Still perfect: Cats top Tigers for first 6-0 start since 1950
Published 4:00 pm Monday, October 11, 2021
LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — The last time LSU made a visit to Kroger Field, it took three overtimes for the Wildcats to knock off the top-ranked Tigers in one of the most memorable victories of the Rich Brooks era.
This time it was a little easier.
The Wildcats (6-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) added another chapter to one of the best starts in school history with a 42-21 win over LSU Saturday night. The six straight victories to open the season is the team’s best start since the late Paul “Bear” Bryant achieved the feat and led the Wildcats to a Sugar Bowl victory back in 1950. Kentucky also opened with six consecutive victories in 1898, 1903, and 1910.
The Tigers (3-3, 1-3) denied Kentucky a 6-0 start back in 1984 but couldn’t duplicate the same feat against a Kentucky team poised to break into the Top-10 following its latest impressive conference encounter of the year. The Wildcats are bowl eligible after six games and they control their own destiny going into the final six games of the regular season.
The Wildcats piled it on the struggling Tigers and compiled 475 yards of offense, including 330 yards rushing. Chris Rodriguez anchored the running game with 147 yards, followed by Kovosiey Smoke with 104.
Quarterback Will Levis mixed up this passing attack with 75 crucial yards sprinkled in with 145 yards through the air.
Kentucky’s defense picked up where it left off after last week’s 20-13 upset of Florida, and it was a forced fumble and recovery by DeAndre Square on a quarterback sack that set the tone for the remainder of the game on the first series of the contest
Although Kentucky’s offense has struggled as of late, coordinator Liam Coen hasn’t wavered in his belief in the system and it showed following the turnover by the Tigers on their opening drive. Instead of settling on a possible field goal, the Wildcats went for it on fourth down and used a trick play — a four-yard touchdown pass to Chris Rodriguez from Will Levis — that served notice to struggling LSU.
On the next series, Levis threw an 11-yard touchdown strike to Wan’Dale Robinson, giving the defense enough of a cushion to close out the first half with a shut out. Kentucky’s defense limited LSU to just 120 yards in the opening half, including 48 yards on the ground during the first two quarters.
Just as it did on its opening drive, Kentucky marched to the end zone with ease to open the third quarter and it was a 33-yard spin and run act by Levis, capped by his own 1-yard touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 21-0 advantage.
The Tigers avoided the shutout with a rushing touchdown in the third quarter, but the Wildcats answered with two straight touchdowns to put the game beyond reach for an LSU team.
Gametracker: Kentucky at Georgia, 3:30 p.m., Saturday, CBS, UK Radio Network.
Keith Taylor is the sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at Keith.firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @keithtaylor21