Paschall: Stoops continues to pay dividends for Kentucky in 10th season

Kentucky Athletics photo / Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops receives a celebratory bath after Saturday night’s 26-16 victory at Florida.


When Kentucky hired Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops as its head coach in November 2012, the Wildcats had succumbed to Florida 26 consecutive times, and nobody was about to compare him to Bear Bryant.

By the start of the 2018 season, the losing streak to Florida had swelled to 31, and Stoops possessed a 26-36 record in Lexington.

The investment Kentucky had in Stoops began paying notable dividends four years ago, as the Wildcats broke through with a 10-win season they would match last year. The Wildcats have never won 11 regular-season contests but took a significant step Saturday night, scoring the last 19 points of a 26-16 blanketing of No. 12 Florida in the Swamp.

It was Kentucky's third win over the Gators in five seasons and the second straight, and it earned the Wildcats a No.