Created: 11/09/2013 5:05 PM
(AP) LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky couldn’t offer much resistance when No. 9 Missouri got its game going on Saturday.
And when the Wildcats tried, Tigers quarterback Maty Mauk and especially 6-foot-6 wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham made them pay. Mauk ended up throwing four of his five touchdown passes to the sophomore, keying Missouri’s 48-17 rout of Kentucky.
"We were trying to get up there and play tight coverage, and we didn’t play it very well," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. "You want to play one safety high, you’ve got to win and we didn’t win. It’s that simple."
The Wildcats’ 13th straight Southeastern Conference loss had the first-year coach frustrated in many ways and particularly with many people on his sideline. Kentucky was outgained 426-369, allowed 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
Even worse was when Jalen Whitlow and Raymond Sanders each ran for 1-yard touchdowns in the third quarter to bring Kentucky (2-7, 0-5) within 35-17, Missouri answered both with TDs and scored three straight times overall.
"It wasn’t a great effort by us tonight," Stoops added. "It wasn’t good."
Making his fourth consecutive start for Missouri (9-1, 5-1) in place of the injured James Franklin, the Tigers’ redshirt freshman quarterback completed 17 of 28 attempts for 203 yards and took full advantage of Green-Beckham, whose TD receptions set a school record.
Mauk added a 6-yard scoring pass to Henry Josey, who also rushed for two TDs, including an 86-yarder.
Whitlow finished 17 of 27 passing for 225 yards including a 53-yarder. JoJo Kemp rushed for 45 yards on eight carries, Whitlow added 44 on 24 attempts and Sanders 34 on 15 carries including the touchdown.
"We have to do a lot of things better," Sanders said. "Execute better, play with more fight and compete more. In the second half I thought we competed and were able to move the ball pretty well."
Kentucky just didn’t do it as well as Missouri.
Missouri came in with one of the SEC’s top offenses, averaging 500 yards and nearly 41 points per game. The Tigers were coming off a 502-yard effort in last week’s 31-3 rout of Tennessee, when Mauk ran and passed for more than 100 yards each and threw for three TDs.
Mauk ended up matching his season TD total in one game before giving way to Franklin in the fourth quarter, his first action since injuring his shoulder against Georgia.
Green-Beckham had the biggest day, catching seven passes for 100 yards. Josey, meanwhile, finished with 113 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Dominant as the Tigers were, their timing seemed off during the first two series after the early start. But then they caught a huge break when Kentucky punter Landon Foster shanked a 13-yard kick to the Wildcats 39.
Back-to-back runs of 6 and 27 yards by Marcus Murphy moved the Tigers to Kentucky’s 8 and set up Mauk’s floater in the left corner of the end zone, where Green-Beckham effortlessly went up over 6-foot cornerback Nate Willis to snag the touchdown pass.
Missouri special teamer Levi Copeland made Foster’s day even worse on the next drive by blocking his attempted punt inside the 10. It was recovered by the punter at the 4. Josey ran it in on the next play, and just like that the Tigers were up 14-3.
"That wasn’t his fault," Stoops said of the blocked punt. "They just came clean on him."
Kentucky couldn’t put anything together for the rest of the half.
"I don’t know what happened," wide receiver Jeff Badet said. "We need to be consistent and execute the plays that (offensive coordinator Neal) Brown calls."
The Tigers’ next touchdown was nearly identical to the first, as Green-Beckham out-jumped Willis again on the left side of the other end zone for a 7-yard score to cap the Tigers’ first sustained drive, 67 yards and 10 plays.
Missouri was just as methodical on its final scoring drive of the half. The Tigers went 87 yards and 15 plays and ended with Mauk’s 6-yard pass to Josey, who stretched to hit the pylon as he was knocked out of bounds.
Kentucky controlled the ball for more than 37 minutes, but it didn’t matter as Missouri scored quickly in bunches.
"I’m not discouraged because I know what we did wrong," Whitlow said of the loss. "It’s always good to know what you did wrong and what you did right."