Stephen Johnson: We’re overjoyed to be 5-1
Instant analysis from Kentucky’s 40-34 homecoming win over Missouri:
How the game was won
Stephen Johnson threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns and Austin MacGinnis kicked four field goals as UK survived on homecoming night.
1. Stephen Johnson. All he does is win.
2. Garrett Johnson. Kentucky senior wideout (seven catches, 111 yards, one TD) was clutch on a night when clutch was needed.
3. UK special teams. Fake punt conversion by Kash Daniel and blocked field goal by Lonnie Johnson helped UK escape.
4. Austin MacGinnis. The UK place-kicker (314 career points) joined Dan Issel (men’s basketball) and Valerie Still (UK Hoops) as Kentucky all-time leading scorers.
5. Mark Stoops. His team is 5-1 — and saved the UK head coach from ample second-guessing over kicking a field goal up 37-34 from the 2-yard line with 1:48 left.
1. Kentucky secondary. Gave up more long balls than a bad pitching staff.
2. Kentucky ground game. So good a season ago. It’s amazing how difficult it has been this year for UK to get a rushing attack going.
3. Barry Odom. The embattled Missouri coach’s team made a stand and fought for him — but couldn’t get the win he really needed.
Three. With UK’s victory, the Wildcats still have all-time winning records against three current SEC opponents — Missouri (5-3), Arkansas (4-3) and Vanderbilt (43-42-4).
For its sixth game of the 2017 season, Kentucky wore blue matte helmets, anthracite jerseys with white numbers and letters and blue pants. Since the start of the 2016 season, UK is 3-1 in blue matte helmets.
Kentucky (5-1, 2-1 SEC) is off Oct. 14, but will return to action Oct. 21 at Mississippi State in a game whose start time and television information have yet to be announced. The Bulldogs (3-2, 1-2 SEC) were off Saturday and will face BYU in Starkville on Oct. 14.
Know your foe
1. Kentucky’s 40-38 win over Mississippi State last season in Lexington on MacGinnis’ 51-yard field goal at the buzzer was UK’s first victory over MSU Coach Dan Mullen after seven defeats.
2. UK’s last victory in Starkville was a 14-13 win on Nov. 1, 2008, in a game that allowed Rich Brooks’ Cats to achieve bowl eligibility for a third straight season. It was also the only game Randall Cobb won as UK’s starting quarterback in four career starts.
3. Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is a dual threat of the type that has traditionally given UK defenses fits. Last year against Kentucky, Fitzgerald ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns and threw for a third score. This season, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior has rushed for 343 yards and five TDs and thrown for 783 yards and eight scores. However, he is completing only 53 percent of his passes and has thrown five picks.