The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

Follow us on Instagram

At the whistle: No. 24 Kentucky football suffers second consecutive loss, falls 38-21 to Missouri

Kentucky Wildcats linebacker JJ Weaver (13) sacks Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) during the Kentucky vs. Missouri football game on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Isaiah Pinto | Staff

No. 24 Kentucky football suffered a second consecutive defeat on Saturday, losing 38-21 against Missouri at Kroger Field.

The win was the first for Missouri over Kentucky since 2020 and the first in Lexington since 2013.

The Wildcats entered the game on the back of a lopsided 51-13 loss against No. 1 Georgia in Athens. The result was the first defeat of the year for the Cats.

Missouri, on the other hand, entered the game on the back of a 49-39 loss against LSU that saw it drop out of the top 25. The result was also the first loss of the season for the Tigers as well.

The Tigers won the opening coin toss and opted to start on offense, but the Cats led a statement opening drive, holding the visitors to zero offensive yards and a three-and-out.

Kentucky made the most of its first offensive opportunity, marching down the field and scoring not one, but two touchdowns after a rush by quarterback Devin Leary was called back for holding.

Leary would get his in due time, however, recording a seven-yard pass to running back Ray Davis for the seven points.

Back on defense, Kentucky once again silenced the Tigers, this time with the fifth interception of the year for Maxwell Hairston.

With the ball back in Leary’s hands the quarterback made sure to get his rushing touchdown, finding the end zone from 13 yards out to put the Cats up by two scores.

Kentucky Wildcats defenders line up on the line during the Kentucky vs. Missouri football game on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Isaiah Pinto | Staff

The next Missouri drive wouldn’t go much better for the Tigers when Deone Walker recorded a sack on Brady Cook, forcing the visitors to punt for the second time.

Kentucky was forced to punt on its next drive after a near sack on Leary and the Tigers capitalized, faking a punt before Luke Bauer instead tossed the ball 39-yards for the visitors’ first touchdown.

The Cats would be stopped again on their next drive, but the defense would come up strong in the red zone, forcing Missouri to kick a 25-yard field goal after stopping Cook’s rushing attempt.

Disaster then struck for the home side when Leary was sacked for a big loss and fumbled the football on third down. Kentucky recovered the ball, but found itself on a fourth-and-21.

Taking over on offense, Missouri marched methodically down the field before taking the lead for the first time all night with a 17-yard passing touchdown from Cook to Theo Wease Jr.

Kentucky opted to merely let the clock end on offense to go into the break trailing 17-14.

The second half wouldn’t be much better when Barion Brown committed Kentucky’s second fumble, with this one being recovered by the visitors in UK territory.

The Cats’ defense would lock in and manage to force Missouri into a field goal, giving the visitors a six-point lead.

Kentucky’s offensive woes continued on its next drive, being forced to punt again, but once again the defense came up strong, blocking Harrison Mevis’ field goal attempt to keep things within one score.

Disaster nearly struck on the next drive when Leary threw what was initially called an interception by the Tigers before video review proved the ball hit the ground instead.

The Wildcats made the most of the call, marching down the field before Leary completed a four-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Brown-Stephens to retake the lead.

The Tigers capitalized on a UK pass interference to march down the field to close the third quarter, kicking off the fourth with a second-and-goal, marking the first time all season Kentucky has had a game so undecided heading into the final quarter of play.

The Tigers managed to score the touchdown early in the fourth when Cook kept it himself and opted to go for two.

The first attempt was unsuccessful, but two flags, one for roughing the passer and the second for unsportsmanlike conduct, thrown on Kahlil Saunders gave Mizzou another chance. It made the most of it, rushing it up the middle to take a seven-point lead.

Kentucky would crumble on the next drive, allowing Leary to be sacked twice, resulting in a third UK fumble, before being forced to punt again.

Missouri responded with a 19-yard rushing touchdown by Cody Schrader to go up two scores.

Kentucky began marching down the field, looking for a triumphant comeback, but the effort was silenced when Leary’s throw was picked off in Missouri territory by Marcus Clarke.

Adding further insult to injury, Andru Phillips came up with an interception for Kentucky on the very next drive that was taken back for an offsides call on the defense.

Leary added a second interception on Kentucky’s next drive, this time being picked off by Kris Abrams-Draine.

With Kroger Field all but empty and hope all entirely nonexistent within the member of Big Blue Nation, Missouri added a cherry atop the winning sundae with a field goal.

The Cats attempted to add a consolation touchdown with under two minutes but were forced into a turnover on downs on the Missouri three-yard line.

Missouri then kneeled out the remainder of the clock.

Kentucky football returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 28, against border-war rivals Tennessee after a bye-week. The game against Tennessee will kick off from Kroger Field with the time TBD.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Cole Parke, Sports Editor

Comments (1)

All Kentucky Kernel Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • P

    Patrick QuinnOct 15, 2023 at 11:56 am

    The playing and 2 consecutive losses : What started this Kentucky decline? It isn’t a mystery. Why is Ky’s offense the slowest offense in NCAA football, what is causing the players to amble about not ready defensively? Start with Liam Coen up in the coaches box and Not on the sideline (*That’s the 800 lb gorilla in the room) When a coach is on the sideline (his communication, players understanding), is totally different between his players and himself..the coach can literally point to the spot and show the player, first hand where his route should go etc.