Nov 18, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops directs his team against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports Kentucky

Mark Stoops staying at Kentucky amid Texas A&M rumors

Kentucky’s Mark Stoops said he is staying put despite multiple reports linking him to the head-coaching vacancy at Texas A&M.

Stoops, who is in his 11th season at Kentucky, took to social media early Sunday morning to make his intentions clear. His words came several hours after the Wildcats’ 38-31 victory over No. 10 Louisville.

“I know there’s been much speculation about me and my job situation the last couple of days,” Stoops posted. “It’s true I was contacted about a potential opportunity this weekend, but after celebrating a big win against our rivals with players I love like family, I knew in my heart I couldn’t leave the University of Kentucky right now. I have a great job at a place I love, and I get to work with the best administration and greatest fan base in college football right where I’m at. I’m excited to say I’m a Wildcat!”

Shortly after outlets reported Stoops could head toward Texas A&M, an uprising began among fans on social media and team-related websites.

Texas A&M, which fired head coach Jimbo Fisher on Nov. 12, played its final two games under interim head coach Elijah Robinson. The Aggies (7-5, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) posted a 38-10 win over Abilene Christian on Nov. 18 and dropped a 42-30 decision to LSU on Saturday.

Kentucky (7-5, 3-5) is headed to a bowl game for the eighth consecutive season under the 56-year-old Stoops, who is the winningest coach in the school’s history. He owns a 73-64 record with the Wildcats.

–Field Level Media

Louisville's Ashton Gillotte has 10 sacks this season, spearheading the No. 10 Cardinals' defense.

Prize games imminent, No. 10 Louisville first greets rival Kentucky

An 11-win season is within Louisville’s grasp for the first time since 2012 with a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game already clinched.

While bigger accomplishments are in sight, the No. 10 Cardinals are keeping their focus tightly on their Saturday opponent as they look to halt a four-game losing skid against fierce rival Kentucky when the teams meet in Louisville, Ky.

The visiting Wildcats (6-5) have dropped five of six games since a strong start but the Cardinals (10-1) only need to look at the recent results of the Governor’s Cup series to become greatly concerned.

The Wildcats have won by an average of 30.5 points during their four-game series winning streak and that includes steamrolling the Cardinals in the last two games held at Louisville. Kentucky rolled to a 56-10 win in 2018 and a 52-21 victory in 2021.

First-year Cardinals coach Jeff Brohm — a former quarterback at the school — is aware the fan base has been highly distressed over the recent one-sided setbacks.

“The full focus needs to be on this game, because in my opinion, this is the most important game of the rest of the season,” Brohm said. “So we can talk about it all we want, this is the most important game, and our guys need to understand that preparing and trying to win this game needs to be the complete focus.

“If we want to make our fans happy, and give them a good Thanksgiving, we’ve got to go win the game. We’ve got to really crank this thing up this week.”

Louisville has won its last four games, including a 38-31 road win over Miami last weekend. The Cardinals will face No. 5 Florida State in the ACC title game on Dec. 2.

Kentucky’s fortunes went downhill rapidly after the fast start. Three of the Wildcats’ five losses have been by 17 or more points.

Last week, the Wildcats lost 17-14 at South Carolina. Kentucky turned the ball over three times without a takeaway.

“This is not the time to point fingers and throw any one person or any area (under the bus),” Wildcats coach Mark Stoops said. “We had an opportunity to win that game.”

Stoops now has his focus on the Cardinals as beating a powerful Louisville squad to keep the streak going would rate as the highlight of the season.

“Well, it’ll be a big win for us. It’s the last game of the year,” Stoops said. “It’s been a tough stretch, without a doubt, but this is another game. It certainly doesn’t salvage some of the things that we’ve done or anything like that, we don’t look at it that way, we look at it like it’s another opportunity.

“We play a lot of big games here. This one, I’ve said it from the moment I walked in here that it was important. I know the importance of it to our fan base and to the community and I’ve acknowledged that for 11 years.”

Kentucky running back Ray Davis is just 10 yards away from producing the 15th 1,000-yard rushing campaign in school history.

Louisville has its own solid runner in Jahwar Jordan, who has 1,009 yards on the ground.

Safety Devin Neal (four interceptions) and defensive end Ashton Gillotte (10 sacks) lead a Cardinals’ defense that has pitched two shutouts and held another club to three points.

Meanwhile, Brohm doesn’t want to hear chatter about the ACC championship game until the clash with Kentucky is over.

“It’s a one-game season,” Brohm said. “It’s a rivalry game against a really good, talented opponent that’s well coached and that’s won a lot of games against our program over the last four years.”

Kentucky leads the series 19-15.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Kentucky Wildcats running back Ramon Jefferson (26) rushes against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports Kentucky

Spencer Rattler leads South Carolina past Kentucky

Spencer Rattler tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Xavier Legette to lift host South Carolina to a 17-14 victory over Kentucky on Saturday in Columbia, S.C.

Rattler completed 19 of 27 passes for 207 yards, with Legette reeling in six catches for 94 yards.

The Gamecocks (5-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) have won three in a row to move to the fringe of becoming bowl eligible. South Carolina would accomplish that feat should it defeat Palmetto State rival Clemson on Nov. 25.

Devin Leary completed 17 of 34 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown, and Ray Davis rushed for 61 yards and a score for the Wildcats (6-5, 3-5), who have lost five of their last six games.

The combination of Rattler and Legette allowed South Carolina to open the scoring midway into the first quarter and allow the Gamecocks to regain the lead with 7:44 remaining in the fourth. The pair hooked up over the middle to give South Carolina a 17-14 lead, with the touchdown reception serving as Legette’s seventh of the season and fourth in the last three games.

Leary was hit as he threw, resulting in an easy interception for Tonka Hemingway with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Kentucky got the ball back, however Hemingway deflected Leary’s pass to turn the ball over on downs.

Rattler connected with Legette on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 7:27 remaining in the first quarter. Legette’s touchdown capped an 11-play, 69-yard drive that spanned 5 minutes, 11 seconds.

Mitch Jeter’s 23-yard field goal upped South Carolina’s advantage to 10-0 late in the first quarter, however Leary found Barion Brown for a 7-yard score with 10:52 left in the second.

Kentucky claimed its first lead as Davis rushed past the first and second levels of the defense before using a spin move to create space to complete his 31-yard touchdown. Davis’ 12th rushing touchdown of the season gave the Wildcats a 14-10 lead with 8:42 remaining in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) throws a pass during the first half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson looming, South Carolina’s postseason push chugs on vs. Kentucky

South Carolina’s quest to become bowl eligible will advance when the team hosts Kentucky in a Southeastern Conference clash on Saturday night in Columbia, S.C.

The Gamecocks (4-6, 2-5) answered four straight losses with a 38-28 win over Jacksonville State on Nov. 4 and a 47-6 victory vs. Vanderbilt last Saturday. Should South Carolina beat the Wildcats (6-4, 3-4), it would set up a regular-season finale with Palmetto State rival Clemson on Nov. 25 for the chance to punch its ticket to the postseason.

Spencer Rattler threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for a score in the lopsided triumph over the Commodores. Xavier Legette recorded nine catches for 120 yards and Mario Anderson rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown.

“Yeah, um, you don’t want to make too big of a deal off one game,” Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer said. “I thought defensively, we didn’t make enough plays in the second half, but we showed some flashes (in a 30-17 loss to Texas A&M on Oct. 28) of pressuring the quarterback and being aggressive and getting off the field on third down.”

South Carolina forced two turnovers and limited Vanderbilt to 234 total yards. A nice performance to be certain; however, Beamer was quick to keep it in perspective.

“I’m not gonna anoint us the ’85 Chicago Bears defense because of one really good day,” Beamer said. “But if we can continue to build on what we did (Saturday) and keep getting better — not just defensively, but our entire team — offense, defense and special teams — we’ll have the November that we want.”

Kentucky followed a winless October by splitting the first two games in November. The Wildcats became bowl eligible with a 24-3 victory over Mississippi State on Nov. 4 before falling for the fourth time in five games with a 49-21 setback against Alabama.

Kentucky was outgained 444-253 in total offense and allowed Alabama to convert 7 of 11 third-down opportunities.

“We have to regroup in a hurry and get ready to go on the road and try to get win No. 7 for us here this week at South Carolina, a team that obviously has played much better the past two weeks,” Wildcats coach Mark Stoops said. “They’ve also played some very good football teams and are more than capable of playing well in all phases.”

Rattler completed 14 of 19 passes for 177 yards with one touchdown and one interception in South Carolina’s 24-14 victory over Kentucky last season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) runs for a touchdown against LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 42-28. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 Alabama looks to continue dominance of rival Kentucky

Alabama remains in the national championship picture but badly needs to post a road win against Kentucky on Saturday in Lexington.

That’s the perfect opponent for the No. 8 Crimson Tide, who have beaten the Wildcats in all seven meetings this century and stand 38-2-1 all-time against their fellow Southeastern Conference squad.

Alabama (8-1, 6-0 SEC) enters its latest matchup with Kentucky (6-3, 3-3) on a roll with seven straight victories since a September loss to then-No. 11 Texas.

After beating then-No. 14 LSU last weekend in an SEC West battle, the Crimson Tide are on track for a showdown with No. 2 Georgia in the SEC title game next month.

Alabama coach Nick Saban is thrilled with the position his team is in with three regular-season games remaining. The Crimson Tide also have momentum after back-to-back 14-point victories against then-No. 17 Tennessee and LSU.

“This team has created an opportunity where now they’ve got to make a choice,” Saban told reporters. “We’ve had two big games in a row here and still got two SEC games left and another game. So you’re going to have to make a choice about taking care of business … because we can create an opportunity for ourselves and maybe win the West and maybe get in the SEC championship game and who knows what happens from there.”

Much of Alabama’s in-season rise can be attributed to the improvement of Jalen Milroe.

Milroe set a Crimson Tide quarterback record by rushing for four touchdowns in the win over LSU. He finished with 155 yards on the ground and also completed 15 of 23 passes for 219 yards.

The player who was benched after the loss to Texas in Week 2 and didn’t play against South Florida in the team’s third game is now the team’s most indispensable player. Milroe has passed for 1,836 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions while adding nine scores on the ground.

“I’m focused on trying to get better,” Milroe said. “There’s some things I need to improve on. … I’m not a finished product.”

Alabama leads No. 9 Ole Miss — a team it beat earlier this season — by one game in the SEC West race.

Kentucky had dropped three straight games before picking up an impressive 24-3 road win over Mississippi State last weekend.

Wildcats quarterback Devin Leary missed the fourth quarter with an eye injury but coach Mark Stoops said Monday that Leary is fine.

Leary has passed for 1,905 yards, 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. And Kentucky certainly could use a big game from Leary if it wants to keep it close with the Crimson Tide.

“Alabama is a team that, you can see, is getting better and better,” Stoops said. “A typical Nick Saban team that is very big, very physical, very talented and extremely well coached. They seem to be getting better and stronger as the year goes on. That will be a big challenge for us, just to match their physicality.”

The Wildcats’ defense tuned up for the matchup by racking up five sacks and holding the Bulldogs to 218 total yards. Linebacker D’Eryk Jackson had a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown.

On the other hand, Kentucky allowed a whopping 122 points during the three-game losing streak against then-No. 1 Georgia, Missouri and then-No. 21 Tennessee.

“I felt like we improved in certain areas,” Stoops said of the Mississippi State win. “This team, we haven’t put it all together yet but definitely improved.”

Wildcats star running back Ray Davis is 97 yards away from a 1,000-yard season. He averages 6.1 yards per carry.

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Devin Leary (13) makes a pass against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the first quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky snaps losing streak with decisive win over Mississippi State

Devin Leary fired two touchdown passes as Kentucky snapped a three-game losing streak and became bowl eligible Saturday night with a 24-3 win over Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss.

The Wildcats (6-3, 3-3 SEC East) built a 21-3 halftime lead and cruised on to their first victory at Mississippi State since 2008.

The win marked the first time Kentucky has been victorious in consecutive meetings with the Bulldogs since 2005 and 2006.

The team’s bowl eligibility marked the eighth straight season Kentucky will play in the postseason.

Over three quarters of play, Leary was 13 of 22 for 156 yards with scoring passes to Demie Sumo-Karngbaye and Dane Key.

Ray Davis rushed for 80 yards on 21 carries, and Tayvion Robinson caught five passes for 91 yards.

Linebacker D’Eryk Jackson snared a pick-6 for the Wildcats’ fourth defensive score this season.

Kentucky moved ahead 26-25 in the all-time series.

For the Bulldogs (4-5, 1-5 West), Mike Wright went 11 of 21 for 78 yards with an interception. Chris Parson relieved him in the second half and was 6 of 14 for 67 yards.

Zavion Thomas had 44 yards on six receptions.

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers and running back Jo’Quavious Marks did not play due to injury.

On its first series in the 51st meeting between the schools, Kentucky went 62 yards in eight plays behind Leary as all the yards were produced through the air.

The transfer quarterback from N.C. State finished it at 10:11 with a four-yard play-action pass to Sumo-Karngbaye for the running back’s first TD reception this season.

In the second quarter, the Bulldogs put together a marathon drive for their first points, traveling 88 yards in 20 plays on a drive that took 12:29 off the clock. Kyle Ferrie capped the long possession with a 25-yard field goal at 8:51.

As halftime approached, Jackson stepped in and intercepted Wright’s short pass. The linebacker rumbled 28 yards with his second interception and crossed the goal line for a 14-3 edge.

With just 52 seconds left in the half, Leary found Key on a four-yard slant for the sophomore’s second consecutive game with a TD reception, putting Kentucky up 21-3 at halftime.

On its second series of the third quarter, Kentucky’s Alex Raynor nailed a 32-yard field goal at 5:51 for the second half’s only points.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Devin Leary (13) passes during the second quarter against the Tennessee Volunteers at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky carries three-game skid to Mississippi State

The bubble has burst somewhat on Kentucky’s season, but the Wildcats have found an offensive weapon with bowl eligibility just a win away.

Having dropped three straight games after a 5-0 start, coach Mark Stoops will take his squad to play Mississippi State on Saturday night in a Southeastern Conference matchup at Starkville, Miss.

A victory by Kentucky (5-3, 2-3 SEC) would give the school the six wins necessary for a bowl game plus snap the pesky skid that started against top-ranked Georgia a month ago.

Despite the dark, winless October, the Wildcats saw their offense re-emerge last week in a 33-27 loss to then-No. 21 Tennessee, their longtime rival.

Kentucky’s Devin Leary enjoyed a big game in defeat, as the former North Carolina State quarterback went 28 of 39 for a season-high 372 yards and two touchdowns. It was his second 300-yard game for the Wildcats.

Leary’s top target was Dane Key, who had a season-high 113 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.

“It’s very encouraging because they’ve worked really hard,” Stoops said of the players who are part of his aerial attack. “You’re starting to see some growth, and that I’m happy with. … Our guys just have to have that same approach and we’ll get better.”

Not surprisingly, the offense of Mississippi State (4-4, 1-4) has sputtered since record-setting quarterback Will Rogers went down with a shoulder injury against Western Michigan on Oct. 7 in a 41-28 win.

The slide continued last week in a 27-13 loss at Auburn, where the Bulldogs allowed 24 points in the first half before outscoring the host Tigers 10-3 in the second half.

“You ain’t winning a football game playing a half of football,” Bulldogs coach Zach Arnett said. “I appreciate the guys’ efforts in the second half, but I’m not particularly interested in moral victories. … We’ve struggled to put a full game together all year, which is my fault. You ain’t gonna beat a good football team playing half football.”

Mike Wright continues to run the offense in Rogers’ absence. Running backs Jeffery Pittman and Seth Davis produced 113 rushing yards between them against the Tigers, while Zavion Thomas caught nine passes for 112 yards and a score.

The all-time series between the schools is level at 25-25. The home team has won the past eight meetings.

–Field Level Media

Kentucky wide receiver Barion Brown (7) after making a reception while covered by Tennessee defensive back Doneiko Slaughter (0) during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, October 28, 2023 in Lexington, KY.

No. 21 Tennessee escapes with tight victory over Kentucky

Joe Milton III threw for 227 yards and Jaylen Wright added 120 yards rushing as No. 21 Tennessee withstood a challenge from Kentucky in a 33-27 Southeastern Conference win on Saturday in Lexington, Ky.

Milton completed 17 of 20 passes for one touchdown and no interceptions as Tennessee (6-2, 3-2 SEC) led from start to finish in fending off the Wildcats (5-3, 2-3).

Charles Campbell made all four of his field-goal attempts and Dylan Sampson added 115 total yards (76 rushing, 39 receiving), playing a major role late for the Volunteers.

The sophomore accounted for 52 of the yards on a key 65-yard march in the fourth quarter, which Sampson capped with a 12-yard touchdown carry that put Tennessee up 33-24.

Then, after Alex Raynor kicked a 28-yard field goal to draw Kentucky close with 4:24 left, Sampson helped salt the game away as the Volunteers ran out the clock on the game’s final possession.

In losing their third straight game, the Wildcats got a strong performance from Devin Leary, who completed 28 of 39 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns.

Tennessee held Ray Davis to a season-low 42 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Dane Key added seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats.

Tennessee jumped in front on its first possession as Wright sprinted 52 yards for a touchdown.

The Volunteers then stuffed Davis on a fourth-and-1 carry at the Wildcats 34, setting up a 44-yard field goal by Campbell that gave Tennessee a 10-0 lead.

Then it turned into a shootout, as both teams scored on their remaining possessions in the first half.

After the teams traded field goals, Leary directed consecutive 75-yard touchdown drives. He capped the first with an 11-yard scoring pass to Barion Brown. Davis finished off the other with a 7-yard TD run.

In between, Milton threw a 39-yard scoring pass to Chas Nimrod, who was wide open on the Kentucky sideline.

A 34-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half by Campbell gave Tennessee a 23-17 lead. Campbell then opened the scoring in the third quarter with a 35-yarder with 6:49 to go.

Leary cut the deficit to 26-24 with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Key later in the third, but after that Sampson took advantage of a tired Wildcats defense.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joe Milton III (7) passing against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

No. 21 Vols, Kentucky pitch complete game plans

When No. 21 Tennessee travels to face Kentucky in a Southeastern Conference clash on Saturday in Lexington, the Volunteers and Wildcats are seeking the finishing touch.

Both are coming off games in which they led SEC opponents in the second half before imploding.

In Tennessee’s 34-20 loss at then-No. 11 Alabama, the Volunteers (5-2, 2-2 SEC) blew a 13-point advantage as they were outscored 27-0 in the second half.

In Kentucky’s 38-21 home defeat to Missouri, the Wildcats (5-2, 2-2) entered the fourth quarter in the lead before surrendering the game’s last 18 points.

Kentucky has had a bye week to recover from its collapse and to address other issues. After opening 5-0 and rising to a No. 20 rank, the Wildcats have yielded 89 points while losing their past two games, to No. 1 Georgia and then Missouri.

“You’ve got to repair, reflect and readjust,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said on Monday of the bye. “Most importantly, it gives us a good chance to look at ourselves.”

The Kentucky defense has excelled against the run, but stopping the pass has been problematic. The Wildcats allow opponents to complete 67.7 of their attempts, ranking No. 125, and they are No. 127 in completions allowed (24.8 per game).

The Wildcats have struggled against teams that play quickly and quarterbacks who can improvise. Tennessee and its mobile quarterback, Joe Milton III, present a stylistic challenge, Stoops said, as an “elite tempo team.”

The Kentucky offense boasts Ray Davis, who leads the SEC in rushing (111.6 yards per game) and yards per carry (7.0). However, the Wildcats have been hindered by an anemic passing attack.

Transfer quarterback Devin Leary has shown little of the stuff that made him the 2022 ACC preseason player of the year at North Carolina State. In the past three games, Leary has completed just 33 of 72 passes for 317 yards, with five touchdowns and two interceptions.

Tennessee arrives in Lexington after an uncharacteristic second-half meltdown. In three seasons when leading at halftime under Josh Heupel, the Volunteers had won 22 straight times.

“I could sense the players’ disappointment this morning,” Heupel said on Monday. “At the same time, when we walked out of the team meeting room, you gotta cut it clean. You gotta take the lessons moving forward. But we gotta go.”

Last week in Tuscaloosa, Tennessee laid the groundwork for toppling Alabama for the second straight year as Milton threw two touchdown passes to spark the Volunteers to a 20-7 halftime lead.

However, the Crimson Tide owned the second half. They stopped Tennessee twice on downs and got a soul-crushing defensive play in the fourth quarter when Milton fumbled and Jihaad Campbell made a 24-yard scoop and score.

The Volunteers’ inability to convert on fourth down has been telling. In their two losses (against Florida and Alabama), they are 0-for-6 on fourth down.

On Monday, Heupel dismissed a reporter’s suggestion that the Volunteers employ the “tush push” strategy popularized this year by the Philadelphia Eagles.

“At the end of the day, we gotta find a way to pick up the first down,” Heupel said. “We’ve used a lot of different formations. We’ve been under center, been in (shotgun). We’ve used it all.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Devin Leary (13) throws a pass during the second quarter against the Missouri Tigers at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri erases 14-point deficit to roll past No. 24 Kentucky

Punter Luke Bauer’s touchdown pass awoke Missouri from an early slumber as the Tigers recovered from a 14-point deficit to post a 38-21 victory over No. 24 Kentucky on Saturday night in Southeastern Conference play at Lexington, Ky.

Brady Cook passed for one touchdown and rushed for another as Missouri (6-1, 2-1 SEC) continued its strong start. Cody Schrader rushed for a touchdown while Marquis Johnson and Theo Wease Jr. had scoring receptions.

Kentucky star Ray Davis gained 128 yards on 20 carries for his third outing of at least 100 rushing yards this season. Devin Leary was 14-of-27 passing for 120 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Wildcats (5-2, 2-2), who lost their second consecutive contest.

Davis and Anthony Brown-Stephens had touchdown catches for Kentucky, which totaled just 135 yards over the final three quarters. Overall, Missouri held a 324-299 edge.

Cook completed 19 of 29 passes for 167 yards and one interception. He added 40 yards on the ground. Marcus Clarke and Kris Abrams-Draine each had a fourth-quarter interception.

The Tigers took a 28-21 lead on Cook’s 1-yard run and Schrader’s two-point conversion run with 14:14 left in the contest.

A little more than three minutes later, Schrader exploded through a big hole up the middle for a 19-yard scoring run to give Missouri a 14-point lead with 11:07 left. Harrison Mevis made it a three-score game with a 29-yard field goal with 3:17 remaining.

Missouri was outgained 150-16 in the first quarter and then faced fourth down on its first possession of the second quarter when the coaches called for the punting unit.

The trick play was on and Bauer fired an impressive downfield strike to the left that Johnson caught for a 39-yard score with 11:38 left.

The big play ignited the Tigers. Mevis kicked a 25-yard field goal with 4:44 left in the half before Cook connected with Wease on an 18-yard scoring pass with 15 seconds remaining as Missouri held a 17-14 halftime advantage.

The Tigers outgained Kentucky 163-17 in the second quarter.

Mevis kicked a 31-yard field goal to give the Tigers a six-point edge with 11:54 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats regained the lead at 21-20 on Leary’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Brown-Stephens with 3:39 left in the third quarter.

Earlier, Kentucky scored 14 first-quarter points on Leary’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Davis and Leary’s 13-yard keeper.

–Field Level Media