By LARRY VAUGHT
Let’s just try to process this.
— Kentucky’s best running back Benny Snell not only had trouble finding running room, but he got benched temporarily in the second half after getting frustrated, talking back to an official and drawing a 15-yard penalty.
— Quarterback Terry Wilson got benched in the second half for three series and then threw a late-game interception.
— Kentucky was 0-for-3 on fourth-down tries and never really got close to getting a first down when it only needed a yard.
— Kentucky was just 3-for-14 on third down conversions.
— Cornerback Derrick Baitty and head coach Mark Stoops got into a shouting match on the sideline based on what the coach said on his postgame radio show.
— Kentucky got penalized three times in the red zone to keep alive Missouri scoring drives in the first half.
— With less than six minutes to play, Missouri led 14-3 and had the football.
Yet in spite of all that, Kentucky won the game 15-14 on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to tight end C.J. Conrad on a play after time expired because Missouri was called for pass interference in the end zone on the final play of regulation.
Now the SEC East showdown is set up with what UK receiver Lynn Bowden called the “monster” — Georgia. The Cats will host Georgia at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in what will be the biggest home game in 11 years or more.
Of course, Georgia likely will be calling Bowden a few names, too, when it sees he had 13 catches for 165 yards along with a game-changing 67-yard punt return with 5:18 to play — where he told UK coaches to put him in to return a punt for the first time in the game — that cut the lead to 14-9.
SEC Network analyst Matt Stinchcomb had a different way to describe UK’s win — but I don’t think UK can argue with his analysis.
“That was the butt-ugliest win I have seen,” Stinchcomb said. “To be as anemic as they were offensively … take Lynn Bowden out and what did they accomplish. Benny never got going.
“The story of the game, and story of the season, has been their defense. What they did gave Kentucky a chance to win as ugly as they did. This was the kind of game that good teams have to come away with victories. But this was as ugly as it gets.”
It was. But who cares. Not Mark Stoops for sure.
“I don’t know if I have ever won a game like that. Just amazing,” Stoops said. “Just for the defense to play like that against that type of offense. Lynn was at another level tonight. Then the defense … I felt good we would get another stop. Just find a way to win. The offense has to go and score and to have that pressure on them and respond, hopefully that gives us confidence.”
Stoops said he again told his players how proud he was of them and that the team took it to another level by finding a way to win.
“This is what we do. We find a way to win. We have a lot of flaws but you have got to love the attitude, energy and hearts and the way they play,” Stoops said.