the play.
    That would not have been called on the Gators.
    To beat Florida, we’ll have to beat the officials, too.

    • cats646
      10:25 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

      Completely agree rg.

    • Booby Petrino
      10:31 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

      we have to beat the officials and the curse too, it seems!

    • ClutchCargo
      10:35 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

      If it’s not the play clock, it’s some random holding penalty that had no effect on the play. If they really are out to get us, are we still paranoid?

    • CatstopWontstop
      4:52 pm July 18, 2018 Permalink

      The play clock expiring? A well coached team plays the play until they hear the whistle, instead they got stuck complaining about the play clock while Florida’s best receiver scored a TD to take the game into another extra session.

      The holding call? There were only 2 instances in which a Florida receiver was UNCOVERED on a 3rd or 4th down in the second half on plays that led to two touchdowns, but yeah it was the holding call.

      I’d have preferred Kentucky lost that game to MSU if this article is true.

  3. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    10:22 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

    The amount of content between the end of the article and the comment section is too damn high!

    • foamfinger
      11:33 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

      I agree. They should just bite the bullet and hire some freelancer to change the layout of the page. I appreciate the fact that they need to have the comments visible, but at least on a computer web browser, they could put the ads on the right side instead of in line with the story column.

    • Mathlete
      1:32 pm July 18, 2018 Permalink

      Behold: the magic of AdBlock Plus. The incredible Chrome extension that blocks the most obnoxious ads for you! Technology is great when you know how to use it!

  4. Rabbi Li
    10:33 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

    I’m glad that ball went through the uprights. Any Kentucky win counts.

    Now let’s win by acting like 4-4 in the conference isn’t the ceiling (or winning).

  5. ClutchCargo
    10:37 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

    Was this the same game where all the stupid rumors (which KSR even kind of added fuel to the fire) about Stoops were flying around all day prior to the game?

    • Sarahvah
      11:38 am July 18, 2018 Permalink


  6. UKFootballYall
    11:45 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

    Damn glad we won that game! Is it appropriate to start setting higher expectations for year 6 of the Stoops regime, beyond mere bowl eligibility?

  7. trumpetguy
    11:46 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

    This is the thin ice that is UK football. Can’t get a single player worthy of even being drafted in last few NFL drafts. Guy with a cool nickname like “Boom” was basically told “no thanks” by NFL teams. Recruiting was supposedly greatly improved, but UK skill guys on offense especially, aren’t to be found on very many NFL rosters. Now it appears it took a 51 yard FG as time expired to be a career changing moment!? Sell that to a HS senior when discussing playing at UK. Only winning games against the upper tiered SEC teams on a consistent basis will change the perception of UK football.

  8. Saul T. Nuts
    12:39 pm July 18, 2018 Permalink

    If Stoops can completely turn this thing around and start winning 10 games a year, then that kick will be the most important play in UK football history.

  9. BluKudzu
    1:26 pm July 18, 2018 Permalink

    Saved his job? Any other SEC team would have sent him packing a long time ago. Mitch is patient, and still looks forward to great things. I am hoping Mitch does not think 6 or 7 win seasons are “great results”. I am hoping Mitch has a goal of getting to the SEC championship. That would be a “Great Thing”. But how long will he wait, and will Stoops get it together and make it happen?
    This year Stoops has healthy full roster of his players. Plenty of experience, and some talent at the positions.
    If it does not happen this year, then when?
    Is 6 or 7 wins ok?