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CATS Keep the Cup in Lexington

Will Levis with the Governor's Cup - photo by Brendon D. Miller - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Kentucky Football wins Governor’s Cup defeating Louisville 26- 13

LEXINGTON – November 26, 2022 – David Leveridge- Bluegrass Sports Nation

Kentucky Football finished out the regular season hosting intra-state rivals the Louisville Cardinals in the Battle for the Governor’s Cup. Today’s game also marked Senior Day and UK had a pre-game celebration with each Senior recognized with their families in the Kentucky locker room endzone. Kentucky retains the Governor’s Cup with a hard earned 26-13 victory to run their record to 7-5 on the season and await a bowl invitation.

Senior Day Festivities:

Today was the last game for thirty seniors and some of the Seniors departing the program are some of the most beloved Wildcats of All time. Seniors such as Will Levis, Chris Rodriguez, DeAndre Square, and Tyrell Aijan will leave a lasting impact on the Kentucky Football team for years to come. Kentucky Football also Honored Chris Oats. Oats has not played a down of Football since the 2019 season, due to a medical condition leaving him unable to walk. Oats is an inspirational member of the Kentucky Football team and has inspired the Big Blue Nation.

Complete list of seniors participating in Senior day festivities include Brendon Bates, Justice Dingle II, Kenneth Horsey, Ramon Jefferson, Will Levis, Rashan Lewis, Tashawn Manning, Tayvion Robinson, Chris Rodriguez, Kavosiey Smoke, Keaton Upshaw, Jack Varga, Dillon Wheatly, Quinton Wilson, Tyrell Aijain,  Alex Bascom,  Richard Bascom, Londyn Craft, Braxton Eiserman,  Jaquez Jones,  William Natty, Chris Oats, Keidron Smith, DeAndre Square, Jordan Wright,  Cade DeGraw, Collin Goodfellow, Jordan Morrow, Chance Poor and Matt Ruffolo.

In today’s game, Kentucky was impressive in several key areas. The Kentucky kicking game has struggled throughout the season, but today Matt Ruffolo went 4-4 splitting the uprights with successful FG attempts of 43 yards, 39 yards, 35 yards, and 40 yards. Ruffolo’s performance broke a personal best for made FG’s and earned him Most Valuable Player of the game.

Defensively Kentucky was solid forcing three turnovers including two interceptions, and one fumble recovery. The defense was also great on third downs, holding Louisville to four out of twelve on third down. Will Levis had another great game passing for 188 yards with two passing touchdowns and no interceptions. Levis was phenomenal in the first quarter passing for 120 yards and a touchdown. Even though Levis only passed for 63 yards the rest of the game, he played his best game in several weeks.

Chris Rodriguez was impressive in rushing for 120 yards. Rodriguez’s performance made him the program’s all-time leader in 100-yard rushing games with 20, surpassing the great Benny Snell with his performance.

Game Summary:

1st Quarter – Kentucky was impressive in the first quarter and put seven points on the board. On Kentucky’s opening offensive possession, the CATS had success moving the ball. Levis passed to WR Josh Kattus for a gain of 70 yards. The next play Rodriguez had his best run of the first half with an 11 yard gain and placed the ball inside the 10 yard line. Kentucky finished the drive with a Levis eight yard passing Touchdown to Dante Key. Levis had his best passing quarter in several games passing for 125 yards. Defensively, Kentucky was superb stopping the Cards on fourth down to get the ball in good field position. At the end of the first quarter Kentucky led Louisville 7-0.

2nd Quarter – Kentucky added to the lead in second quarter with a pair of made FG by the kicker Matt Ruffolo. Ruffolo converted on successful attempts of forty-three yards and twenty-nine yards. On Kentucky’s opening drive of the quarter, Ruffolo split the uprights with his first kick connecting on a forty- three- yard FG. On Louisville’s opening possession of the Quarter the Kentucky defense come up huge forcing a QB Fumble with the ball was recovered by Outside Line Backer JJ Weaver at the Louisville 39 yard line. Kentucky was unsuccessful moving the ball on this drive, resulting in another FG attempt by Ruffolo. Ruffolo’s attempt of 39 yards was good, giving Kentucky a 13-0 lead. Louisville had one drive in the second quarter resulting in points on the board. Malik Cunningham, who is normally the Cards starting QB, did not start the game. Once inserted into the lineup, Cunningham along with Running Back Jawhar Jordan, made the CATS pay picking up several first downs with his legs. Louisville finished the drive with a six-yard rushing Touchdown, and the Cards completed a twelve play 64 yard drive. At intermission Kentucky led Louisville 13-7.

3rd Quarter – Kentucky continued to build on the momentum created in the first half. Louisville got the ball on the opening possession and the Wildcat defense held strong forcing the Cards to go three and out resulting in a punt. Levis Found Brown for a 21 yard gain, Brown crossed midfield and placed the ball in in good field position. Kentucky was unable to move the ball on the next series, resulting in another FG attempt by Ruffolo. Ruffolo converted a 35 yard field goal, his third made FG of the game and Kentucky led Louisville 16-7. On Louisville’s next offensive possession, Kentucky’s Trevin Wallace intercepted a Cunningham pass and Wallace returned the ball back to the 19 yard line, before getting tackled. Kentucky completed the drive with another Levis Passing Touchdown throwing to Barion Brown for a three-yard touchdown. End of the third quarter Kentucky led Louisville 23-7.

4th Quarter – Ruffolo added to the lead with a 40 yard FG completing a twelve play 60 yard drive. Louisville had struggled to move the ball for most of the game but did find the endzone once in the quarter with a 27 yard passing Touchdown from QB Brock Domann to Tyler Hudson. Louisville trailed by 13 points and went for the two-point conversion but was unsuccessful on the attempt and the score remained Kentucky 26- Louisville 13. Later, in the quarter Rodriguez had his best run of the second half with a 20 yard gain putting him over 100 yards rushing in the game. Kentucky was unable to score again during the game, and Louisville had one last chance to cut into the lead and put points on the board. The Louisville offense began to have success moving the ball, until Jordan Lovett intercepted a pass from Domann to Hudson. The game ended with Kentucky prevailing with a hard fought 26-13 victory over the Louisville Cardinals.

Kentucky finished the regular season with an overall record of seven wins and five loses. Kentucky retains possession of the Governor’s Cup and has won the intra-state battle of Kentucky five out of the last six years. Now that the season is over with Kentucky awaits who they will play in the upcoming bowl season.

Stats Game Stats:

  • Kentucky 26                                   / Louisville 13
  • Total Yards 346                             / 349
  • Passing Yards 188                        / 145
  • Rushing Yards 158                       / 164
  • First Downs 17                             / 19
  • Third Downs 3-11                       / 4-12
  • Time of Possession 32:45         / 27.15

Player Stats Kentucky

  • QB Will Levis 11 completions, nineteen attempts, gaining 188 yards, 2 Touchdowns, no interceptions.
  • RB Chris Rodriguez 24 attempts, gaining 120 yards, long run twenty yards, average run / carry 5.0
  • WR Barion Brown four catches, gaining forty- four yards, one Touchdown, Long reception twenty-one yards, Yards after catch forty-three.
  • WR Dane Key three catches, gaining thirty-seven yards, one touchdown, long reception fifteen yards, Yards after catch eighteen.
  • Kicker Matt Ruffolo Four attempts, four conversions, conversions on forty-three-yards, thirty- nine yards, thirty- five yards, forty yards.

Player Stats Louisville

  • QB Brock Domann 14 completions, twenty-one attempts, gaining 129 yards, one touchdown, one interception.
  • QB Malik Cunningham 3 completions, six attempts, gaining sixteen yards, one interception.
  • RB Jawhar Jordan 27 attempts, gaining 145 yards, long run twenty-two yards, average yards per run 6.6
  • WR Tyler Hudson, six receptions gaining eighty- three yards, one touchdown, long reception twenty-seven yards, Yards After Catch 18.

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