GAMEDAY College Football

Kentucky 35, Missouri 28

Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed for a career-high 207 yards and three of his four touchdowns, including the go-ahead score from 8 yards with 11:28 remaining, and Kentucky stopped Missouri late for a hard-fought 35-28 victory.

The Wildcats (2-0, 1-0) never trailed this thrilling showdown for the early East Division lead but had to overcome squandering a 28-14 lead as Missouri (1-1, 1-1) eventually tied the game early in the fourth quarter. Kentucky answered by taking the kickoff and quickly marching 75 yards, helped by Rodriguez's 28-yard run and Will Levis' 28-yard pass to tight end Justin Rigg to the Tigers' 8.

Rodriguez barged in from the 8 for the TD, a play in which he appeared to fumble as he crossed the goal line but was upheld on review. Missouri had a final chance to tie after blocking Kentucky's field goal attempt, but turned it over on downs as Connor Bazelak's pass intended for Dominic Lovett was broken up by Kentucky's Carrington Valentine with 1:30 left.

Rodriguez, who surpassed his previous best of 149 yards against Vanderbilt last November, carried 27 times with additional TDs of 2 and 3 yards in matching his career high. The junior also had a 5-yard TD catch, his first, on Kentucky's opening drive. Levis completed 10 of 18 passes for 179 yards, a TD and an interception off a tipped pass.

Most importantly, Kentucky controlled the line of scrimmage, an effort that totaled 341 yards rushing with Rodriguez leading the way.

"Just me communicating with the (offensive) line," Rodriguez said. "After every series we would come off and talk about what's going on and where to hit (the line) at. I just trust those dudes."

The Wildcats outgained the Tigers 520-398 to avenge last year's loss in Columbia that marked their flattest effort of the season. They held two-TD leads three times before letting the last one slip away to a Missouri squad that wouldn't give up.

Bazelak made sure of that by completing 34 of 52 attempts for 294 yards and four touchdown passes, including a 17-yarder to Tyler Badie early in the fourth that tied the game. But he also threw an interception early in the third that Kentucky turned into a Rodriguez TD.

Badie contributed multiple ways for Missouri with 10 receptions for 88 yards and 14 carries for 61 in a workman-like performance. That was the Tigers' pattern all night as they drove 75 yards or longer for all four TDs but fell short of completing a spirited comeback.

"I'm really proud of this team and everyone, just the way they competed and kept taking the punches they were throwing," Bazelak said. "We fought back and threw punches back. So I'm proud of how we competed. We didn't let up, we didn't give up, even when we were down two touchdowns."


Scoring Summary
First Quarter MissouKty
Kty TD 12:52 Chris Rodriguez Jr. 5 yd pass from Will Levis (Matt Ruffolo kick) 0 7
Kty TD 5:13 Chris Rodriguez Jr. 2 yd run (Matt Ruffolo kick) 0 14
Missou TD 0:27 Daniel Parker Jr. 6 yd pass from Connor Bazelak (Harrison Mevis kick) 7 14
Second Quarter MissouKty
Kty TD 9:26 Will Levis 3 yd run (Matt Ruffolo kick) 7 21
Missou TD 0:04 Keke Chism 17 yd pass from Connor Bazelak (Harrison Mevis kick) 14 21
Third Quarter MissouKty
Kty TD 13:19 Chris Rodriguez Jr. 3 yd run (Matt Ruffolo kick) 14 28
Missou TD 9:15 Daniel Parker Jr. 6 yd pass from Connor Bazelak (Harrison Mevis kick) 21 28
Fourth Quarter MissouKty
Missou TD 13:11 Tyler Badie 17 yd pass from Connor Bazelak (Harrison Mevis kick) 28 28
Kty TD 11:28 Chris Rodriguez Jr. 8 yd run (Matt Ruffolo kick) 28 35
Team Stats
  Missouri Kentucky
First downs 25 26
  Rushing 8 16
  Passing 15 8
  Penalty 2 2
3rd Down Efficiency 9-15, 60% 8-12, 67%
4th down efficiency 0-1, 0% 0-0, -%
Rushes-Yards 24-104 52-340
Passing Yards 294 179
Return Yards 34 0
Completions-Attempts-Int 34-52-1 10-18-1
Sacks-Yards Lost 1--8 2--11
Punts 5 2
Punts-Average 39.2 38.5
Fumbles Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties - Yards 7-65 3-35
Time of Possession 27:12 32:48
Missouri Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
C. Bazelak 34 51 294 4 1
C. Luper 0 1 0 0 0
Kentucky Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
W. Levis 10 18 179 1 1
Missouri Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
T. Badie 14 61 4.4 0
C. Bazelak 6 28 4.7 0
M. Cooper 2 10 5.0 0
E. Young 2 5 2.5 0
Kentucky Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
C. Rodriguez Jr. 27 206 7.6 3
W. Robinson 3 73 24.3 0
K. Smoke 8 39 4.9 0
W. Levis 11 25 2.3 1
Missouri Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
T. Badie 10 88 8.8 1
T. Dove 6 65 10.8 0
N. Hea 5 37 7.4 0
C. Luper 3 27 9.0 0
D. Parker Jr. 3 21 7.0 2
D. Lovett 4 18 4.5 0
K. Chism 1 17 17.0 1
M. Cooper 1 16 16.0 0
B. Banister 1 5 5.0 0
Kentucky Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
W. Robinson 5 101 20.2 0
J. Ali 2 30 15.0 0
J. Rigg 1 28 28.0 0
I. Cummings 1 15 15.0 0
C. Rodriguez Jr. 1 5 5.0 1
Missouri Interceptions
Player Int Yards
J. Carlies 1 9
Kentucky Interceptions
Player Int Yards
J. Jones 1 0
Missouri Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
G. McKinniss 5 196 39.2
Kentucky Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
W. Berry 2 77 38.5
Missouri Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Kentucky Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Missouri Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
K. Abrams-Draine 1 25 25.0
Kentucky Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Missouri Missed FG
Player Length
Kentucky Missed FG
Player Length
M. Ruffolo 37




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