Mark Story

Lynn Bowden is marching toward UK icon status, and Kentucky ‘D’ stones Missouri again

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Game day: Kentucky vs. Missouri

Click below for more of Kentucky.com’s coverage of Saturday’s Kentucky-Missouri football game at Kroger Field in Lexington.

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Instant analysis from Kentucky’s 29-7 win over Missouri:

How the game was won

Lynn Bowden ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns and the rapidly improving Kentucky defense held Missouri to 287 yards of offense as the Wildcats (4-4, 2-4 SEC) earned a much-needed SEC victory in a Kroger Field monsoon.

Game balls

1. Lynn Bowden. Becoming a Kentucky football icon before our eyes.

2. UK defense. After holding Drew Lock and Mizzou without a first down and with no points in the second half of last year’s 15-14 Kentucky comeback victory, a revamped Wildcats “D” held Kelly Bryant and the Tigers to 98 yards of offense and no points in the first half Saturday night.

3. Kentucky linebackers. Chris Oats (eight tackles), DeAndre Square (seven tackles), Josh Paschal (three tackles, one quarterback sack), Jordan Wright (two tackles, one sack, one forced fumble) and Jamin Davis (two tackles, one QB hurry) flat stoned the Mizzou offense.

4. Calvin Taylor. Quietly, the 6-foot-9, 311-pound Kentucky senior defensive tackle (two quarterback sacks vs. Mizzou) is having a heck of a year.

5. Chance Poore. Given a second chance by two Matt Ruffolo missed PATs, the deposed Kentucky place-kicker boomed a 43-yard field goal and cashed two extra-point tries.

6. Max Duffy. Continuing to make punting fun, Duffy flipped field position in the third quarter with a booming 70-yard kick from the UK 9 to the Missouri 21. Then the Australian ignited a Kentucky touchdown drive in the final quarter with a 36-yard run out of punt formation.

7. Mark Stoops. Broke down another door by at last winning the game after Georgia on UK’s schedule. In a season filled with injury-created adversity, the Kentucky head coach has held his team together and has it playing well.

8. The Kroger Field fans who stayed to the end. Sitting through three-plus hours of non-stop sheets of rain takes fortitude. Tip of the cap to all who did it.

Second guessing

1. Barry Odom. Fan bases often complain when their teams don’t call plays aggressively. But you can also get in trouble by not being conservative enough. Odom and Mizzou could have run out the clock at the end of the first half and gotten into the locker room down only two scores.

Instead, Missouri called timeouts to preserve time and had Bryant drop back to pass. That resulted in a lost fumble that essentially gave Kentucky a third first-half touchdown that, in a game played in a monsoon, was too big a deficit to overcome.

Key number(s)

Five and three. Kentucky has now beaten Missouri in five consecutive seasons. The Tigers join South Carolina (2014-18) and Vanderbilt (1976-81) as the only Southeastern Conference teams UK has beaten in five straight seasons.

Fashion police

For its eighth game of 2019, Kentucky wore silver chrome helmets, with anthracite jerseys with white numbers and letters and anthracite pants. Since the start of the 2016 season, it was only the fourth time UK had worn anthracite jerseys and pants together. The other times were Mississippi State in 2016 (a 40-38 win); Florida in 2017 (a 28-27 loss); and Mississippi State in 2018 (a 28-7 win).

Fans in the stands

The announced attendance at Kroger Field on a night of torrential downpours was 48,466.

The ‘Cat-mosphere’

1. The Total Grace Choir performed an inspiring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

2. Bill Ransdell, quarterback of Kentucky’s 9-3, Hall of Fame Bowl championship team, was this week’s honorary striker of “The Go Big Blue Drum.”

3. UK recognized its track and field alumni who qualified for the World Championships, including former sprint star Dezerea Bryant and hurdles stars Kendra Harrison, Sydney McLaughlin and Daniel Roberts, among others.

4. Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart was recognized on the field in between the first and second quarters for being named Athletic Director of the Year by the Sports Business Journal in May.

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Mark Story has worked in the Lexington Herald-Leader sports department since Aug. 27, 1990, and has been a Herald-Leader sports columnist since 2001. I have covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every UK-U of L basketball game but three since 1996-97 and every Kentucky Derby since 1994.
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