History shows that home-opening football games go well for UK


Fans hold pom-poms in the air and cheer during the game against Georgia on Saturday, November 5, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Hunter Mitchell | Staff

Chris Leach

One of the greatest days of the week at UK is rapidly approaching, and it has many fans buzzing.

It’s not Big Blue Madness, it’s not DanceBlue, it’s Caturdays. The first Caturday of UK football’s highly anticipated season is only single digit days away, and many fans are excited to experience the pregame festivities that will take place outside of Kroger Field.

However, fans will gather around Kroger Field for one specific reason to watch a football game. The tailgating and spending time with friends is enjoyable, but without the football game, everyone would take their pregame festivities elsewhere.

So how excited should fans be for the home-opening football game? UK’s football team is on the rise and they’ll be playing a team that they’ll certainly be favored to beat.

According to past history as well, fans should be very excited for the home-opening football game.

In the last 44 years of UK home-openers, the Cats are 33-10-1. The one tie came in 1986, when the Cats and Rutgers couldn’t break a 16-16 tie in front of over 57,000 fans.

In recent history, the Cats have been very good in home-openers. Despite last year’s loss to Southern Mississippi, UK had won the previous 10 home-openers, seven of which were victories over 30 points.

One of the victories in that 11-year span was a 40-point win over Eastern Kentucky in 2007. The Cats’ home-opener this season is against the Colonels, who UK has had success with in Kroger Field’s history.

Since 1973, UK has gone 4-0 against EKU in home games, and 2-0 in home-openers against EKU. The other home-opening victory over the Colonels came in 1998 when the Cats beat EKU 52-7.

It’s proven that UK performs well when they play in Lexington for the first time in their season, but what’s a season-opening win without having the fans scream with excitement from the stands?

Despite the excitement that surrounds the home-opener, UK has struggled to get fans in the seats for the first home game of the year. In the last 10 years, the home-opener was a top-three most attended game only twice.

However, one of those instances was last year, when large amounts of hype surrounded the team with goals of making it back to a bowl game.

With UK making their first bowl game in six seasons last year, the hype surrounding the football team this year is bigger than recent history, meaning it wouldn’t be a surprise to see many fans pack Kroger Field for UK’s home-opener on Sept. 9 against EKU.

Kickoff time for the game is set for noon, and will be broadcasted on the SEC Network.