Three Football Wildcats Capture SEC Player Of The Week Honors
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Three Kentucky players were honored for their contributions to Kentucky’s 41-38 road upset victory over No. 11 Louisville on Saturday, which gave the Wildcats their first seven-win regular season since 2009.
Kentucky sophomore safety Mike Edwards, junior quarterback Stephen Johnson (pictured) and junior kicker Austin MacGinnis received Southeastern Conference Player of the Week recognition both from the league and independent outlets. The three played critical roles in Kentucky’s first win over the rival Cardinals since 2010.
Edwards, from Cincinnati, Ohio, earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week after intercepting a pair of passes from Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, a leading Heisman Trophy candidate. Edwards’ first interception came late in the third quarter with the score tied at 31, as the Cats’ safety picked off a deep pass down the sideline on the first play of the Cardinals’ possession. His second interception of the game – and third of the season – came on the final play of the game and sealed the Cats’ victory.
Edwards also was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com. He finished the regular season with 93 total tackles, good for second on the team, 4.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and eight pass breakups.
MacGinnis, from Wedowee, Ala., was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time this season. MacGinnis calmly booted the 47-yard game-winning field goal with 12 seconds remaining to cap a day where he moved into second place on the school’s all-time career scoring list with his two field goals and five extra points. He also was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week when he drilled a 51-yard field goal on the last play of the game to beat Mississippi State on Oct. 24.
MacGinnis made 15-of-18 field goals during the regular season, including 5-of-6 from beyond 40 yards, and a pair of game winners.
This is only the third time in school history that Kentucky has had two players honored for the same game. In 2007, linebacker Wesley Woodyard was SEC Defensive Player of the Week and guard Jason Leger was SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week following a win at Arkansas. Earlier this season MacGinnis was SEC Special Teams Player of the Week and running back Benny Snell Jr. the SEC Freshman of the Week after defeating Mississippi State.
Johnson, a junior college transfer from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was named SEC Player of the Week by Gridiron Now after completing 16-of-27 passes for a career-high 338 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinals. He also rushed for a career-high 83 yards on just eight carries to give him 421 yards of total offense in the victory. His touchdown passes went for 75 yards and 63 yards to Garrett Johnson and 35 yards to Dorian Baker.
For the season, Johnson has completed 126-of-231 passes for 1,862 yards with 12 touchdowns and just six interceptions, while also rushing for 278 yards and two scores in 11 games (eight starts).
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught