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Football to play in primetime in 2013: UK-MSU selected by ESPN for Thursday kickoff

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Kentucky football will be playing under the lights in Mark Stoops' first season as head coach.

On Tuesday, ESPN announced that it selected UK's game at Mississippi State to be its College Football Thursday Primetime game on Oct. 24. The matchup in Starkville, Miss., will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The timing works out well based on UK's schedule. Teams often face a short week of preparation leading into Thursday night games, but the Wildcats have a bye week leading into the primetime showdown following a game against national champion Alabama on Oct. 12. Mississippi State also has a bye week prior to the Thursday game following the Bulldogs' outing against Bowling Green.

The game is UK's first on a Thursday since 2011 vs. Western Kentucky University and first Southeastern Conference game on Thursday since 2007 at South Carolina. From the release announcing the game, here is UK's history of six previous Thursday night contests on the ESPN family of networks.

  • On Sept. 23, 1993, Kentucky scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to notch a come-from-behind 21-17 win at South Carolina.  Randy Wyatt scored on a 64-yard run with 11:47 to play and Michael Woodfork put the Wildcats ahead with a one-yard plunge with 4:55 left.  The Wildcat defense stopped USC's final two possessions on a fumble recovery and an interception in the end zone.  The win was viewed as a turning point of the season as the Wildcats eventually advanced to the 1993 Peach Bowl.
  • On Sept. 29, 1994, Auburn took control early in defeating the Wildcats, 44-14, at Auburn.
  • On Nov. 4, 1999, Mississippi State kicker Scott Westerfield nailed a 45-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs a 23-22 win in Starkville.  It was a heartbreaking loss for the Wildcats, who were one win away from bowl eligibility and also missed a chance to upset the undefeated Bulldogs.  UK bounced back, however, with a win at Vanderbilt that sent the Cats to the Music City Bowl.
  • On Oct. 9, 2003, Kentucky trailed 27-7 in the fourth quarter at South Carolina.  Shane Boyd, subbing for the injured Jared Lorenzen, led two touchdown drives to pull within 27-21.  The Cats got the ball back late in the game but South Carolina held on for the win.
  • On Oct. 4, 2007, in a matchup of top-20 teams, host South Carolina bested Kentucky, 38-23, handing the Wildcats their first loss of the season. UK recovered in its next game and dispatched No. 1-ranked LSU.
  • On Sept. 1, 2011, Kentucky opened the season with a 14-3 win against WKU at Nashville's LP Field.  The Wildcat defense allowed only a field goal, while Josh Clemens ran for a 14-yard touchdown and Morgan Newton threw a 31-yard TD pass to La'Rod King.

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