Kentucky football to face Iowa in 2022 Music City Bowl


Isabel McSwain

Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops coaches during the Kentucky vs. No. 25 Louisville football game on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 26-13. Photo by Isabel McSwain | Staff

Cole Parke, Sports Editor

Kentucky football was confirmed to be playing in the Music City Bowl on Sunday, marking the seventh consecutive bowl game appearance for the Cats under head coach Mark Stoops.

The Wildcats will face off against the Iowa Hawkeyes, marking the second consecutive bowl game in which the two will face off.

The Music City Bowl is hosted inside Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans, in Nashville, Tennessee, and will take place on Dec. 31, 2022.

The bowl appearance will mark the seventh consecutive bowl appearance for Kentucky under Stoops and will have the potential to be the fifth straight postseason victory for the Wildcats.

After starting his tenure at Kentucky with a combined record of 12-24 in his first three seasons, Stoops led his team to a 7-6 record in 2016, earning a spot in the TaxSlayer Bowl, which it lost 33-18 to Georgia Tech.

Since that postseason appearance Kentucky has never looked back, going a combined 47-28 in every season since.

Kentucky came up short in the Music City Bowl, losing 24-23 to Northwestern, in 2017, which still stands as UK’s most recent postseason defeat.

The Wildcats finished the 2018 season 10-3 after winning the Citrus Bowl 27-24 over Penn State, which kicked off the postseason winning streak.

Since then, the Cats won the 2019 Belk Bowl 37-30 over Virginia Tech, the 2020 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl 23-21 over NC State and, most recently, the 2021 Vrbo Citrus Bowl 20-17 over Iowa.

Despite the potential for a fifth consecutive postseason win, the 2022 football season was one of disappointment for Kentucky fans, with the team projected by many to finish as anywhere from 9-3 to 11-1.

The Wildcats finished the season 7-5, defeating five bowl eligible teams and losing to four bowl eligible teams, including No. 1 Georgia, who is set to face Ohio State in the College Football Playoffs.


Bowl games of UK’s opponents:

-HomeTown Lenders Bahamas Bowl: Miami Ohio v UAB (11:30 a.m. EST, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022)

Kentucky defeated Miami Ohio 37-13 to kick off the 2022 season. The RedHawks finished the year 6-6.

-Wasabi Fenway Bowl: Cincinnati v Louisville (11 a.m. EST, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022)

The Wildcats finished its regular season with a 26-13 win over then No. 25 Louisville. The Cardinals finished the year 7-5.

-SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl: Florida v No. 14 Oregon State (2:20 p.m. EST, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022)

UK secured a 26-16 win over then No. 12 Florida in the second week of the 2022 season, which boosted UK from No. 20 all the way up to No. 9. The Gators finished the season 6-6.

-Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl: Wake Forest v Missouri (6:30 p.m. EST, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022)

The Cats defeated Missouri 21-17 in their final road game of the season. The Tigers finished 2022 6-6.

-TaxAct Texas Bowl: Texas Tech v Ole Miss (9 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022)

Kentucky suffered its first loss of the season against Ole Miss in Oxford, coming up short 22-19. The Rebels finished the season 8-4.

-TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: No. 21 Notre Dame v No. 19 South Carolina (3:30 p.m. EST, Friday, Dec. 30, 2022)

The Wildcats suffered their first home loss of the season against South Carolina, being taken down 24-14. The Gamecocks finished the year 8-4.

-Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 6 Tennessee v No. 7 Clemson (8 p.m. EST, Friday, Dec. 30, 2022)

Tennessee throttled Kentucky in the Cats’ worst loss of the season. The final score ended up being 44-6. The Volunteers finished the season 10-2.

-College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 4 Ohio State v No. 1 Georgia (8 p.m. EST, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022)

Georgia was ultimately the final team Kentucky lost to in the regular season, being conquered 16-6. The Bulldogs finished the regular season 13-0 as SEC Champions.

-ReliaQuest Bowl: No. 22 Mississippi State v Illinois (Noon EST, Monday, Jan. 2, 2022)

Mississippi State went down as Kentucky’s best win of the season, with the Cats defeating then No. 16 MSSU 27-17. The Bulldogs finished the season 8-4.