UK VS. EKU | Cats avoid disaster, complete 34-27 overtime comeback

10/03/2015 11:42 PM

LEXINGTON — Cats are said to have nine lives. If that’s the case, the Kentucky Wildcats (4-1, 2-1 SEC) used all nine of theirs on Saturday night to pull off a thrilling 34-27 overtime victory over Eastern Kentucky (2-2) at Commonwealth Stadium.

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles hit Dorian Baker for a three-yard touchdown in extra time to give the Wildcats the winning score. The same two players also connected for a five-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter to tie the game in the final minute of regulation.

Towles finished the game 29-42 for a season-high 329 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Baker ended up with eight catches for 86 yards and two huge touchdowns.

“I am very proud of our team for our determination,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said after the game. “But overall, not very pleased with our effort.”

Before the comeback, UK was left for dead in the fourth quarter, trailing 27-13 with 7:39 left to play after EKU quarterback Bennie Coney hit wide receiver Devin Borders for a 15-yard touchdown on their seconding scoring connection of the game.

And that’s when the Cats came back to life, driving 75 yards in 10 plays on the next possession to score on a Jojo Kemp 7-yard touchdown run to cut the margin to 27-20 with 4:49 left to play.

Kemp, who started at running back for the first time this season over benched sophomore Boom Williams, finished the game with 46 yards on 14 carries and the single touchdown.

UK forced the Colonels into a three-and-out on the next possession, and a short punt gave the Wildcats a short field at the Eastern Kentucky 40-yard line with 3:49 left in regulation.

The Wildcats drove down to the five-yard line where they faced fourth-and-goal before Towles hit Baker on a fading touchdown pass in the back corner of the endzone to draw within one point.

Redshirt freshman kicker Miles Butler, playing in place of injured starter Austin MacGinnis (groin), converted the extra point to tie the game 27-27 with 52 seconds left.

Butler missed his first extra point attempt of the game in the third quarter before connecting on his final three.

The Colonels ran out the clock to go to overtime, but after winning the coin toss and electing to start on defense, Baker burned EKU again, this time scoring from three yards out to give Kentucky a 34-27 margin. It was UK’s first lead since the first quarter when Towles punched in a one-yard quarterback sneak to put the Wildcats up 7-6.

A questionable pass interference call in the endzone gave EKU a first down at the Kentucky 11 on the Colonels’ offensive possession in overtime, but senior running back Dy’Shaw Mobley was hit for a 12 yard loss on the following play, and Kentucky defensive tackle C.J. Johnson sacked running back Arien Beasley on a trick play on fourth down to seal the deal.

The sack was Johnson’s game-high 19th tackle of the contest, a new career high for the reigning SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week.

Kentucky will have plenty to work on during the upcoming bye week before its next game against Auburn on Thursday, October 15.

Second half and overtime Twitter highlights:


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest KSTV Sports info delivered to your inbox.