Marc Poland Jr – 23 Sports

Coming off a big upset of the defending National Champion LSU Tigers, Mizzou was hit with an unexpected bye week. Due to COVID-19, Vanderbilt could not meet the SEC scholarship player minimum necessary to play the game. This gave Mizzou two weeks to prepare for a Kentucky team that the Tigers have not beaten in five years. The two teams took to Faurot Field to battle it out as Mizzou looked to end the five-year losing streak. Mizzou did indeed end the losing streak, dominating Kentucky from the opening kick on both sides of the ball and capturing their second win of the season.

It was also a historic outing for Mizzou running back Larry Rountree III as he moved his name up the Mizzou records books. Coach Drinkwitz called Rountree’s number all game long and he answered the call every time. It was a balance between power and speed as Rountree was able to break away from defenders at times but also brought the boom at the end of some of his runs. One run that stands out in particular came late in the game, Rountree bounced to the outside and just before he went out of bounds, he lowered his shoulder into Kentucky defender Kelvin Johnson knocking him onto his back on the Mizzou sideline. This run was indicative of the game as Kentucky was unable to stop Rountree and the Mizzou rushing attack as the team rushed for a season high 220 yards. Rountree finished the game with 126 yards on 37 attempts and two scores. With this dominating performance, Rountree moved to 3rd on the Mizzou career rushing yards (3,144) list and moved to 5th on the Mizzou career rushing touchdowns (29) list as well. Rountree could move up to the rushing yards list again next week against Florida as he needs only 55 yards to surpass Zach Abron (3,198) for 2nd All-Time in career rushing yards.

Mizzou dominated from the opening kick, moving the ball downfield on offense and limiting big plays on defense, but had no points to show for it as the first quarter ended in a 0-0 tie. The first score of the came with 10:57 left in the second quarter, a 1-yard touchdown run by Rountree. On Kentucky’s next drive Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood replaced Terry Wilson at quarterback. Gatewood led the Wildcats into Mizzou territory, but the Wildcats were forced to settle for a 50-yard field goal.

Mizzou got the ball and drove deep into Kentucky and kicked an 18-yard field goal as the half expired. The score at the half was 10-3 but Kentucky had only 65 yards of total offense, and a whopping nine yards passing. At the break Mizzou had more first downs (12) than Kentucky had passing yards (nine).

Mizzou received the second half kick and asserted its dominance one again. The Tigers first drive of the second half lasted 21 plays chewing off nine minutes of the clock but ended with a failed fourth down conversion attempt. After a Kentucky three-and-out, Mizzou drove down again scored. Another 1-yard touchdown run by Rountree to give Mizzou a 14-point lead with 0:45 left in the third quarter.

Wilson returned at quarterback for the Wildcats and led them to their first touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter. A six-play drive that ended with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Josh Ali which made the score 10-17 with 13:00 left in the game. Harrison Mevis would go on to kick another field goal this time from 20 yards out to give Mizzou a 20-10 lead with 3:07 left in the game.

Gatewood would enter the game once again and connected with Ali on a pass, but Ali had the ball stripped from him by safety Josh Bledsoe. Mizzou took over at the Kentucky-36-yard line and ran the ball converting two third downs to end the game. The Tigers lined up in victory formation and quarterback Connor Bazelak took a knee letting the clock run to 0:00. A dominating win for Coach Drinkwitz and the Mizzou Tigers as they improved to 2-2 on the season.

Mizzou tallied up over 400 yards in total offense making it back to back games that the Tigers have surpassed the 400-yard mark. The defense anchored by linebacker Nick Bolton held Kentucky to 148 yards of total offense, with only 48 of those yards coming through the air. Mizzou gained 27 first downs compared to Kentucky’s nine. The Tigers held the ball for over 43:00, while Kentucky only saw the ball four times the entire second half resulting in two punts, a touchdown and a turnover. Kentucky drops to 2-3 on the season and will head back home to Lexington and face #4 Georgia next weekend. The Mizzou Tigers move to 2-2 on the season, 2-0 since naming Connor Bazelak the starting quarterback. The Tigers look tokeep the momentum going as they travel to Gainesville next weekend to face #10 Florida in “The Swamp” on Halloween.

About Smith, Kayler (MU-Student)

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