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GAMEDAY College Football

Kentucky 26, Louisville 13

(AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

By GARY B. GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A rivalry game was just what Kentucky needed to snap out of a second-half tailspin and play the way it wanted.

Will Levis passed for two touchdowns, including a 3-yarder to Barion Brown in the third quarter, Matt Ruffolo kicked a career-best four field goals and the Wildcats topped archrival Louisville 26-13 for their fourth consecutive Governor's Cup victory.

The Wildcats (7-5) limped in with five losses in seven games but regrouped to overwhelm the Cardinals (7-5) in all phases. Kentucky's defense harassed Cardinal quarterbacks Brock Domann and Malik Cunningham and forced a turnover from each leading to 10 points. Trevin Wallace's third-quarter interception of Cunningham and 19-yard return to the Louisville 16 was especially critical, setting up Levis' scoring pass to Brown three plays later for a 23-7 lead that put the game out of reach.

Earlier, J.J. Weaver stripped Domann of the football on a second-quarter sack and returned it to the 6, setting up Ruffolo's second field goal from 29 yards to make it 13-0.

"Our team responded how I believed they would," coach Mark Stoops said. "This game is important and recognized that from the moment I walked in the door. ... It's important for our football players and our staff, and I really appreciate the way we dug in, competed and finished the season."

Levis was 11 of 19 passing for 188 yards and also tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Dane Key on Kentucky's second possession. His pass to wide-open tight end Josh Kattus turned into a 70-yard catch-and-run and set the stage for his first score three plays later.

The Wildcats never trailed, even though it took another Levis TD pass for the Wildcats to really feel comfortable with Bluegrass bragging rights - again.

"Great way to end the year at home," said Levis, who beat Louisville for the second consecutive year. "The season didn't go the way we wanted and we needed the win and got it."

Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed 24 times for 120 yards and broke the school record with his 20th 100-yard performance.

Ruffolo converted from 43, 29, 35 and 40 yards along with making both extra points for Kentucky on the way to becoming the first kicker to earn the Howard Schnellenberger Award as Most Valuable Player.

Louisville's Jawhar Jordan rushed 22 times for 145 yards, both career bests for the Syracuse transfer.

Cunningham, a four-year starter at QB, relieved an ineffective Domann in the second quarter and got Louisville (7-5, No. 25 CFP) within 13-7 just before halftime with a 6-yard TD run. His participation was somewhat surprising considering he missed last week's win over North Carolina State with an injured shoulder, and coach Scott Satterfield said afterward that Cunningham hadn't taken many snaps the past two weeks.

"Malik comes in and not fully healthy, but I felt we needed a spark," the coach added. "I appreciate the effort and the toughness."

Domann returned when Cunningham was injured again on the interception and threw a 27-yard TD pass to Tyler Hudson midway through the fourth cut the deficit to 26-13. Officials ruled that his two-point conversion run came up short after review.

Both struggled to get anything going offensively for the Cardinals, who played catch-up all night after winning five of six coming in and entering the College Football Playoff rankings last week.

"We just did not have enough offensive firepower," Satterfield said.

FAREWELL

Before the game Kentucky honored 28 seniors including Levis, a Penn State transfer who is projected to be a first-round selection in next year's NFL draft.

Wildcats linebacker Chris Oats, whose career was ended by a stroke in May 2020, received loud cheers and an ovation. The Cincinnati native played in 25 games over the 2018 and '19 seasons with two bowl games before he was stricken. He thanked teammates and fans in a Twitter post this week.

THE TAKEAWAY

Louisville: Everything that worked offensively during the Cardinals' 5-1 surge coming in failed miserably, whether Domann or Cunningham was behind center. Allowing a tight end to break an explosive was the first sign their defense would have a long day, and it never got better.

Kentucky: Besides out-gaining Louisville 346-309 overall, the Wildcats came up just six yards short of one of the nation's top rushing teams (164-158). Ruffolo had struggled at times this season but made every chance he got in the game that mattered - especially for teammates seeking to climb from a second-half swoon.

November 26, 2022


Scoring Summary
First Quarter LouKty
Kty TD 7:46 Dane Key 8 yd pass from Will Levis (Matt Ruffolo kick) 0 7
Second Quarter LouKty
Kty FG 12:48 Matt Ruffolo 43 yd FG 0 10
Kty FG 10:28 Matt Ruffolo 29 yd FG 0 13
Lou TD 0:37 Malik Cunningham 6 yd run (James Turner kick) 7 13
Third Quarter LouKty
Kty FG 8:43 Matt Ruffolo 35 yd FG 7 16
Kty TD 6:35 Barion Brown 3 yd pass from Will Levis (Matt Ruffolo kick) 7 23
Fourth Quarter LouKty
Kty FG 12:06 Matt Ruffolo 40 yd FG 7 26
Lou TD 7:03 Tyler Hudson 27 yd pass from Brock Domann (failed 2pt rush) 13 26
Team Stats
  Louisville Kentucky
First downs 19 17
  Rushing 9 9
  Passing 8 7
  Penalty 2 1
3rd Down Efficiency 4-12, 33% 3-11, 27%
4th down efficiency 2-3, 67% 0-0, -%
Rushes-Yards 37-164 42-158
Passing Yards 145 188
Return Yards 30 74
Completions-Attempts-Int 17-27-2 11-19-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 4--40 2--14
Punts 4 3
Punts-Average 44.5 42.7
Fumbles Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties - Yards 5-57 9-56
Time of Possession 27:15 32:45
Louisville Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
B. Domann 14 21 129 1 1
M. Cunningham 3 6 16 0 1
Kentucky Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
W. Levis 11 19 188 2 0
Louisville Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Jordan 22 145 6.6 0
M. Turner 7 33 4.7 0
M. Cunningham 5 4 0.8 1
B. Domann 3 -18 -6.0 0
Kentucky Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
C. Rodriguez Jr. 24 120 5.0 0
J. McClain 10 50 5.0 0
W. Levis 5 -10 -2.0 0
Louisville Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
T. Hudson 6 83 13.8 1
M. Ford 3 29 9.7 0
M. Turner 5 20 4.0 0
B. Smith 2 15 7.5 0
A. Huggins-Bruce 1 -2 -2.0 0
Kentucky Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Kattus 2 76 38.0 0
B. Brown 4 44 11.0 1
D. Key 3 37 12.3 1
J. Dingle 1 18 18.0 0
R. Lewis 1 13 13.0 0
Louisville Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Kentucky Interceptions
Player Int Yards
J. Lovett 1 34
T. Wallace 1 19
Louisville Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
M. Vassett 4 178 44.5
Kentucky Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
W. Berry 3 128 42.7
Louisville Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
B. Smith 1 30 30.0
Kentucky Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
B. Brown 3 9 3.0
Louisville Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Kentucky Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
K. Smoke 1 13 13.0
C. Magwood 1 -1 -1.0
Louisville Missed FG
Player Length
Kentucky Missed FG
Player Length




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