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Kentucky vs EKU Recap: Wildcats win thriller in OT

WHEW is all I can say about that one.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Teams from BCS conferences have at least one gimme game on their schedule every year. For the Kentucky Wildcats, that was supposed to be this game against the EKU Colonels, but this would be anything but.

The game didn't exactly start out how UK had planned. After a couple of short completions from Patrick Towles to move the offense into EKU territory, Jeff Badet caught a pass at the sideline before an EKU defender punched the ball out for a fumble that the Colonels picked up and returned down to the UK 30-yard line.

After the Cats' defense forced EKU into a 4th-and-2 situation, Melvin Lewis and Cory Johnson got enough push to stop EKU RB Ethan Thomas short to prevent an early score.

After both sides traded punts, the Cats missed a golden opportunity for easy points after Chris Westry dropped an easy pick-six on EKU's next offensive possession. UK's offense got the ball back but proceeded to punt after Towles was sacked by Noah Spence. It was clear UK wasn't completely into this one offensively early on, mainly because of the offensive line failing to get push in the run game and were shaky in pass protection.

That changed towards the end of the first quarter when Towels scrambled out of the pocket and threw across his body for Blake Bone down near the goal line:

Three plays later, Towles snuck it in from the 1-yard line for the score. Just like that, UK overcame its sluggish start to take a 7-0 lead. One odd occurrence that came here was freshman Miles Butler kicked the extra point, but it was then revealed Austin MacGinnis was dealing with a groin injury and would not return.

The ensuing Colonels possession saw them get into UK territory, but would end after Josh Forrest came free on a blitz and forced Bennie Coney into a fumble:

It would be all for not though after Towles threw a jump ball to Dorian Baker that was intercepted by Stanley Absanon. It was a bad decision by Towles as Absanon had position on Baker, and that was Towles' fifth pick of the season.

EKU would capitalize by driving down the field before Coney threw a jump ball that 6-6 Devin Borders hauled in over 6-4 Chris Westry for the six-yard score. The Colonels missed the PAT to keep UK ahead 7-6 with 8:49 left in the second quarter.

After the Cats punted the ensuing possession, EKU got the ball and drove back into UK territory thanks to a 31-yard screen to former UK RB DyShawn Mobley. However, the Colonels would settle for a field goal that Farrington Huguenin blocked to keep it at 7-6 with two minutes left in the first half.

UK wouldn't do anything either after Towles threw an interception to Kiante Northington at the EKU 19-yard line that was just as bad as the first pick. It also let EKu run out the clock and go into halftime trailing just 7-6. This was easily one of, if not the worst half of football UK has played thus year.

The second half wouldn't start much better after EKU returned the opening kickoff to their own 46-yard line. They would move into Wildcats territory before facing a 4th-and-6 at the UK 35-yard line. They went for it and Forrest came free on a blitz, but couldn't wrap up Coney before he ran for a first down. Four plays later, Coney ran it in for a three-ard score to put the Colonels up 13-7.

It was at this point many in Lexington felt this game could very well end in a loss, one week after UK scored their first top-25 win in five years.

Towles would reignite UK on the ensuing possession with a 32-yard strike to Baker and a 36-yard touchdown to Badet that was an absolute beauty to tie the game:

However, Burris would miss the ensuing PAT to leave the game tied at 13-all. Both teams would trade punts before the third quarter ended with UK facing a 3rd-and-10 to open the final period.

Towles would nearly throw his third pick of the game to open the quarter before the Cats punted. EKU would return the short punt 19 yards down to the UK 26. five plays later, Mobley ran it in six yards for the go-ahead score to give the Colonels a 20-13 lead with 12:50 left.

After the Cats went three-and-out, EKU would march right back down the field before Coney hit Borders for the 15-yard score with 7:39 left to give the Colonels a 27-13 lead. At this point, all hope seemed lost for the Cats as they appeared to be giving an FCS team no lose.

But hope would be kept alive after Towles guided the offense right down the field before Jojo Kemp scored on a seven-yard TD run to cut the lead to 27-20 with 4:59 left. Hope was alive, but now the defense needed a stop for UK to have any chance for the rally...and they got it.

The defense forced a three-and-out before Ryan Timmons returned the ensuing short punt down to the EKU 39-yard line. A couple of first downs and a pass interference drawn by Baker near the goal line put the ball at the EKU 12-yard line.

Three straight stops by the Colonels would leave UK facing a 4th-and-2 from the 8-yard line and a minute left in the game. Instead of running it, Towles dropped back and fired a jump-ball into the end zone for Baker he came down with to tie the game one as clutch of a play as you can make.

Oh, and Burris calmly booted in the PAT to tie the game. EKU would run down the clock and send the game into overtime.

OT would open with UK on offense first as Towles and Kemp marched the offense right back down the field before Towles hit Baker on a quick-hitter to give the Wildcats an improbable lead in an improbable game.

Now it was on the defense, but after a 'questionable' pass-interference call on Cody Quinn, EKU had the ball down at the UK 13-yard line. That's when the defense made a big tackle-for-loss on Mobley for a 12-yard loss on 1st-and-10.

Two plays later, EKU found themselves in a 4th-and-12, and Coney would hand it off to receiver Arien Beasley coming across the line of scrimmage and looked to be setting up for a throwback to Coney, but Cory Johnson would sniff it out make the game-clinching tackle to end it and give UK a 34-27 win.

The Cats are now 4-1, and there's nothing else you can really say other than that.