Photo by Braxton Howard
Kentucky Football

Lynn Bowden Runs Past Louisville and into the History Books in Kentucky Victory

November 30, 2019
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Kentucky capped off an incredible storyline of a season with a rout of the in-state rival Louisville, trouncing the Cardinals to the tune of 45-13. The bigger story of the night, however, was the Kentucky run game and offensive line, whose dominance reached record levels this week. Just seven days after setting a new school rushing record for a single game with 462 yards on the ground, the Cats shattered it again, this time gaining 517 yards on the legs of quarterback Lynn Bowden and running backs AJ Rose, Chris Rodriguez, and Kavosiey Smoke. Smoke didn’t see many snaps tonight, but carried twice, once for a 70 yard touchdown. He totaled 75 yards on those two carries. AJ Rose tallied 33 tough yards on seven carries, and Chris Rodriguez had his second 100-yard game of the season, adding 125 yards on nine carries. Lynn Bowden, however, made a legend of himself, going 284 yards on 22 carries and adding four rushing touchdowns. He was 1 for 2 in the air, tallying 4 passing yards on the night for Kentucky. His 284 yards set a record for most rush yards in a game by a quarterback in SEC history. The total of 517 rush yards was the most by a team versus an FBS opponent this season. 

The Kentucky defense came to play as well, giving up two big plays that went for touchdowns and hutting down the Louisville offense otherwise. Boogie Watson recorded two sacks with Jamin Davis, Quandre Mosely, and Jerquavion Mahone each adding one a piece. DeAndre Square and Davis led in tackles with seven each. The Kentucky defense totaled a staggering 13 tackles for loss on the game with Josh Paschal and Watson leading the way with two each. Nine other players recorded one. Louisville also singled out Quinton Bohanna post-game, saying he made a lot of trouble for them throughout the game. In another testament to the Kentucky defense, the Cardinals never snapped the ball in the red zone all day.

The Kentucky defense held Louisville to 4.5 yards per play while the offense posted a staggering 12.4 yards per play. Louisville won time of possession by over 10 minutes, mainly because the Kentucky rushing attack kept scoring too quickly to stay on the field. 

 

First Quarter

Louisville received the kickoff to open the first half and moved down the field with elacrity into Kentucky territory. Javian Hawkins took the opening carry eight yards, and it was the combination of him and Micale Cunningham that took the Cardinals down the field. Missed tackles plagues Kentucky on rushes of nine and 23 yards that helped Louisville move quickly. The Kentucky defense tightened up inside the 40 yard line, forcing 4th and 10 from the 33 yard line. Louisville went for it, and got multiple receivers behind the Wildcat defense. Cunningham’s pass to Tutu Atwell was on target in the end zone to give Louisville the touchdown. After a missed extra point, the Cardinals took a 6-0 lead.

A poor kick from Louisville allowed Kentucky to start their first drive of the game from their own 35 yard line. They took advantage of the good field position, as Lynn Bowden took off for 18 yards on the first snap. The following play, with the Wildcats already across the 50 yard line, Chris Rodriguez found a hole up the left sideline and gained another 18 yards. A personal foul by the Cardinals after the play gave Kentucky another 15 yards, setting them up at the 14 yard line with a new set of downs. Bowden and AJ Rose chipped away at the Louisville defense on the next few plays, with gains of four, two, and four yards. Bowden’s four yard gain on 3rd down was good for a 1st down form the four yard line, and on the very next play AJ Rose ran easily up the middle for the touchdown. Matt Ruffolo’s extra point attempt was good, giving Kentucky a 7-6 lead.

Grant McKinniss kicked deep, and a return of 12 yards gave the Cardinals the ball on their own 16 yard line. Cunningham went to the air early, hitting Dez Fitzpatrick for a 12 yard gain. TJ Carter got to Javian Hawkins on the next play to tackle him for a loss of two yards, but Louisville immediately bounced back thanks to a 14 yard run by Cunningham. Louisville continued to force missed tackles from the Kentucky defense, crossing into Kentucky territory once more. A holding penalty called a big run back, setting Louisville up at 2nd and 15, but a false start on the next snap backed them up even more to 2nd and 20. Louisville gained back 15 yards on a pass to Fitzpatrick, but on 3rd and 5 Boogie Watson came in for the sack on Cunningham, forcing Louisville to punt.

Louisville pinned Kentucky deep, with the Cats starting their drive on their own six yard line. Bowden ran it out on the first snap for a gain of six yards to end the first quarter.

 

Second Quarter

On the following snap, Logan Stenberg was called for a false start that really included most of the offenisve line. On 2nd and 9 Kavosiey Smoke ran for five yards to get the Cats back to the 12 yard line. Bowden took it himself to the 24 yard line for a gain of 12. On the next snap Kavosiey Smoke got the carry and beat Louisville defense to the corner, taking off down the right sideline for a 70 yard gain. Bowden ran down to block for him but was unable to engage, and Smoke was tackled on the six yard line. Bowden kept the ball on the next snap, reaching the end zone to extend the Kentucky lead to 14-6.

The Cats defense fed off the momentum, giving up four yards on two plays and forcing Louisville to pass on 3rd down. The incompletion brought up 4th down, and the Cardinals faked the punt. The Wildcat special teams unit sniffed out the sake quickly, with Zach Johnson and Allen Dailey combining for the tackle to give the Cats the ball on Louisville’s 34 yard line.

Kentucky was unable to get moving on offense, gaining seven yards on three rushes by Chris Rodriguez. Matt Ruffolo came in for the 45 yard field goal attempt and drilled it, extending the lead to 17-6.

Louisville continued to struggle on their next drive. They gained a total of 10 yards on two plays to reset the chains, but on 1st down from their own 40 yard line Cunningham went deep to Tutu Atwell, who was covered well by Cedrick Dort. Atwell tipped the pass right to Jordan Griffin who grabbed the interception. The Cats took over on their own 19 yard line.

Both offenses continued to stall, with Kentucky moving only nine yards before having to punt back to Louisville. The Cardinals fared no better on their ensuing drive, going five total yards on their own three-and-out. Kentucky got the ball back on their own 19 yard line with 3:58 left in the half. Kentucky stuck with the run that had been working all day, staying ahead of the chains for the first few plays, in part thanks to a drive-opening 18 yard gain by Bowden. The first pass of the game for Kentucky came in the fourth play of the drive, a four yard completion to Clevan Thomas. On 2nd down Bowden was dropped for a loss of one, getting the Cats slightly behind the chains, from which they could not recover on 3rd down. They went for it on 4th down but did not get it, giving Louisville the ball at their own 44 yard line with :35 left in the half.

Louisville’s first play was a pass intended for Atwell that fell incomplete, but Cunningham handed off to Javian Hawkins on 2nd down, who cut straight through the Kentucky defense on his way to a momentum-shifting 56 yard touchdown. Louisville tightened the score up to 17-13. Kentucky had time for one snap before the half, giving the ball to Bowden who gained three yards before the teams went to the locker rooms.

 

Third Quarter

Kentucky got the ball to start the second half, beginning their drive on their own 35 yard line after a six yard return by Drew Schlegel.  AJ Rose took the first carry for five yards. On 2nd and 5, Bowden shook loose up the left sideline, making multiple Louisville defenders miss before cutting back behinds his blocks and taking it to the house. The 60 yard touchdown gave Kentucky a 24-13 lead and a much needed momentum boost.

Louisville’s following drive took 4:43 off the clock and lasted nine plays, but the Cardinal offense netted zero yards on the drive thanks to tackles for loss by Brandin Echols and Josh Paschal, and a monster 3rd down sack by Jamin Davis. The Cardinals punted to the Kentucky 43 where the ball went out of bounds, giving UK favorable field position again.

AJ Rose and Lynn Bowden split the carries on their drive, moving steadily. A holding penalty by Drake Jackson crippled the drive and Kentucky was forced to punt from Louisville’s 43 yard line. Duffy drove the ball deep, giving Louisville possession on their own four yard line.

Once again Louisville struggled to move the ball, driving 19 yards on four plays before punting back to Kentucky. Of those 19 yards, 17 came on 1st and 10 on a run by Hawkins before the Kentucky defense shut down the drive. 

Kentucky got the ball back on their own 35 yard line. Chris Rodriguez and AJ Rose split the first three carries with Rodriguez gaining 14 yards on two runs and Rose gaining five on one play. On 3rd and 1 from the Louisville 46 yard line Bowden took the ball himself, finding a hole and taking off. He went all the way for the touchdown, this one for 46 yards. Kentucky extended their lead to 31-13.

Louisville put Evan Conley in at quarterback after the kickoff, who rushed for four yards on the first play. Hassan Hall took the carries at running back, gaining 10 and four yards before the end of the third quarter. 

 

Fourth Quarter

Louisville couldn’t sustain their drive though, struggling to get yards against kentucky’s stout front seven. On 3rd and 8 Boogie Watson got to the backfield, sacking Conley for a loss of eight. The Cardinals punted, giving Kentucky the ball at the UK 36 yard line. 

Kentucky didn’t keep the ball long at all this time. On the first play of the drive Chris Rodriguez beat the defense, taking off for a 64 yard touchdown that extended the lead to 38-13.

Louisville once again held onto the ball for several minutes, but were unable to gain much ground as the Kentucky defense racked up the statistics. Conley ran to the outside on 1st and 10, trying to get to the perimeter, and Quandre Mosely met him one yard into the backfield for another Wildcat sack. A false start by Louisville two plays later helped doom the drive, and the Cardinals punted back to the Cats after 3:59 and only 14 yards.

Despite everyone in the stadium knowing what Kentucky’s game plan was, it continued to work. On 1st down Rodriguez ripped off another 19 yard run, moving the Wildcats out from their drive starting position on their own two yard line. Now safely out to the 21, Bowden kept the ball on 1st and 10, creating more missed tackles and gaining 40 yards this time. AJ Rose took the ball for a two yard rush before Bowden took to the air for only the second time in the game. This one, intended for Josh Ali downfield, didn’t quite connect, bringing up 3rd and 8. Bowden ran himself, gaining five yards and setting up 4th and 3. Once again, Bowden found a hole behind his blockers and accelerated to the end zone, scoring from 32 yards out for his fourth rushing touchdown of the day. Kentucky’s lead opened to 45-13. 

Louisville got the ball back with 5:08 left in the game and went almost entirely to the air on the arm of Conley. After an early loss of one yard thanks to Marquan McCall on a rush by Hall, Conley threw on six of the next eight plays. Louisville gained enough yardage to keep the chains moving as they tried to close up the score slightly, but after getting down to the Kentucky 33 yard line Conley was sacked for a loss of 10 yards on 1st down by Jerquavion Mahone shut down any rhythm Louisville had. Two plays later Conley was sacked again, this time by Davoan Hawkins, who forced the fumble. Boogie Watson recovered for the Cats and the clock ran out. 

 

The Cats wrap up the regular season with a 7-5 record and bowl eligibility for the fourth straight year. They’ll have to wait until next Sunday to find out the post-season destination when the match-ups are announced on Selection Sunday. Check back here this week to hear our thoughts on possible destinations and matchups.

 
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