Kentucky Falls At Ole Miss 22-19

Mistakes Doom The Wildcats

The last two times Kentucky faced Ole Miss it ended in heartbreak for the Cats. Unfortunately for the Big Blue Nation, the third time wasn’t the charm. Following a very similar script, UK had its chances but couldn’t get the job done. Let’s look at what went wrong as Kentucky falls to Ole Miss 22-19.

A Really Bad Start

If you are a Kentucky fan the game down in Oxford couldn’t have gotten off to a much worse start. After trading punts, the Rebels cracked the scoreboard first when Zach Evans scampered four yards for a 7-0 lead. The Wildcats drove the ball down the field to the Ole Miss 21. However, the drive stalled,Matt Ruffolo missed a 39-yard field goal and the Cats came away with nothing.

On the ensuing drive, Quinshon Judkins went 48 yards and Lane Kiffin’s club was up 14-0. UK finally got on the scoreboard when Barion Brown took the kick-off all the way to the Ole Miss 15-yard line. Two plays later Chris Rodriguez took it 10 yards for a score. Unfortunately, the extra point was blocked and it was 14-6.

The Wildcat defense held but Ole Miss nailed a punt that was downed at the one-yard line. Will Levis was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone resulting in a safety. On Kentucky’s next drive Levis hit Tayvion Robinson for a score but again the point after was no good and it was 16-12. Jonathan Cruz hit a 53-yard field goal making it 19-12 at the intermission. Despite all the mistakes at this point if you are a Kentucky fan you had to feel pretty good.

Too Many Missed Opportunities

Kentucky got on the board first in the second half on a 15-yard Levis to Jordan Dingle touchdown tying the game at 19. Cruz’s 26-yard field goal late in the third quarter gave the Rebels the lead they would never give up. The Wildcats had their chances but could never get the points they needed. Early in the final period UK went for it on a fourth and three at the Ole Miss 32 but a Levis to Rodriguez pass was incomplete.

After Kentucky held the Rebels on fourth down at the UK five the Cats drove the ball into scoring position. With 2:55 to go Levis scrambled but was hit by Austin Keys at the Ole Miss 18 causing a fumble. The case could have been made for a targeting penalty on the Levis hit, however, it wasn’t called.

The defense held Ole Miss giving the Cats one last chance. Levis hit Brown on a 51-yard pass setting them up with great field position. On the next play, Levis hit Dane Key for an apparent go-ahead touchdown. Unfortunately, it was called back on an illegal motion penalty. Jared Ivey sacked Levis causing another fumble and that was all she wrote as Kentucky falls to Ole Miss 22-19.

Looking Ahead

With the loss, Kentucky drops to 4-1 on the season. In addition, it continues Mark Stoops’ road losing streak against the SEC West. The UK headman is now 0-11 since coming to Lexington. Overall the Cats have dropped 15 consecutive road games versus the west. The last win came back in 2009 when Kentucky beat Auburn 21-14. Next week the Cats look to get back on the smiling side of the scoreboard when they host South Carolina.

As for the Rebels they improve to 5-0 and will undoubtedly jump from 14th when the new Associated Press poll comes out. In addition, they’ll move up from the Texas Bowl in our newest bowl projections. Next week they travel to Vanderbilt for a 4:00 pm game against the Commodores.

Final Thoughts

If you read our game preview, we told you for Kentucky to win they had to limit turnovers and keep Levis from getting sacked. At the end of the day, he was sacked three more times and had two turnovers late in the game. The turnover bug continues to be his biggest issue. Even with all of that, it’s a game Kentucky should have won.

One positive was the return of Rodriguez after a four-game suspension. He ran 19 times for 72 yards and a score. Furthermore, he caught three passes for 40 yards. UK controlled the ball for nearly 37 minutes but still, it wasn’t enough. With the missed field goal and two extra points, it was another rough game for Ruffolo against Ole Miss. Back in 2020, he missed a field goal and the would-be game-tying extra point in a 42-41 loss.

Again Kentucky falls to Ole Miss 22-19 in another game they let get away against the Rebels. Thanks for checking out our recap here at Last Word On College Football. While you are at it make sure to indulge in all the great content.