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Kentucky Football

Kentucky Embarrassed by Missouri in Columbia

October 24, 2020
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Kentucky traveled to Columbia Missouri with a five-game winning streak, but you wouldn’t know it based on the performance of the Wildcats right out of the gate. Missouri’s offense was slow to start before picking up steam, but Kentucky’s bend-but-don’t break defense did more than enough to give the team a chance to win. The offense, however, was atrocious. Despite multiple shufflings at quarterback between Terry Wilson and Joey Gatewood, the Wildcats failed miserably at getting drives going or finding any kind of rhythm. The sole bright spot was a late third-quarter drive freaturing Chris Ridriguez at running back. That drive ended with a touchdown pass from Wilson to Josh Ali before the offense disappeared again for the rest of the game. 

Personnel decisions were questionable after it became clear Chris Rodriguez could find yards on the ground. Kentucky was beat down by a team playing the Cats’ game, as Missouri ran for 220 yards, led by Larry Routree whose career-high game featured 37 carries for 126 yards. Meanwhile, Kentucky’s leading rusher on the day was Rodriguez who netted 48 yards on nine carries. Wilson ended the game just three of nine through the air for 35 yards and one touchdown, while Gatewood went one of four for twelve yards. 

Yusuf Corker led the way on defense, racking up an impressive 18 total tackles, one sack, and two tackles for loss. That was the Wildcats’ only sack of the day, although DeAndre Square registered two QB hurries with Boogie Watson adding a third. Jordan Wright, wearing Chris Oats’ #22 jersey, registered four total tackles and one tackle for loss.

The lone turnover of the day was a late fumble by Josh Ali that Missouri recovered. MIssouri also diminated time of possession, a stat that usually swings in Kentucky’s favor. The. Cats had the ball for a mere 16:50 while the Tigers kept it for the other 43:10. 

 

First Quarter

Kentucky came out on offense first, but it was shortlived. After throwing deep on first down and coming up with nothing, the Cats stayed in the air for an incompletion on second down and a screen on third down that only picked up six yards and Max Duffy came out to punt. 

Missouri found a little more success, but it was a slow start for everyone. Bazelak’s first pass of the game went to Damon Hazelton for 17 yards, thanks in part to missed tackles by Kentucky, but the Tigers slowed down after that as they went to the legs of Larry Rountree.After converting a third down, the Tigers were dropped for a loss on first down, and Bazelak threw on second and 14. His toss to Rountree, forced by pressure from DeAndre Square, was incomplete, and they weren’t able to make up the yardage on third down, forcing a punt.

Kentucky brought out the run game on their second drive, giving the ball to AJ Rose on the first two plays of the series. On third and one Chris Rodriguez came in the game and picked up seven yards to give kentucky their first first down of the day. Wilson’s keeper lost one yard, setting up a throw. AJ Rose’s reception picked up three yards, forcing another throw on third and eight, and the pass dropped incomplete. The Cats punted again, giving Missouri the ball on their own 31 yard line.

The Missouri offense was clearly warming up, as Bazelak threw on first down before a gain of 13 yards on his legs on second down. Two rushes from Rountree didn’t net much, and Bazelak’s throw on third and seven only went for three yards with Rountree. Missouri was forced to punt again.

The Kentucky offense still couldn’t find anything though, with the drive netting 14 yards thanks to a 15 yard facemask penalty against Missouri. The drive killer this time was a fumbled snap by Terry Wilson on third and five that resulted in a loss of seven yards after he jumped on the ball.

Missouri’s offense got better each time they came on the field, this time starting strong thanks to a completion from Bazelak to Hazelton for eight yards before two rushes by Rountree brought up second and nine. An illegal formation penalty pushed the Tigers back and brought up second and fifteen. Rountree picked up five yards to bring up third and 10 to start the second quarter.

 

Second Quarter

Tyler Badie rushed for another five to bring up fourth and five, and Bazelak connected with Hazelton for a 12 yard gain to convert. With the drive still alive and with a new set of downs, Missouri continued chipping away at the Kentucky defense, keeping the ball mostly on the ground. On second and goal from the Kentucky one yard line, Rountree got into the end zone for the score, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead over Kentucky.

Kentucky, desperately needing an energy boost, went to Joey Gatewood at quarterback. It seemed to help wake up the offense from the start, as AJ Rose on first down cut back to find a hole and took off for a gain of 29 yards. Already in Mizzouri territory, the Cats stuck with the run with Chris Rodriguez picking up a few before Gatewood kept the ball himself, bulldozing forward for a gain of eight yards on second and seven. On first down, Gatewood targeted Josh Ali, nearly hitting him in the numbers before Ali dropped the pass, putting Kentucky behind the chains. The Wildcats couldn’t make up the ground and brought Matt Ruffolo out for a 50 yard field goal attempt. He nailed the kick, sending it straight down the middle for his longest make of the year by fifteen yards. The score put Kentucky on the board, trailing Missouri 7-3.

Kentucky’s defense shored up on Missouri’s answering series, allowing one third down conversion. On the next set of downs the Cats forced fourth and four and the Tigers chose to punt from their own 48 yard line.

Gatewood came in for Kentucky for his second series, but the tide had not turned. The offense continued to struggle, picking up a total of three yards before Gatewood was sacked on third and seven, forcing yet another punt.

The Wildcat defense barely had any time on the sideline to recover before coming back out, and Missouri took advantage, continuing to play smart and short. With only 2:53 on the clock, Missouri used all three of their timeouts on their way down the field, with Rountree picking up a nine-yard run but getting stopped short of the goal line. The Kentucky defense came through, holding up the Tigers and forcing a chip-shot field goal as the half expired. The Cats went to the locker room down 10-3.

 

Third Quarter

Missouri got the ball to start the second half, and the drive was something to behold. Sticking to their gameplan of short short passes and smart plays, the Tigers slowly worked their way down the field after starting at their own 25 yard line. Bazelak went pass-heavy in the early part of the drive before the offense switched gears and let Routree and Badie do the heavy lifting. The Tigers converted a third down to pick up a fresh set of downs at the Kentucky 10 yard line, where the Wildcat defense stood up. The Missouri offense gained three yards on four downs, turning the ball over on downs after Bazelak took a sack on fourth and one.

After the huge stop by the defense, the offense came back out with Terry Wilson at quarterback. The Cats still couldn’t find anything, however, gaining six yards on yet another three-and-out.

Having only been on the sideline for mere minutes, the Kentucky defense came back out but could do little to stifle the Missouri offense. The gassed defense gave up 27 yards on the first play and 18 on the second, quickly putting Missouri in scoring position. The Tigers scored in just six plays to take a 17-3 lead.

Kentucky went to the ground game first upon taking the field, handing off to Chris Rodriguez who took off for 17 yards on first down. Rodriguez ran for another seven on the next play, which was bolstered by an extra fifteen thanks to a personal foul on Missouri. This brought an end to the third quarter, with Kentucky on the Missouri 36 yard line.

 

Fourth Quarter

Kentucky stayed with Chris Rodriguez to open the fourth quarter, and he gained another six yards to bring up second and four. Josh Ali got the carry and gained three yards before the Cats went back to Rodriguez to convert third and one. He did so, picking up just the one yard, and Terry Wilson threw for the first time of the drive on first down, throwing a perfect ball to the end zone where Josh Ali came down with the touchdown catch. Kentucky closed the gap to 17-10.

Having had a chance to catch their breath, hthe Wildcat defense came back strong, forcing a three-and-out by Missouri on their ensuing drive. The Tigers chose to punt on fourth and one.

The success of the previous drive didn’t carry over, as the Cats went away from Chris Rodriguez, instead bringing AJ Rose in on first down. He gained two yards, and Kentucky threw on the next two downs, two incompletions bringing a swift end to the drive. The Wildcats punted again.

Missouri came back out with a chance to put the game away. The Tigers almost never strayed from the run, keeping the ball on the ground 13 out of 15 plays of the drive. The two tosses by Bazelak were both incompletions, but the Tigers kept the chains moving thanks to a 12 yard rush by Tyler Badie immediately after. The Kentucky defense once again tightened up as Missouri entered scoring range, forcing a field goal attempt after keeping the Tigers out of the end zone. The chip shot field goal was good, giving the Tigers a 20-10 lead.

Kentucky came back out with Joey Gatewood at quarterback, desperate to find enough offense to give them a chance. On the first play of the drive, Gatewood connected with Josh Ali, who picked up 12 yards before being stripped on the tackle. Missouri recovered and ran out the remaining 3:07

 

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Kentucky Embarrassed by Missouri in Columbia

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