- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Mark Stoops offered no excuses after Kentucky lost 20-10 at Missouri on Saturday.

“I think that’s the bottom line or message of today - they beat us,” said the coach, who signed a contract extension this week for $21.75 million through 2019. “They beat us in every one-on-one matchup, they out-coached us. They out-played us. It wasn’t a good enough effort.”

Patrick Towles gained 158 yards through the air for Kentucky (5-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) a week after throwing for a career-high 390 yards against Mississippi State. Freshman Mikel Horton added a career-high 62 rushing yards.

The Wildcats had 258 total yards and converted just two of 16 third-down conversions.

“My job is to execute what they call,” Towles said. “We tried to get some runs in to slow down their pass rush. We just didn’t make plays.”

Maty Mauk completed 18 of 33 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns - both to Bud Sasser - to lead the Tigers (7-2, 4-1). The team took a half-game lead in the SEC East after Georgia lost 38-20 earlier to Florida.

Missouri’s offensive struggles reappeared at times against the Wildcats as the Tigers gained just 320 yards, but it didn’t matter.

Mauk entered the game averaging just 97.5 passing yards against league opponents, and beat that number and added another 75 yards on the ground to pick up four first downs.

The sophomore completed 10 consecutive passes in the first half, including a 26-yard toss to a streaking Sasser in the end zone over defender J.D. Harmon with 5:26 remaining for a 14-3 lead.

Sasser also hauled in a 3-yard pass for a touchdown 7 1/2 minutes earlier and finished with six catches for 67 yards. Mauk extended that drive with 15- and 9-yard runs for first downs.

“It’s whatever,” Mauk said about his performance. “We won. That’s all I’m worried about - we got better, that’s all I can ask for.”

Andrew Baggett kicked 41- and 21-yard field goals for Missouri, which played without receiver Darius White for the second consecutive game because of a groin injury.

The Wildcats struggled to achieve much consistency on offense themselves, starting 0-for-8 on third-down conversions. Towles threw for 1 yard and an interception in the first half before leading an 80-yard touchdown drive to narrow his team’s deficit to 20-10 with 3:26 remaining.

Kentucky then recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Missouri’s Matt Hoch and Michael Scherer stopped Towles for a 2-yard loss on 4th-and-1 at the Tigers’ 21-yard line.

After a three-and-out by Missouri, Kentucky had another chance but Shane Ray sacked Towles on 4th down, his second sack of the game and his 12th of the season, breaking the previous school record of 11.5 set by Aldon Smith and Michael Sam.

“That No. 56 they have, he’s probably going to be an early draft pick,” offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. “I thought he jumped offside at the end of the game there, but he got a good jump and he’s a really good player.”

Missouri honored John Kadlec before the game with video tributes from Pinkel and athletic director Mike Alden. Known affectionately as “Mr. Mizzou,” Kadlec died Wednesday at the age of 86 after spending more than 50 years with the school as a player, coach, administrator and broadcaster.

“A great person, a guy that touched thousands of players,” Pinkel said. “Anyone who knows the guy knows how much he loved the University of Missouri. I thank God to be able to have a 14-year relationship with him. I feel very blessed and grateful for that.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide