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UK placekicker Matt Ruffalo gets Schnellenberger MVP Award in UK’s 26-13 win over Louisville

Kentucky senior placekicker Matt Ruffalo was perfect on the night, kicking two extra points and a career-high four fields goals, including what proved to be the game-winner, to earn the 2022 Howard Schnellenberger MVP Award in UK’s 26-13 win over Louisville at Kroger Field in Lexington.

The award is presented by the Louisville Sports Commission.

Ruffalo was selected by a vote of the working media covering the game as the MVP of the annual Governor’s Cup matchup between UK and UofL.

Julie Howll, LSC Chief Revenue Officer, UK placekicker Matt Ruffalo, and Greg Fante, LSC Vice President of Sports Development.

A former walk-on playing in his sixth season at UK, Ruffalo connected on field goals of 43 and 29 yards in the second quarter as UK built a 13-7 halftime lead. His 35-yard field goal in the middle of the third quarter extended UK’s lead to 16-7 and proved to be the game-winning score. He added a 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that effectively put the game out of reach.

Turnovers and the Wildcats’ field goal operation, comprised of Ruffalo, senior long snapper Cade Degraw and kicker Chance Poore, were the difference in the game. Louisville outgained UK in total offense and accumulated more first downs, but the Cardinals turned over the ball three times, including a fumble that lead to a UK field goal.

The Wildcats and the Cardinals each finish the regular season with records of 7-5.

The Howard Schnellenberger MVP Award presented annually to the most valuable player on the winning team in the University of Louisville – University of Kentucky football game was created in 2010 by the Louisville Sports Commission (LSC). The Award received the blessing from both athletic departments and honors the late Howard Schnellenberger, who passed away in March 2021. He is the only person inducted into both the UK and UofL athletic halls of fame.

A Louisville native, Schnellenberger was recruited to UK by the legendary Bear Bryant, earned varsity letters in 1952-53-54-55 and was an All-American tight end for the Wildcats under Blanton Collier as a senior. Schnellenberger was an assistant coach at UK under Collier in 1959 and 1960. As the head coach at UofL for 10 years (1985-1994), Schnellenberger is credited with rejuvenating the football program and boosting support for a new, on-campus stadium. He led the Cardinals to victories in the Liberty and Fiesta Bowls.

In 2011, Schnellenberger retired as head coach and director of football operations at Florida Atlantic University, having built the Division I program from scratch starting in 1998. From the 1960s through the 1980s, he was integral to four college national championships and two Super Bowl victories.

His upstart Miami Hurricanes won the 1983 title and he was offensive coordinator under Bryant at Alabama for titles in 1961, 1964 and 1965. At Miami, Louisville and FAU, Schnellenberger-coached teams are a remarkable 6-0 in bowl games. He was the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins under Don Shula, including the 17-0 season in 1972, and assistant under George Allen with the LA Rams.

Famed for his offensive football genius, Schnellenberger influenced a memorable list of quarterbacks, including Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler, Roman Gabriel, Bob Griese, Earl Morrall, Bert Jones, Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde, Mark Richt, Browning Nagel, Jay Gruden, Jeff Brohm, and Rusty Smith.

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