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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Do We Forget How Improbable the 2018 Missouri Win Was?

© Denny Medley | USATSI

© Denny Medley | USATSI

Mark Stoops has now had a multitude of massive wins during his time at Kentucky and which one is the biggest is up for debate.  But when you look back at the most improbable win of his tenure, the win in 2018 at Missouri, where the Cats play Saturday, should be unquestioned.  But in case you forgot, take a look back at all of the crazy things that had to happen:

1 . MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 3 (5:30 remaining), Kentucky’s offense had been pathetic for the entire game.  So much so that Terry Wilson was pulled for stretch during the 2nd half, which Billy Bob Clark fumbled by the way, and imagining UK scoring twice in the last 5:30 seemed impossible.  So Lynn Bowden took matters into his own hands, returning a Mizzou punt 65 yards for a touchdown.  How improbable?  In the previous 8 seasons, Kentucky had returned a total of ONE punt for a touchdown.  UK would go on to not convert the 2-point attempt.

2 . MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 9 (2:56 remaining), On 3rd and 1 Terry Wilson throws a long interception that is returned into Kentucky territory.  Kentucky has two timeouts, meaning Missouri needs just 1, maybe 2, first downs to finish off the game.

3 . MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 9 (1:41 remaining), Missouri gets 8 yards on their first 2 plays, leading to a 3rd and 2.  UK had used a timeout before this play, leaving them with just one.  And that will become key later in the game.  Missouri for the season converted 45% of all 3rd downs, good for 17th in the country.  In all of college football, teams convert 3rd and 2 or less over 70% of the time.  But Mizzou decides to throw a pass for some reason, it falls incomplete, and saves UK’s last timeout.  The ensuing Mizzou punt pins UK at the 19 yard line.

4 . MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 9 (1:24 remaining), On the first play of the drive, Terry Wilson does the absolute last thing you can do, take a sack, losing 7 yards.  UK chooses to not take a timeout.

5 . MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 9 (1:02 remaining), On 2nd and 17, Wilson hits Bowden for a very difficult 12 yard catch, getting UK out of a hole and into a manageable 3rd down.  Again, no timeout is called.

6 . MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 9 (0:54 remaining), On 3rd and 5, Wilson throws well behind and low of David Bouvier but the rarely used wideout makes an extremely difficult catch to convert the 1st down.  Cats still have 60 yards to go to score.  Again, no timeout.  Then Wilson hits Bouvier downfield for 27 yards, getting the Cats into Mizzou territory.  How improbable were the two straight plays to Bouvier?  He caught all of 16 passes in his entire UK career.  He had 43 yards in those two catches.  He would only have 54 yards for the remainder of the season.

7 . MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 9 (0:24 remaining), This is where Missouri really starts to screw up.  They play so conservatively they leave Josh Ali wide open on the sideline for an easy 13 yards, getting UK to the Mizzou 20.

8 . MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 9 (0:15 remaining), Remember that timeout UK kept saving?  It saves the game for them as Terry takes another sack, losing 7 yards.  Without that timeout, the game ends.  Instead, UK takes the timeout with 9 seconds remaining and 27 yards to go.

9. MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 9 (0:09 remaining), Now, many teams take 2 shots into the end zone in this scenario, especially with no timeouts remaining.  But UK does a brilliant thing, taking a large chunk of yards all the way inside the 10 yard line and leaving 4 seconds on the clock.  The whole situation is improbable for UK to score but this play made it significantly more probable.

10. MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 9 (0:04 remaining), UK chooses their game winning play throwing a fade to a guy who hadn’t caught a single pass in his UK career, and it’s badly thrown, pushing Ahmad Wagner out of bounds, even though he still catches it.  Improbably, the back judge throws a flag for pass interference with no time remaining.  Was it a good call?  We’ll say it was.  They’ll say it wasn’t.  Either way, it’s a rare call to make in that situation.  Gives UK another life.

11 . MISSOURI 14, KENTUCKY 9 (0:00 remaining), For a guy who had been criminally underused during his time at Kentucky, CJ Conrad makes his mark forever, running a sharp shove and out route, with Wilson hitting him perfectly for the win.  He’s a bit of an improbable hero here when Terry, Benny, and Bowden all were more likely candidates.



Article written by Bryan the Intern

9 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Do We Forget How Improbable the 2018 Missouri Win Was?

  1. JamesMaizefracturer
    10:57 am October 21, 2020 Permalink

    This stressed me out just reading it, and I’ve probably watched the last stretch of that game 5 times.

  2. InigoMontoya
    11:01 am October 21, 2020 Permalink

    Man, that was sweet! (My very competitive little brother went to Mizzou!)

  3. RackEmWillie
    11:15 am October 21, 2020 Permalink

    Not getting the 2pt conversion probably won the game for us. I don’t know if our defense would have been able to shut them down in OT like they did for the 2nd half, and our offense wouldn’t have scored a single TD at that point.

    This is still a game I look back on and think “WTF was that?”

  4. cats646
    11:26 am October 21, 2020 Permalink

    The end of that game was amazing. I happily punched and threw everything in my living room. Lol

  5. Kentuckiana
    11:50 am October 21, 2020 Permalink

    Enjoyed the read. Brought back good memories.

  6. E11Q
    12:03 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

    I’m sensing two common themes amongst this thread.

    1) Bad pass by Terry Wilson
    2) Terry makes a horrible decision and takes a sack

    Shew, and KSR and Co still out here trying to sell us on the fact that he’s a good QB for this team.

  7. Lyle Evans
    12:45 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

    Wait! I thought everyone was saying Wilson was brilliant against Missouri in this game! He took TWO sacks on the last drive? And threw how many poor passes? Sounds like without a brilliant Bouvier catch and a fortunate PI flag, we lose. THIS game’s outcome caused me to believe “this isn’t the same old Kentucky.”

  8. oldfanallin
    3:39 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

    This was a Stoops kind of win: tough, gritty, get back up and go again when bad things happen, and they will. He has wanted to build a culture of tough, physical. A team mind set. And Terry is the face of that attitude which is more valuable to build a lasting program rather than the skill jto win a particular game.

  9. oldfanallin
    3:44 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

    The problem in the first two games was the leadership within the players. A lot graduated and covid limited the normal opportunities for this group to form those relationships. Now the season has got things rolling and they will be fine. GO CATS