Rapid Reaction: Lynn Bowden washes away suddenly fraudulent Missouri with dominating performance
If last week wasn’t enough of an embarrassment for Missouri, this game certainly didn’t help.
By the time QB Kelly Bryant was sacked a second time in the first half on a similar play when a defensive lineman swiped the ball out of his hand, the questions poured in. Did you see this coming? What’s happened to Missouri the last two weeks? What’s wrong with Bryant?
The combination of Lynn Bowden, who had 106 rushing yards by halftime, and the Kentucky defense proved to be too much for the Tigers in a 29-7 Kentucky victory during a steady downpour much of the game. UK had 3 rushing touchdowns to build a 22-0 halftime lead. That proved to be only the beginning as Kentucky recovered from the loss at Georgia while Missouri had an effort similar to last week’s disappointing loss at Vanderbilt.
Bowden passed the 200-yard rushing mark midway through the fourth quarter when he had 2 rushing touchdowns and somehow kept up a rushing average of nearly 10 yards per carry.
Early in the second half, Missouri responded with a 74-yard touchdown pass from Bryant to Tyler Badie, who raced down the middle of the field. Then Bowden fumbled with just over 10:00 left in the third quarter, which gave Missouri momentum. But that quickly fizzled as the Tigers were flagged for a holding penalty, then had a fumble, and eventually settled for a punt.
Missouri then turned to backup QB Taylor Powell on the next drive with about 6 minutes left in the third quarter. He didn’t change much about the offense on a drive where the Tigers couldn’t convert a fourth down in field goal range.
Perhaps the most eye-popping play came early in the fourth quarter from UK’s punter, Max Duffy, who ran a fake punt from his own 22-yard line, and scampered 26 yards for a first down. It appeared Duffy hesitated to get a better handle on the ball as the first rushers passed him, then he looked up and found no Missouri players in front of him.
In similar weather to what UK experienced last week at Georgia, Bowden started more productive passing with a 3-for-5 performance in the first half alone.
It was a rough first half for Missouri. On one drive, Bryant was sacked and nearly lost the ball to a fumble, but it was recovered by a lineman. Bryant grabbed his right hamstring on a run out of bounds in the first half, but stayed in the game.
Missouri kicker Tucker McCann in the first half missed another field goal attempt as his recent slump continued. His 45-yard miss ended a promising 15-play drive. Entering Saturday, the seemingly reliable kicker had missed 3 of his past 7 field-goal attempts, including both tries at Vanderbilt. This came after he missed 2 extra point tries against Ole Miss.
UK got on the board with a Kavosiey Smoke touchdown on a drive highlighted by a 44-yard pass to Bryce Oliver from Bowden.
With 9:14 left in the first half, Bowden suffered a leg injury on a play where he gained 10 yards, but only missed a few plays, and returned to convert a fourth down and short play before another UK touchdown.
Matt Ruffolo missed two extra points, so Kentucky went back to Chance Poore, after he was benched following the Florida game. Poore responded with a 43-yard field goal with 44 seconds left in the first half, and then made an extra point on Bowden’s touchdown run with 10 seconds left in the first half.