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From the parking lot tailgates all the way inside Kroger Field the atmosphere was electric for Kentucky Football’s SEC opening game against the Missouri Tigers. After the upset loss to the Tigers last season, which included taunting from the Missouri players, the coaches and players had this game circled on the schedule.
It was evident from the beginning of the game that Kentucky had come to play. They scored the first two touchdowns of the game and took the early lead and were on the verge of making it a three-touchdown lead, but at the end of the first half Chris Rodrigeuz fumbled on the one-yard line and allowed the Tigers to score the last touchdown of the half. That pulled Missouri within a touchdown 21 to 14.
The second half caused the Big Blue Nation to hold their breath as everything seemed to be going against the Wildcats, including a blocked field goal attempt to seal the game. However, Kentucky held on to win the game 35 to 28.
It was another great game by Will Levis and Wan’dale Robinson. Levis passed for 179 yards on 10 for 18 passing. Robinson made several explosive plays that was exciting for the fans to watch. He rushed for 73 yards and had 101 receiving yards. The MVP of the night was Chris Rodriguez who scored four total touchdowns and gained 207 yards on the ground.
It wasn’t a seamless victory, but the Cats won their opening SEC game and gained their second win of the season. Next up for the Wildcats is Chatanooga when they face off next Saturday at noon.
The opening drive went to Kentucky and it didn’t take long to get the first score of the game. After a 63-yard rush by Wan’dale Robinson, Will Levis threw a yard touchdown pass to Chris Rodriguez to gain a seven to nothing lead in only 2:08. After forcing the Tigers to punt on their opening drive, the Wildcats scored on a 2-yard rush by Chris Rodriguez on a 12 play, 5:32, 80-yard drive. Missouri scored their first points of the game on a 6-yard pass from Connor Bazelak to Daniel Parker that ended the first 14 to 7 in Kentucky’s favor.
After an outstanding first quarter Kentucky’s Will Levis threw an interception to start the quarter, but the defense stopped the Tigers minimizing the turnover and giving the Cats the ball on the 8-yard line. After an amazing 49-yard pass from Levis to Robinson, Levis ran the ball in on a quarterback keeper putting the Wildcats up 21 to 7. It looked as it was going to be another touchdown for the Wildcats, but Rodriguez fumbled on the 1-yard line giving the Tigers the ball on the 25. Missouri used the turnover well scoring a touchdown on a 17-yard reception by Keke Chism with only 4 seconds left in the half. The half ended with Kentucky leading 21 to 14.
The second half started on a great defensive play on the open drive with an interception by Jacquez Jones giving the ball back to the Cats. Chris Rodriguez made up for this earlier fumble by rushing for a 31-yard gain which led to him getting a touchdown on a 3-yard rush. Missouri’s offense was not fazed by the interception and scored a touchdown on a 75-yard, 10 play drive pulling back within a touchdown 28 to 21.
Missouri opened the fourth quarter with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Badie that tied the game 28 to 28 with 13:11 left in the game. The Wildcats responded with a rushing touchdown by Chris Rodriguez his fourth of the night to put Kentucky back in the lead 35 to 28. The defense held their ground on the following possession and gave the offense the opportunity to seal the game. However, a field goal attempt was blocked by Missouri giving them the ball on the UK 45 yard. Once again, the defense prevailed giving the Cats the victory 35-28.