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Wildcats recap a close win against Arkansas

The Wildcats get their first SEC win in front of a rocking Kroger Field crowd.

Drew Brown - A Sea of Blue

Coming off of the three straight losses, you have to tip your cap to the Big Blue Nation for showing up in a major way on Saturday night. Aside from some empty seats in the corners of the upper level, it was pretty full in Kroger Field’s first game since September 14th.

After two weeks of heated debate centered around who would play quarterback for Kentucky, it was Lynn Bowden who took nearly all of the snaps in Saturday’s win.

The first quarter was shaky, but eventually, Bowden was able to get the chains moving. The Junior do-it-all offensive weapon showed that he is more than capable of running this offense and gave much to be optimistic about for the remaining six games on the schedule.

Aside from giving up an inexcusable 74 yard touchdown run to Rakeem Boyd on the Razorbacks’ opening drive the Kentucky defense played fairly well for most of the game, a trend that has become common this season.

The second half saw the Cats’ offense really come to life, as Bowden was able to find his groove. His 24-yard touchdown run with under seven minutes to go in the 4th quarter was one of the more electric plays of the season, and it gave Kentucky a 24-20 lead.

The Razorbacks wouldn’t give up and drove the ball straight down the field on their final drive of the game. But a monster sack by Calvin Taylor on 3rd down helped stuff any hopes of a game-winning scoring drive.

Kentucky’s offense then ran out the clock to cap off a 24-20 win and will now travel to Athens with a record of 3-3.

Here is what a few of the players had to say after the Cats’ 24-20 victory via UK Athletics:

#96 Matt Ruffalo, So., K

On backing your kick up five yards due to the false start…

“Honestly, I was a little more relaxed. If I miss, it won’t look that bad, but I wasn’t really thinking that much, just thinking I have to make this.”

On what range you’re confident from…

“I would say in an actual game I am pretty confident from 55 yards in. So, if I need to step up and make it from that range, I am ready for it.”

On how important your role is to the team…

“Everyone, including me, just has to step up and do their job. On my first one, it sucks that I missed, I pulled it just a little bit, but you just have to forget about it and bounce back and go do your job.”

#10 AJ Rose, Jr., RB

On Eddie Gran wanting the running backs to play patient…

I feel like I was patient but I wasn’t patient enough. There were a couple runs I left out there but that’s just the game of football. We’re going to watch film and I’m going to get better.”

On how proud he is of Lynn Bowden Jr…

“I’m very proud. Lynn went out there and did his thing. Sawyer (Smith) being down and picking up a receiver who played quarterback in high school so you know it is different at this level but he went out there and competed and he played every play.”

On how hard it was to stick with the game plan being down 13-0…

“It was tough but like coach said it’s a game of runs. You have to stay in it, we can’t get down on ourselves and you have to compete to the end. We played all four quarters and that’s what we wanted to do.”

#3 Jordan Griffin, Sr., S

On how hard it was to stay in the game after giving up the long run on the second play of the game…

“That’s just what we challenged ourselves to do. Stay in the game. You know, it’s four quarters, 60 minutes. That’s one thing that we challenged ourselves to do and we have to continue to do so.”

On the Arkansas’ final drive…

“The coaches challenged us to want that for ourselves, to control what you can control. That was the moment we could control what we could control and we had to do so. Everyone stayed together, everyone uplifted each other even when they didn’t make their plays, we continued to push on. We continued to lean on one another and the outcome showed.”

On how special of a night it was honoring Jared Lorenzen…

“An absolute blessing. Just being able to go out there and play for him. That’s one thing we said before the game as well, play for him and his family. That was one thing that we focused on and we feel like he carried us today.”

#14, Ahmad Wagner, Sr., WR

On Lynn Bowden’s near-200 rushing yard day…

“He’s a hard guy to tackle. He’s elusive, he’s smart with the ball, he knows how to make people miss. So, I’m not surprised that he had a lot, I’m just surprised…two hundred, man. That’s a good job.”

On catching Bowden’s passes…

“Good ball. Me and Lynn have thrown a lot of times. Sometimes we don’t have a quarterback and we’re just staying after practice, throwing around and Lynn will be the quarterback and throw to us. So, I know how he throws the ball. He threw two good balls, one of them was my fault and the other one we got a pass interference call, so he threw two good balls to me, I’m not mad at him.

On snapping a three-game losing streak…

“It’s great. It’s a big week for us and we really hit the reset button and we feel good about what we did. It’s good to get that monkey off our back and to move on from our past failures and it’s good to start a new streak and get one under our belt.”

On not having Lynn in the wide receiver room this week…

“It was definitely strange the first day when he was in the quarterback room and we were in the receiver room, and then seeing that in practice, but we got some time with him and we got used to it, and Lynn’s an amazing athlete, amazing player, smart player, so he made the adjustment real easy for us.”