Kentucky Beats No. 9 Louisville, Keeps Governor's Cup
Devin Leary passed for three touchdowns and Ray Davis scored three touchdowns, including the game winner, as Kentucky upset No. 9 Louisville 38-31 on Saturday at L&N Stadium in Louisville.
Leary was 12 of 22 through the air for 206 yards and three scores, with one interception. Davis carried the ball 14 times for 76 yards and a touchdown but also caught four passes for 51 yards and two scores.
UK also got a 100-yard kickoff return from Barion Brown in the victory, Kentucky’s fifth straight in the Governor’s Cup rivalry.
Defensively, Kentucky got 11 tackles from linebackers D’Eryk Jackson and Trevin Wallace, as well as eight tackles, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries from J.J. Weaver.
Kentucky (7-5) got the ball first and the Cats were able to get one first down, getting the ball near midfield, before punting. Louisville took over at its own 30 yard line.
The Cards would go on a 14-play, 70-yard drive, ending with a Jawhar Jordan touchdown rush from one yard out. Nick Lopez added the point after and Louisville led 7-0 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
Kentucky’s next possession would see the Cats crossing midfield for the first time. Leary connected with Brown on a 25-yard completion to get UK to the Louisville 46. On the next play, Brown rushed around left end for 11 yards and another first down. But on a third and nine, Leary was sacked and the drive ended, as did the first quarter.
As the second quarter began, the Cards went three and out and were forced to punt. Kentucky took over in excellent field position, at its own 47 yard line.
Kentucky would take advantage of the field position. Leary connected with Khamari Anderson for 11 yards and with Dane Key for 16. Then, on third and nine from the Louisville nine, Leary and Key hooked up again, this time for a touchdown. Alex Raynor added the point after and the game was tied 7-7 with 8:07 left in the first half.
Louisville (10-2) would re-take the lead on the next drive. The Cards, however, had to settle for a 46-yard field goal from Brock Travelstead. The kick gave the Cards a 10-7 lead with 4:25 remaining in the half.
Kentucky got one first down on it’s next drive before being forced to punt. Louisville got the ball back at its own 20 with 2:27 to play in the half. Louisville would get near midfield just before the half but the Cats’ defense stood tall. U of L would lead 10-7 at the half.
On Louisville’s first possession of the third quarter, the Cards went to the ground game. Louisville assembled a 15-play scoring drive and 14 of the plays were runs. Jordan scored his second touchdown of the game and Lopez made the point after, giving U of L a 17-7 lead with 5:50 remaining in the third quarter.
Kentucky answered in a big way. Brown took the ensuing kickoff from about two yards deep in his own end zone and returned it 100 yards for the UK touchdown. Raynor added the PAT and quickly, it was 17-14 Louisville.
The Cards answered back with another scoring drive. Louisville covered 51 yards in five plays, with Jack Plummer hitting Joey Gatewood with an 11-yard touchdown pass. Lopez made the point after and U of L led 24-14 with 2:48 left in the third quarter.
Kentucky quickly answered. UK needed just two plays, a 55-yard completion from Leary to Izayah Cummings and a 20-yard touchdown pass from Leary to Davis, to cut into the deficit. Raynor made another PAT and the Louisville lead was cut to 24-21 with 1:49 left in the third.
U of L appeared to be driving again on the ensuing possession. But at the end of a 17-yard run, Jordan was stripped by UK’s Weaver, who also recovered the fumble, giving UK the ball at the Louisville 48 with six seconds left in the third quarter. U of L would lead 24-21 with 15 minutes remaining.
Kentucky faced a fourth and two on the next drive and Davis was hit in the backfield but got away and earned the first down, keeping the drive alive. The Cats would get deeper into Louisville territory before the drive stalled. Raynor would convert a 46-yard field goal to tie the game at 24-24 with 10:21 left.
On Louisville’s next possession, Jackson forced a fumble from Plummer and Weaver recovered again, giving UK the ball on the Louisville 22. Two plays later, Leary connected with Davis for another 20-yard touchdown. Raynor’s PAT was good and UK led 31-24 with 8:37 to play.
The UK defense stopped Louisville on the next drive and the Cards turned it over on downs. But on the ensuing UK possession, Leary was intercepted. Four plays later, on fourth and six, Plummer hit Ahmari Huggins-Bruce for a 21-yard touchdown. Lopez added the PAT and the game was tied 31-31 with 2:33 left.
Kentucky responded in a big way. Davis rushed for 15 yards on first down. Two plays later, Leary connected with Brown for 23 yards. Then, it was Davis taking the pitch left and scampering 37 yards for the touchdown. Raynor made another PAT and UK led 38-31 with 1:02 to play.
Louisville would manage to get into UK territory on the final drive of the game but a Jordan Lovett interception sealed the game for the Cats.
Kentucky will find out its bowl destination next Sunday, following the conference championship games.