Kentucky football freshman shine, Stoops makes history in win over Miami

Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Barion Brown (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Barion Brown (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Kentucky football
Kentucky Wildcats place kicker Matt Ruffolo (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /

Kentucky special teams play gets MVP honors in key to Wildcats win

Not often does the special teams get the nod for Most Valuable Player, but in this case, it would be plural in players.

I’m sure Stoops and his coaches had some choice things to say at halftime so Barion Brown took it to heart and opened the second half darting across the field and down the sideline with no Miami player in site once he hit the 50-yard line.

One hiccup was that Brown dropped the ball as he crossed the goalline and it took replay several minutes to determine if it was a fumble before he crossed the goal line. Had that been ruled a fumble Stoops may have had an aneurysm and never made it to see himself make history, but its a learning moment Stoops said.

"“You know, we’ve all seen it on TV with professionals and in college. And he is a great, young man. The first thing he said is, I’m sorry. You know, you’ll be okay….. He’s very respectful. He wants to be great and do good for his team. And he’ll learn. He’s a great, young man. And the good news was is he turned it, he did — you know, it’s different from a fumble because it would be out of — because if you jar it loose, he had control. He chose to do it like that. And a little too close for comfort.”"

For the game, Brown also had another 21-yard kickoff return while Tavion Robinson brought back a pair of punts 25 yards.

Then there is one of the old timers on the team who is in their sixth season and that is kicker Matt Ruffolo. I said in my preview he is one of the under-appreciated players but vital to Kentucky’s success this year.

Ruffolo made good on all three extra points and was perfect on three field goal attempts from 34, 25 and then tying his career-long of 50-yards into a wind that was kicking up thanks to Mother Nature.

For his career, he has made 32 of 38 field goals and 102 of 106 extra points.

We’ll give punter Colin Goodfellow a pass as his first kick was 47 yards, but the other took a massive Miami favorable bounce for a net 24 yards.