The Kentucky Wildcats returned home to face the Missouri Tigers in what was going to be another battle with rain.
Missouri and Kentucky exchanged 3 and outs to start the game, followed up with a missed FG by the Tigers and a fumble by the Cats.
However, the Kentucky defense would step up and force the Tigers to punt, and Lynn Bowden would lead a 7-play, 86-yard scoring drive capped off with a TD run by Kavosiey Smoke to make it 6-0.
After a 3 and out, the Cats would go 45 yards in 7 plays and find the end zone with an AJ Rose scoring run of 20 yards. Unfortunately, a second missed extra point would make it 12-0.
On the next possession, the Cats would get down to the Missouri 25 before stalling. That’s when Mark Stoops turned to Chance Poore for the FG attempt, and he drilled it from 43 yards out, making it 15-0 Cats.
With 30 seconds remaining in the half, Jordan Wright sacked Kelly Bryant and forced a fumble that he recovered.
After a facemask penalty, Bowden found the end zone on a 10-yard TD run to send the Cats into halftime with a 22-0 lead.
It wasn’t a good start to the second half, as the Cats were forced to punt, then gave up a 74-yard score on a screen pass, then fumbled on their next possession with a 22-7 lead.
After each team exchanged punts, Missouri went for it on 4th down on the UK 17, but the defense made a huge stand and forced a turnover on downs.
The Cats would get stopped once again, but Max Duffy saw Missouri only had two rushers, sp the Aussie kept the ball and took off for a 26-yard run and picked up the first down.
That play completely changed the momentum that Missouri had seemingly taken hold of, as the Cats would finish that drive with a 33-yard TD run by Bowden to make it 29-7.
The Kentucky defense would do their job the rest of the way and the Cats would go on to finish a dominating performance with a 29-7 victory.
Thoughts on the game
Lynn Bowden was outstanding
Bowden got the start at QB and once again he put on an outstanding performance.
With the poor weather conditions, Bowden was only asked to throw the ball 7 times and he completed 3 of those for 54 yards. Another pass to Ahmad Wagner drew a pass interference penalty.
But Bowden did his damage on the ground, as he ran the ball 21 times for 204 yards and two scores. He did have two fumbles, but he more than made up with it with several dazzling runs against a Missouri team that had the 24th-ranked rushing defense entering Week 9.
Like we saw against Arkansas, Bowden took this game over and continues to be a beast on the field. He has been a lot of fun to watch under center these last 3 games and has saved what was quickly turning into a lost season for the Cats.
Max Duffy is incredible
Duffy has been outstanding all season and that continued in this one.
Not only did Duffy hit a career-long 70 yard punt in an absolute downpour, he also made what might have been the most important play of the game when he took off on 4th down to pick up the 1st on a 26 yard run.
Multiple times this season, Duffy has completely flipped the field position and has been a major factor in the Cats’ success. The defense is playing great, but it’s a lot easier to keep opponents off the scoreboard when they’re constantly starting drives deep in their own territory.
Chris Oats shines in place of Kash Daniel
Kentucky’s defense took a hit prior to the game when it was revealed that senior linebacker Kash Daniel would not play. While Daniel does struggle in pass coverage, he is a good run defender, and Missouri entered the game ranked 26th nationally in rushing offense.
That meant Chris Oats would start in Daniel’s place, and the sophomore did not disappoint. He finished with a team-high 8 tackles (6 solo) and really helped solidify the middle of Kentucky’s defense.
Even when Daniel returns, Oats needs to start playing more. He has the potential to become a star sooner rather than later.
The defense was stout all night
The defense was a little shaky to begin the year, but they have improved each week throughout the season.
That continued in this one as they held Missouri in check majority of the night only giving up one big play that went to the house.
Besides the one slipup, Missouri struggled to move the ball, and the defensive line dominated the Tigers’ offensive line.
The real surprise has been the secondary, which hadn’t allowed a 40+ yard pass play coming into this game, one of only six FBS team to accomplish that.
Seeing the improvement is very encouraging with such a young defense, and it will be fun to see how much more they improve the rest of the season.
Now a bye week before the final push
The Cats improved to 4-4 on the year with this big win, and they now have a week off to get rested and prepare for what is still to come.
This will allow injured players like Kash Daniel, Phil Hoskins, Jordan Wright and even Sawyer Smith to continue getting more healthy and close to 100% as the final four-game stretch begins.
Kentucky still needs to find 2 wins to become bowl eligible and they will have matchups with the Tennessee Volunteers, Vanderbilt Commodores, UT Martin Skyhawks and Louisville Cardinals to get those 2 wins.
This win over Missouri puts the Cats in a really good spot going into the final stretch, and frankly, they should be shooting higher than that. An eight-win season is now very much in play.
Now, here are the postgame notes and milestones via UK Athletics:
KENTUCKY POSTGAME NOTES
Missouri at Kentucky
Kroger Field at C.M. Newton Grounds, Lexington, Ky.
Oct. 26, 2019
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 29, Missouri 7
Team Records and Series Information
- Kentucky is 4-4, 2-4 in the Southeastern Conference. Missouri is 5-3, 2-2 in the league.
- Kentucky leads the series, 7-3, and has won five in a row.
- Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats have an open date before hosting Tennessee on November 9.
- Kentucky rushed for 297 yards tonight. UK is 35-0 in home games since 1985 when it rushes for at least 250 yards.
- Kentucky has seven consecutive wins in October home games for the first time since 1953-1955.
- Kentucky is now 10-5 in its last 15 home SEC games, best since a 10-5 stretch from 1953-57.
- Kentucky has allowed 34 points or less in 22 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation.
- 22 straight games at 34 points or less is the longest for Kentucky since a 45-game streak from 1976-80.
- Kentucky held Georgia and Missouri scoreless in the first half.
- The last time UK held consecutive opponents scoreless in the first half was UT Martin and Ohio in 2014.
- The last time UK held consecutive SEC opponents scoreless in the first half was in 1988 vs. Florida and Vanderbilt.
- Kentucky broke open a scoreless game with 22 points in the second quarter. It was the most in any quarter vs. an SEC opponent since 24 vs. Georgia in the second quarter in 2014.
- Missouri’s longest pass play was 74 yards. Kentucky had entered tonight’s game as one of only six FBS teams that had not allowed a pass play of 40 yards this season.
- Kentucky gave up one touchdown pass tonight. UK entered the game tied for first among FBS teams with the fewest touchdown passes allowed, three.
- Kentucky had four sacks tonight, tying the season high of four vs. Toledo.
- This was Mark Stoops’ 40th win at Kentucky, moving him into sole possession of fifth place on the school’s all-time list.
- This was Mark Stoops 30th win at Kroger Field/Commonwealth Stadium, second-most in the current stadium.
- The missed extra point in the second quarter ended a streak of 129 consecutive made extra points.
- UK’s game captains: OG Logan Stenberg, DE T.J. Carter, LB Josh Paschal and athlete Lynn Bowden Jr.
- Junior athlete Lynn Bowden Jr. started at quarterback and rushed 21 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns, including a 46-yard rush. Bowden went 3-of-7 passing for 54 yards.
- Bowden now has the top single-game rushing performance this season by an SEC player. Previous was 197 by Kylin Hill (Miss. State) at Louisiana (Aug. 31).
- This was his second 100-yard rushing game, also 196 vs. Arkansas. It’s the most 100-yard rushing games by a UK quarterback in a three-game stretch since Mike Fanuzzi had two in a three-game stretch in 1974.
- Bowden’s 44 -yard completion to Bryce Oliver was a career long.
- He is the second UK quarterback with two career 100-yard rushing games against SEC opponents since Derrick Ramsey, who had three in 1975-77.
- He is the second UK player in school history with at least two career games of at least 195 rushing yards. Moe Williams had three such games.
- He is the seventh different UK player with 200 rushing yards in a game. It is the ninth time in school history that a player has had 200 rushing yards in a game.
- He is the fifth different UK player with 200 rushing yards in an SEC game.
- He is the third different UK player with 200 rushing yards in an SEC home game, and the first since Artose Pinner vs. Vanderbilt in 2002.
- Bowden’s 204 rushing yards tonight were the most a UK player has ever recorded against Missouri. The previous high was 192 by Benny Snell, Jr., in 2016.
- When Bowden was injured in the second quarter, junior quarterback Sawyer Smith saw his first action since the South Carolina game. He completed 1-of-1 passes for nine yards. Smith returned late in the fourth quarter but did not attempt a pass.
- Junior running back A.J. Rose rushed 15 times for 51 yards, including a touchdown.
- Rose now has 987 career rushing yards.
- Redshirt freshman WR Bryce Oliver hauled in a career-long 44-yard pass in the second quarter, setting up a touchdown.
- Sophomore linebacker Chris Oats led the team with eight tackles, six solo.
- Sophomore linebacker DeAndre Square had seven tackles, including five solo tackles.
- Senior defensive lineman Calvin Taylor had a pair of quarterback sacks, the first multi-sack game of his career.
- Redshirt freshman kicker Chance Poore saw his first action since the Florida game and made a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter. He added two extra points later in the game.
- True freshmen making their first appearance were LBs Jared Casey, J.J. Weaver and K.D. McDaniel.
- Junior punter Max Duffy was very impressive for the Wildcats, punting five times for 262 yards and a 52.4 average.
- Duffy had a career-best 70-yard punt in the game and pinned Mizzou inside its own 20-yard line three times.
- Duffy’s 70-yard punt was the longest by a UK player in an SEC game since Ryan Tydlacka vs. Ole Miss in 2010 (73 yards).
- Duffy also scampered 26 yards for a first down on a fake punt. It kept the drive alive that set up Kentucky’s final touchdown.