Lynn Bowden continues to shine in victory over Missouri


Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. (1) is lifted into the air after scoring a touchdown during the University of Kentucky vs. University of Missouri football game on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 29-7. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

The rain is no match for Kentucky Football’s Lynn Bowden.

In fact, he thrives in the rain. That’s exactly what happened in the Cats’ (4-4, 2-4 SEC) 29-7 thumping of the Missouri Tigers (5-3, 2-2) at Kroger Field on Saturday night. 

“Since I was a young kid, I played my best games in the rain,” Bowden said after Saturday’s victory.  

There’s certainly some truth to that. After being given the nod to start Saturday’s contest over Sawyer Smith, Bowden came, saw and delivered with a statement performance. He rushed for a season-high 205 rushing yards on 21 attempts to go with two rushing touchdowns. Better yet, he rushed for more yards than any other SEC player so far this season. He also tossed 54 yards in the air while passing 3-for-7.

The performance is remarkable given what he went going up against. Aside from playing in wet, windy, frustrating weather, Missouri head coach Barry Odom brought a hefty defense to Lexington. The Tigers were seventh in the nation overall defense entering Saturday, allowing just 270 yards a game.

But that was still no match for Bowden. 

“Lynn has that ability to make one person miss. You start adding up all the numbers and what we’re doing and the stress we’re putting on the defense, and then with him making somebody miss in to the hole, it puts a lot the stress on you,” UK head coach Mark Stoops said after the game. “So, it works with well-designed plays and Lynn’s God-given ability and his toughness.”

Bowden’s success didn’t come right away though.

On the Cats’ second drive of the game, Bowden rushed for five yards on 2nd-and-10 and fumbled the ball away to Missouri. However, he let it go, exploding on a 46-yard rush through puddles of water with just under four minutes to go in the half before rushing for a touchdown with 10 seconds left in the half.

After fumbling to open up the third quarter, again, Bowden put that behind him. In the Cats’ final drive of the quarter leading into the fourth, Bowden exploded again. He had a 34-yard burst through the soggy turf that pushed the Cats into Tigers’ territory before capping off the drive with a 33-yard blast into the end zone.

Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran saw Bowden’s vision come to fruition. He says that he was able to settle into a rhythm, despite the mishaps, and that made all the difference.

“The first couple times, things were happening really fast. It wasn’t the same as practice. I think after he got comfortable, I think he did really well with it. He can do some other things to make it a little bit more difficult on defenses,” Gran said. “All I can say is that he executed. He did a fantastic job. He’s a hard guy to bring down.”

It wasn’t just his legs that were hard to bring down though. His arm presented problems too. He completed a 44-yard pass to Bryce Oliver early in the second quarter that helped set up a Kavosiey Smoke rushing touchdown. He was also able to get wide receiver Ahmad Wagner to draw a pass interference penalty on a long ball.

“He’s [Lynn] learning as he goes and he’s getting better and better and more comfortable in the worst situations possible. It’s a rain-storm out there and a team is coming after you. He threw the ball well today with the attempts he had. We have to continue to do that,” quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw said after the game.

Although Smith relieved Bowden in the last several minutes of regulation, Smith still isn’t 100 percent healthy, according to several coaches. However, with a bye week coming up, the Cats have two weeks to get healthier before facing the Tennessee Volunteers back at Kroger Field. Regardless of whether or not Bowden is under center, he left little doubt that he’s prepared.

“I just try to win. I’m here to win. If I got to [start], I will,” Bowden said.