Kentucky Defeats Missouri 21-17

Kentucky Defeats Missouri 21-17: The Wildcats are bowl eligible for a seventh straight year after rallying for a road win in Columbia.

Cats Get Back On Track

Usually when Kentucky and Missouri meet on the gridiron two things can be expected. One, the game won’t be pretty and two, it goes down to the wire. On a cold, windy day in Columbia, this one was no different. The Wildcats built a lead, fell behind then rallied to win. It certainly wasn’t pretty but at the end of the day it goes down as a “W”. Let’s break it down as Kentucky defeats Missouri 21-17.

Finally a Good Start

For much of the 2022 season, Kentucky’s been very slow getting out of the gate. However, on Saturday it was a little different. The UK defense forced Missouri to a three-and-out. Following the punt, the Cats went 71 yards in eight plays, the last nine on a pass from Will Levis to Dane Key putting Kentucky up 7-0.

On the ensuing series, Kentucky held the Tigers to a 49-yard field goal attempt from Harrison Mevis. One of the best kickers in the league proved he was human and missed. Unfortunately for the BBN, they had twelve men on the field. Given a second chance Mevis nailed it from 44 and it was 7-3.

That was the rest of the scoring in the first half and Matt Ruffolo missed two field goals while Missouri had an interception and turned the ball over on downs. In between, there were punts, lots and lots of punts.

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Going Back and Forth

On Missouri’s opening series of the second half, it faced a fourth and four at its own 31-yard line. Eli Drinkwitz elected to go for it but Jack Stonehouse was stopped short giving the Wildcats a great field position. Eight plays later Levis hit Jordan Dingle on a one-yard score and it was 14-3 Cats.

After swapping punts, Missouri finally found its rhythm. Early in the fourth quarter and on another fourth down Brady Cook punched it in from one yard out. However, the two-point attempt was no good and Kentucky held a five-point lead. Following another three and out the Tigers went 64 yards in seven plays with Cook taking it the last 20 yards. This time the two-point conversion was good and just like that Missouri had a three-point lead.

First-Round Pick Steps Up

Trailing in the fourth quarter Mark Stoops’ club needed their consensus first-round draft pick, Levis, to step up. Much to the delight of the Big Blue Nation, he did just that. A bad kickoff set Kentucky up with great field position at its own 42-yard line. Six plays later Levis hit Key for a 22-yard score putting Kentucky up 21-17. That capped off a great game for the freshman who had four catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Before that UK got a break when a Chris Rodriguez fumble was overturned on replay.

Kentucky’s defense held Missouri and got the ball back. Of course, with the Wildcats nothing’s ever easy. Colin Goodfellow lined up to punt, however, the ball sailed over his head. To his credit, he ran the ball down and attempted a kick, but at the same time, Missouri’s Will Norris crashed into him. Resulting in not only a roughing the kicker penalty but the UK punter being carted off the field with a bad-looking leg injury.

From there the defense held and Kentucky defeats Missouri 21-17.

Looking Ahead

With the win, Kentucky moves to 6-3 on the season and 3-3 in the SEC. They’ve reached bowl eligibility for a seventh straight year extending their school record. Currently, Last Word has them playing in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. Next week they will host Vanderbilt.

As for the Tigers, they drop to 4-5 on the season and 2-4 in the SEC. The loss puts a damper on their bowl chances as they must now win two of the last three between Tennessee, New Mexico State, and Arkansas.

Final Thoughts

If you read our game preview we said the first team to 20 probably wins and that’s exactly what happened. Levis bounced back from a bad showing at Tennessee to throw for 160 yards and three touchdowns. Most importantly he had no turnovers. In fact, the team had none for the day which was a big reason why Kentucky defeats Missouri 21-17.

You also have to credit the Kentucky defense which was without starters DeAndre Square and Jacquez Jones. In their absence, Trevin Wallace had a huge game with nine tackles, three for a loss, and one sack. In addition, D’Eryk Jackson was second on the team with six stops.

Thanks for checking out our recap here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll be back later in the week with our latest bowl projections and get you ready for Vanderbilt.

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