After the Kentucky Wildcats scored a program-shifting win over the No. 25 Missouri Tigers, there's a lot to celebrate and praise regarding the Cats.
However, there were some glaring errors and developments during Saturday's 21-13 win. That means it's time for the good, bad and ugly from this game.
Offense Wakes Up
Between the second half of the South Carolina game, the whole Florida Game, and the first half against Missouri, UK's offense had mustered up a grand total of 16 points across eight quarters, or two full games. That's horrific, and it that was the case on the field as this unit simply looked lost for much of those eight quarters, but they finally broke through for 14 second-half points to top Missouri.
After being a key reason why UK suffered a crushing loss to Florida last week, Patrick Towles was equally responsible in the Cats' 23-13 win over a top-25 Missouri team. Towles went 22-for-27 passing for 249 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing for 21 yards and a score.
It was the first time UK beat a top-25 team since 2010 when Towles was still in high school, so you can imagine how big this win was to him.
Towles also left no doubt he's the QB after many were calling for Drew Barker to at least get some snaps this week. The junior will certainly be enigmatic with his play at times, but when he's on, there may be only three of four QBs in the SEC better than him and most of them aren't in the SEC East.
Success without Boom
If you would have told me Boom Williams would finish this game with 21 rushing yards and seven receiving yards, I would have said there's almost no chance UK would win.
Well, UK did actually win with very little from their best player as Boom was held in check by a strong Tigers defense. This helped open the game up for other Cats to make plays, and that's exactly what happened. Jojo Kemp gained 66 yards on 13 carries, Garrett Johnson had 119 yards on six catches, and Towles totaled 270 yards with three scores.
It's great to see UK's offense can be efficient and score points without their best player having a good game. As good as Boom is, he's going to have games like these in the SEC, and the Cats showed they can win when he does.
The Juice and the Baker
As mentioned above, sophomore receiver Garrett 'Juice' Johnson had a big game in sparking UK's offense to 21 points and an eight-point win. Sophomore wideout Dorian Baker also chipped in five catches for 51 yards as those two were focal points in UK's offense in this win.
Oh, and Baker made one of the greatest spinning one-handed catches you'll ever see. These two continue to improve as they become go-to options for Patrick Towles.
Through three games, true freshman C.J. Conrad was targeted just one time by Patrick Towles, and it was an incomplete pass into double coverage in the end zone at South Carolina. Against Missouri, Conrad caught three passes for 55 yards and one touchdown. His first career reception went for 28 yards on a 3rd-and-two play in the second quarter.
Conrad added two more catches during UK's go-ahead scoring drive in the third quarter. His final reception of the game went for a 24-yard touchdown to give the Wildcats a 14-10 lead. Maybe this will help finally get him more involved int he passing game going forward. This offense will be very scary is he does.
This was another game to forget for Ryan Timmons, The junior from Franklin County has just four catches for 62 yards in four games this year after falling to the back end of the receiver rotation, and his muffed kickoff late in the fourth quarter likely has him on thin ice as a returner.
It's a sad fall to see for someone who looked like such a promising prospect his freshman season and early in his sophomore campaign. Unfortunately, he has just nine catches for 105 yards and no scores over his last seven college games and isn't doing much as a returner either.
Jordan Swindle Injury
You never want to see a guy lose his starting job to injury, but it will be hard to keep Cole Mosier out after he replaced Jordan Swindle early in Saturday's game. Swindle came out of the game after the first offensive series came out with a groin injury that kept him out the rest of the game.
Apparently, Swindle suffered the injury earlier in the week and injured it further against Missouri. It's unclear how long he'll be out, but Mosier played well in relief of him. This also came one week after Swindle was embarrassed by Florida and simply looked like someone who shouldn't be a starting tackle in the SEC.
Kentucky failed to reach a bowl game last year after coming up one win short. What really haunted UK about last year were the painful number of dropped interceptions they had in close losses that could have been the difference between 5-7 and 7-5.
Against Missouri, the Cats dropped two potential interceptions on Missouri's final drive that could have sealed the win at 21-10. Not helping the cause was senior cornerback Cody Quinn. who extended his streak of career starts without an interception to 28 games when he couldn't haul in a 2nd-and-10 Matty Mauk pass with six minutes left in the game.
Later in the drive with Mizzou in the red zone, linebacker Ryan Flannigan had a horrendous drop in the end zone that couldn't have been easier to bring down. These are going to cost UK a game this season if they don't get it fixed.
The Three Blind Mice (a.k.a the Refs)
For the second week in a row, Kentucky was graced with a referee crew that turned a blind eye to a sickening amount of offensive holding. Most of it was on Missouri's side as was the case with Florida, but the Cats had several plays of their own which holds were missed by the refs.
Point being, no one wants to see a game full of flags, but in turn, no one wants to see a game where offenses get away with frequent illegal blocks.
Then, there was the case of the phantom pass-interference call on Blake in the fourth quarter during A.J. Stamps' interception. The officials claimed McClain grabbed the other guy’s jersey, which wiped out a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown by Stamps.
Thankfully, the defense stood tall and recovered, but that could have been a call that cost UK a program-shifting win.