Missouri tops Kentucky, seizes hold over SEC East

Nick Jordan and Austin Hough bring you the highlights from Missouri’s impressive home victory over SEC East opponent Kentucky.

RECAP

By Ron Davis, 23 Sports

Saturday, Nov. 1-

Riding the strong play of their defense, the Missouri Tigers football team defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 20-10 late Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Tigers improve to 7-2, 4-1 in conference, and now find themselves controlling their own destiny to get back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship for the second year in a row.

Throughout the first half, Missouri dominated time of possession, holding the ball for nearly of 20 of the first half’s 30 minutes and taking a 14-3 heading into halftime. Maty Mauk, coming off his best outing in conference play against Vanderbilt last week, found Bud Sasser twice for scores of three and 26 yards respectively. Mauk also impressed with his scrambling ability, as he converted with his feet on three separate third and long situations.

The defense came ready to play and proved to be a tough matchup for Kentucky’s Patrick Towles early on. Through the first half, Towles finished only 3-6 for 14 yards and an interception to Aarion Penton. Kentucky’s only points came off the leg of Austin MacGinnis who booted a 47 yard field goal midway through the second quarter.

Both offenses struggled in the second half. Missouri found difficulty moving the ball, but punter Christan Brinser did a good job pinning Kentucky in their own territory. Mauk was not nearly as effective throwing the ball in the final two quarters. The defense continued their strong play and forced a turnover on downs with a sack from Shane Ray in the third quarter.

Andrew Baggett was called upon twice in the second half, and he delivered on field goals of 41 and 21 yards to put the Tigers ahead 20-3. Those points proved to be vital as Kentucky’s offense finally put a touchdown drive together following Baggett’s final field goal.

That drive was capped off by a Towles touchdown pass to Javass Blue, and after the extra point, Kentucky came within 10. The Wildcats then recovered an onside kick with less than three and a half minutes to go.

Facing 4th and long, Blue was stopped a yard short of the first down by Braylon Webb, but Webb was called for targeting and was ejected from the game. The play momentarily gave the Wildcats a lifeline, but the defense stepped up yet again.

Ray sacked Towles again on Kentucky’s final offensive play, and secured a victory for Missouri. Ray’s two sacks gave him 12 on the season, surpassing Michael Sam for the school’s all-time single season sack record.

Mauk finished 18-33 for 164 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers, also leading the game in rushing with 14 carries for 75 yards. Mauk’s biggest attribute the past two weeks has been the ability to run the ball on third down. His scrambling ability has kept many Missouri drives alive, allowing the Tigers to control the clock.

Missouri outgained Kentucky 320-260 in total yards, won the turnover battle 1-0 and held the ball for 8:30 more minutes.

Missouri now heads into a bye week, which will give them a chance to be rested and healthy for a visit to Texas A&M on Nov. 15.