To open the overtime period, Kentucky managed rushes for six, nine, and ten yards on back-to-back-to-back plays for 25 yards en route to an easy touchdown drive, going up 41-35. Make a simple PAT, and the pressure is minimal when the opposition takes the field.
Instead, UK kicker Matt Ruffolo missed right, giving Ole Miss the opportunity to score a touchdown and hit their own extra point for the win.
Five plays later, the Rebels did just that, pulling off the 42-41 victory in overtime.
To no one’s surprise, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin had nothing but kind things to say about Ruffolo, noting that he needed to send him a gift this holiday season as a ‘thank you’ gesture.
“Obviously that’s an awesome win for our fans and for our kids. It’s a crazy game. To be down like that and then to come back and go to overtime, it was just a really crazy game,” Kiffin said. “It was just great to see our guys battle back. We didn’t play great in a lot of areas. We sputtered on offense for a while. We obviously didn’t stop the run. But at the end of the day you’ve just got to score more than they do.
“I said it all week: We’ve just got to get to 1-0 and whether [the score] is 2-0 or 42-41, you’ve got to find a way to win. We did. We’ve got to send a Christmas present to their kicker.”
When asked about Kentucky’s kicking issues, UK head coach Mark Stoops said he’ll continue to look at both Ruffolo and Chance Poore in practice to see if a change is necessary moving forward.
“Yeah, we’ll continue to work both guys,” he said. “We’ll continue to work Matt (Ruffalo). We’ll work Chance (Poore). If we feel like Chance gives us a better opportunity, then we’ll go with him.”