Dorial Green-Beckham had a school-record 4 TD receptions, and finished with 7 catches for 100 yards receiving, his second 100-yard receiving game of the season. Maty Mauk finished 17-28-0 (61%) for 203 yards and 5 TDs through the air for a very healthy 180.54 single-game passer efficiency rating. And, Henry Josey rushed for 113 yards and 1 TD on 11 carries, and had 2 receptions for 22 yards and 1 TD.
Defensively, Missouri registered 11 tackles-for-loss, including 7 sacks, and forced a fumble. Kony Ealy had a career-high 3 TFLs, and a pair of sacks, which matched his career high. Duron Singleton played extensively, and played very well, and finished with 7 tackles, including 2 TFLs, and a pass-break-up.
“I thought we did a good job of answering a little bit each (time) with the offense and the defense,” said Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel. “You know, we had that turnover there in the first half, and our defense went out there and forced a punt out of that turnover. In the second half, they got a couple of scores. They ran some trick plays and things like that, and they made some plays. And our offense answered with touchdowns on every one. When you can do that, you’re working really well together as a team.”
Despite a sluggish start, and falling behind by an early field goal, Missouri still managed to take a 28-3 lead into the halftime locker room. By Missouri standards, it had been a sloppy first half. But with 1:20 remaining in the 1st quarter, Maty Mauk found Green-Beckham singled up along the left side of the end zone, and the big sophomore went up to haul in a fade pass to put Missouri ahead 7-3.
About a minute-and-a-half later, Levi Copelin blocked a punt, and Missouri took over on the Kentucky 4-yard line. On the next play, Henry Josey took it in over the left side to extend Missouri’s lead to 14-7 early in the 2nd quarter.
Midway through the 2nd quarter, Mauk found Green-Beckham in the end zone on another fade. Coach Pinkel would later say that Green-Beckham had come off of his best week of practice at Missouri. He was certainly having the better of it on those 1-on-1 match-ups.
The Tigers closed out their first-half scoring with 1:38 remaining in the 2nd quarter, when Mauk checked down to Josey out along the left side, and Josey dove for the pylon to complete the 6-yard TD catch-and-run.
Kentucky took the opening second-half kickoff and drove the length of the field, with 6’2” 220-pound sophomore QB Jalen Whitlow taking it in on a sneak from 1 yard out. On the drive, Whitlow had 5 carries for 36 rushing yards, and 1 reception for 10 yards. On that drive, he completed just one pass, a screen pass near mid-field that was good for 7 yards.
After Missouri failed to move the football, Kentucky took over on their own 5-yard line, trailing 10-28, midway through the 3rd quarter. Whitlow found running back Raymond Sanders out of the backfield for a catch and run that netted 40 yards to the Kentucky 44-yard line. But, Andrew Wilson chased Sanders down from behind and knocked the football loose, and it was recovered by Darvin Ruise.
Three plays later, Mauk underthrew Green-Beckham in the left front corner of the end zone, but the sophomore made a spectacular grab, as he came back over the top of the defender to haul in the 22-yard TD pass that put Missouri ahead 35-10.
Kentucky then drove 75 yards in 8 plays to cut the Missouri lead to 35-17.
But John Gibson returned the ensuing kick-off 62 yards to the Kentucky 32-yard line, and 5 plays later, on fourth down and three from the Kentucky 7-yard line, Mauk hit Green-Beckham in the end zone on a slant with the answer, and Missouri led 41-17, with 14:57 remaining in the 4th quarter.
Kentucky moved the football to near midfield before the Tigers forced the Wildcats to punt. Missouri took over on their own 14-yard line, and on first down, Henry Josey burst over the left side, broke a tackle, and outraced everyone to the end zone to complete the scoring.
“I’m real proud of our team,” said Coach Pinkel. “And, it’s great to have a bye week so that their head can get away a little bit, because the amount of intensity and focus that it takes to play well (for eight straight weeks) takes its toll. So, it’ll be nice to (have a bye).”