Final: Missouri- 20 Kentucky- 10
The Kentucky Wildcats visited Columbia, Missouri coming off back-to-back wins to face off against the Missouri Tigers, here’s how it went:
The afternoon got off to a sluggish start. Both the Wildcats and the Tigers failed to muster anything on either of their opening possessions. Missouri quarterback, Connor Bazelak displayed his athletic ability early with a couple of nice runs in the first quarter, but through three drives, was unable to lead to Tigers to anything on the score board.
Missouri did an excellent job stopping Kentucky’s run offense during the first quarter. Nick Bolton, whose been averaging 12 tackles per game, gave the Tigers plenty of energy on defense.
Coach Drinkwtiz elected to go for it on an early fourth and 5 to begin the second quarter, which was successful. Shortly after, the Tigers punched it in to the end zone. Larry Rountree III forced his way in from the 1. The Tigers capped off a 13 play, 66 yard drive with 7 points.
The Wildcats responded immediately with a 29 yard run to put them in good field position. That 29 yards was more than the 23 total yards they had picked up through their first quarter. Kentucky would ultimately settle for a 50 yard field goal attempt. It was good. 7-3 Tigers.
Missouri struggled to answer and was forced to punt.
Kentucky swapped Terry Wilson Jr. for Joey Gatewood at the quarterback position, but nothing changed for them offensively. Nick Bolton continued to assert his dominance, picking up a sack on third down. The Wildcats punted for the fourth time in the first half. As it stands, they are 1 for 6 on third down. You’ve got to credit the Tigers defense through two quarters.
The Tigers finished the first half with an impressive drive. Bazelak and the Tigers went 12 plays for 64 and capped the half off with an easy field goal.
Missouri led Kentucky 10-3 going into the half. The Tigers got the ball to start the third quarter as well.
Through 30 minutes of football, the Wildcat offense only has 65 total yards.
Missouri would keep on rolling to start the second half. The Tigers converted two third downs to start their drive followed by a couple of crucial fourth downs to keep the drive alive. Drinkwitz and the Tigers were 4/5 on fourth down this afternoon.
Despite the fact that the Tigers were driving methodically, they got greedy and attempted another fourth down and came up short. Still, the Tigers ran 21 plays and ran over nine minutes off the clock.
Kentucky regained possession at their own 9 yard line. Terry Wilson Jr. was back under center for the Wildcats yet Kentucky failed to convert a first down and punted for the fifth time.
Bazelak quickly connected with Jalen Knox for 20+ yards on first down. The Tigers like taking shots on first down it seems. Larry Rountree III and Tyler Badie kept pushing the line of scrimmage to set up a first and goal.
From the half yard line, Rountree punched in another touchdown, giving the Tigers a 17-3 lead with just under a minute to go in the third quarter.
Through three quarters it was nothing but dominance from the Tigers.
Though the Wildcats struggled immensely to move the ball through the first three quarters, they began the fourth quarter in the midst of their best looking drive of the day. Terry Wilson Jr. dropped a dime to Joshua Ali for a 26 yard touchdown to cut the lead to seven.
That’m was 35 pass yards for Kentucky on the afternoon.
That was huge momentum builder for the Wildcat’s defense to get a stop, which they did.
Despite the touchdown given up on the previous drive, Missouri’s defense looked unfazed on their next outing, forcing a quick three and out.
Missouri looked to run as much clock as possible with just over ten minutes to go and hopefully put some points on the board to put things out of reach.
Larry Rountree continued to build his legacy, becoming the third all-time leading rusher at Missouri, rushing for 100+ yards on the afternoon. The Tigers stuck with their game plan they’d run all game, feed Rountree the ball and wear out the Wildcat defense.
The Tigers settled for a field goal, but it didn’t change the fact that the Wildcats trailed by two possessions. 20-10 Tigers.
Kentucky put Joey Gatewood back in for one play, but a Kentucky receiver fumbled the football prior to going down and Missouri retook possession.
Drinkwitz has been stressing turnovers all week and this one put the game away.
Missouri absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage with 421 total yards of offense, compared to only 145 yards from Kentucky. Missouri’s secondary held Kentucky’s offense to 47 yards through the air.
Additionally, Missouri led the possession 43:10 to 16:50.
Larry Rountree III shined with a career high 37 carries, 126 yards and 2 touchdowns. Easily an all-time performance from Larry.
Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz addressed the press following the win on Saturday: “I’m proud of our football team for getting this team win. This is a tremendous win”.
Following the Kentucky touchdown that got them back into the game, Drinkwitz said the message on the sideline was to play fearless and keep grinding.
Connor Bazelak went 8-9 on third down with over 80 passing yards against the Wildcats. “He’s got really good poise and doesn't get rattled.” Drinkwitz said.
Coach mentioned that it was his fault for electing to go for it on fourth and one to begin the third quarter, but immediately thanked and gave credit to his defense for saving him this afternoon.
Connor Bazelak said he knew the game plan was going to be run heavy. “Our offensive line did an excellent job protecting; all I had to do was execute. We knew we wore their defense out. Larry ran his ass off and he’s why we won the game”.
Another win this week and the Tigers keep the momentum heading in to Florida next week. Great team win from the Tigers. MIZ.