LEXINGTON —  Mark Stoops didn’t grow up idolizing No. 22. He wasn’t in the stands for any of Jared Lorenzen’s 78 touchdown passes. He wasn’t glued to his television marveling at how Lorenzen had just escaped the clutches of a pass rusher yet again.

No, Stoops wasn’t one of the countless members of the Big Blue Nation whose imaginations were captured by the record-setting quarterback. It didn’t him long after his arrival at Kentucky to figure out why the Hefty Lefty is so loved to this day.

“He’s a beloved player here and rightfully so,” Stoops said. “I think because any player, you’re going to have respect for if they go out there and lay it on the line for your team week in and week out.”

Nobody did that like Lorenzen.

For four years, the UK Athletics Hall of Famer poured everything he had into every play of his 41 college starts. He set six NCAA records, four SEC records and 11 school records for passing and total offense in that time, but numbers fail to capture who he was and what he meant.

“I think any time you go back and watch any of his film and see the things that he’s done, and trying to put the weight of the team on his shoulders and running it, passing, spinning around, tossing it, any which way to make plays for his team, it’s hard not to admire that,” Stoops said. “I think that’s what everybody remembers.”

Three months after his untimely death, that’s still true. This week those remembrances will be extra poignant, as Kentucky will host Jared Lorenzen Day as the Wildcats (2-3, 0-3 Southeastern Conference) take on Arkansas (2-3, 0-2 SEC) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Kroger Field.

“It’s a special day,” Stoops said. “It’s a special week to remember Jared Lorenzen and we’re proud to honor him this week. One of the most beloved and iconic players to ever play at the University of Kentucky. And it will be an honor for us to recognize him and recognize his family this week.”

It’s fitting Arkansas is UK’s opponent for the game, as arguably Lorenzen’s most memorable game came against the Razorbacks during his senior season. Down 21-7 in the third quarter, UK rallied and forced overtime – seven periods of it, to be exact. Lorenzen accounted for five total touchdowns in the game – including three rushing scores in overtime – as UK lost a 71-63 thriller.

Most players on both rosters were too young to watch that game, but Stoops intends to educate his team about the legendary quarterback this week. He plans to show Lorenzen highlights in team meetings leading up to late this week when Kentucky will extend a practice invite to Lorenzen’s family.

“I would sure like to bring them and introduce them to the team and talk to his son and daughter and his mom and dad and just let them know that we’re thinking about them and recognize them and really want to play well for him,” Stoops said.

With a bye week last week, Kentucky will be rested and ready come Saturday night. The Cats were already going to be eager to end a three-game losing streak, but honoring an all-time great figures to add an extra edge.

“Our team is going to be hungry to play this game,” Stoops said. “It’s been a tough stretch, but this gave us an opportunity to hit the reset button, kind of reload, and get ready for this next phase of the season.”

What you need to know

Kentucky returns to Kroger Field looking to end a three-game losing streak when Arkansas comes calling on Saturday night. The game is set for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff and will air on the SEC Network.

Both teams are coming off an open week, which could not have come at a better time for the Wildcats. The extra time allowed the Cats to regroup and re-boot as they enter October and near the midpoint of the season.

Scouting Arkansas

• Arkansas is 2-3 on the season and 0-2 in SEC play.

• The Razorbacks are coming off a 31-27 loss to old Southwest Conference rival Texas A&M in Arlington but, like Kentucky, had a bye last week.

• Heach coach Chad Morris is in his second season with the Hogs and owns a 4-13 record during his tenure. Combined with his time at SMU he is 18-35 in five seasons overall.

• Known for his explosive offenses, Morris has helped guide the Hogs to 431 yards per game and a passing game that has hovered around 300 passing yards per game this season. They are currently averaging 289.8 passing yards per contest.

• QBs Nick Starkel and Ben Hicks have completed 57.6 percent of their passes with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.

• RB Rakeem Boyd has rushed for 483 yards and three scores on 91 carries. He is averaging 96.6 yards per game.

• WRs Mike Woods and Trey Knox each have 21 receptions and two touchdowns.

• PK Connor Limpert is 8-of-10 on field goals, including 4-of-6 over 40 yards.

• The Hogs’ defense has registered 15 sacks and 31 tackles for loss this season, while forcing seven fumbles.

Series vs. Arkansas

• Kentucky leads the all-time seris 4-3, including 2-1 in Lexington.

• This will be the first meeting since 2012.

• The teams first met in 1998 in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the Razorbacks pulling out a 27-20 win.

• Kentucky would win the next two games in 1999 and 2002.

• In 2003, the teams played a seven-overtime thriller with Arkansas eventually pulling out a 71-63 victory.

• That game is the inspiration for this week’s “One Hell of a Game” tagline that honors former UK quaretrback Jared Lorenzen, who passed away over the summer. Lorenzen famously yelled that fans who were leaving early with the Cats trailing before he led a comeback that sent the game deep into the night.

• In 2007, the Cats went into Fayetteville and upset the Darren McFadden/Felix Jones-led Hogs 42-29.

• The last two meetings in Lexington have been white-knucklers, including the 2003 overtime affair and UK’s 21-20 win in 2008.

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