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No. 12 Kentucky upsets unranked Missouri on TD with no time left

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Yes, you read that first half of that headline correctly.  And the last half was even more unbelievable.

Despite Kentucky entering Saturday at 6-1 and ranked 12th in the country, 4-3 Missouri, winless in SEC play, was a touchdown-ish favorite at home in Memorial Stadium. In the end, UK showed that the wise guys aren’t right all the time.

Very literally snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, an improbable 81-yard drive culminated in a touchdown with no time left on the clock to give the Wildcats a walk-off 15-14 win over the Tigers in Columbia.  The game-winning points came on a two-yard touchdown pass from Terry Wilson to C.J. Conrad on an untimed down; on the previous play, Mizzou was called for pass interference in the end zone to give the Wildcats one final shot.

Missouri actually took a 14-3 lead into halftime, but could do nothing in the second half.  Literally.

The Tigers had eight offensive possessions over the last two quarters.  On all eight possessions, they went three-and-out.   That’s right, Mizzou failed to record a single first down the entire second half.  It was all part and parcel of an abysmal offensive performance that saw the Tigers muster just 249 yards of offense and average just 2.4 yards per carry.

The Wildcats weren’t much better on the ground as they were at 2.6 ypc, although they did get 294 yards through the air from Wilson.

Despite their host’s offensive ineptness, Kentucky still trailed 14-3 until deep into the fourth quarter when Lynn Bowden‘s 67-yard punt return for a touchdown with just over five minutes remaining breathed some much-needed life into the Wildcats.  A Wilson interception on UK’s next offensive possession a minute later could have iced the game for Mizzou, but, you guessed it, another three-and-out handed the ball back to the Wildcats with 1:24 remaining.

From there, Wilson and his 87 yards passing on the 81-yard game-winning drive (he was sacked twice) set the stage for the late-game heroics.

With the win, Kentucky and Georgia remain tied atop the SEC East at 5-1.  It also sets the stage for a huge Week 10 matchup as the Wildcats will play host to the Bulldogs next Saturday.

So huge, in fact, that, as both teams have beaten 4-2 Florida, and the next-closest team in the division is 2-3 South Carolina, the winner of the UGA-UK game will win the division and represent the East in the SEC championship game in early December.

Alabama-Kentucky in Atlanta, anyone?

Snell No: Sputtering offense sees No. 13 Kentucky take first loss of season

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There was absolutely no secret about how Kentucky won its first games, rocketing from the realm of the unranked to No. 13 in the AP poll: play defense and run Benny Snell, Jr., over and over and over again. The junior entered Saturday night’s trip to College Station leading the SEC in rushes (115), yards (632) and touchdowns (8).

But one question remained: what would happen to Kentucky if Snell couldn’t get going?

We found out Saturday night, and it wasn’t pretty. With Snell limited to 60 yards on 13 carries, the Wildcats did not run a single play in Texas A&M until overtime, which was forced by a shocking 40-yard fumble return with four minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Kentucky accepted the ball to open the extra frame and gained eight yards on their first two plays, but quarterback Terry Wilson took a 5-yard sack on third down and Miles Butler‘s 43-yard field goal doinked off the cross bar. Snell did not touch the ball in the extra frame.

Texas A&M made no such mistake, feeding Trayveon Williams four straight times, including a soaring 14-yard touchdown run out to give Texas A&M a 20-14 overtime win over the previously unbeaten Wildcats.

The Wildcats actually jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter after Wilson flipped the ball to Lynn Bowden, Jr., who raced 54 yards for a touchdown.

That was it for Kentucky’s offense for the night, though. The Wildcats (5-1, 3-1 SEC) punted 10 times and registering six three-and-outs, including three consecutive in the second half.

The Aggies (4-2, 2-1 SEC) dominated the ball for most of the night, and so it was really just a matter of time until they broke through to take the lead. After a 48-yard drive ended in a turnover on downs at the Kentucky 27 early in the second quarter, the Aggies notched the equalizer on a 3-yard Kellen Mond toss to Quartney Davis with 1:14 left in the first half, capping a 12-play, 70-yard drive.

Texas A&M threatened more without scoring in the second half, but one drive ended in a 40-yard Seth Small field goal that was no good, and another ended in a tipped interception by Kentucky’s Darius West.

After yet another Kentucky three-and-out, another Mond tipped pass worked out in A&M’s favor, as a deflection landed in the hands of tight end Jace Sternberger, who dashed 46 yards for a touchdown, handing the Aggies a 14-7 lead with 10:13 to play.

That 14-7 lead appeared like it would hold as Texas A&M took over with 7:47 to play until, facing a 3rd-and-1 from their own 43, Mond bobbled a rare snap from center, regained control only to fumble it again. West recovered the ball and raced it 40 yards for a touchdown, forging a shocking tie with 4:17 left.

An intentional grounding call on Mond to open the A&M drive essentially ended it before it began, and Kentucky, who appeared dead to rights two minutes ago, took over in a tie game at its own 9 with 2:07 to play.

Kentucky pushed all the way to its own 41, but the drive sputtered from there — with Wilson actually losing the ball in his own backfield before it was recovered by an offensive lineman — and a short Max Duffy punt, his 10th of the night, gave Texas A&M the ball at its own 41 with eight seconds left. A 15-yard Wilson burst allowed Mond to launch a Hail Mary as time expired from the Kentucky 44, but the rainbow landed incomplete.

Wilson finished the game 13-of-20 for 108 yards and a touchdown; 54 of those yards were gained on one pass, while the other 19 also went for 54.

Mond hit 18-of-29 yards for 226 yards with two touchdowns and two turnovers, while Williams carried 24 times for 138 yards and the game-winning score.

The win snapped a 7-game losing streak against ranked teams for Texas A&M. The Aggies’ last win came in 2016 over No. 9 Tennessee in double overtime.

No. 13 Kentucky and Texas A&M in a defensive struggle

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A pair of teams built on the running game have struggled to get their running backs going, and as a result No. 13 Kentucky and Texas A&M are knotted at 7-7 at the half in College Station.

Kentucky’s points came, essentially, through one play, a 54-yard flip pass from Terry Wilson to Lynn Bowden, Jr.,  at the 1:10 mark of the first quarter.

Texas A&M put together two good drives, a 48-yard push that ended when Jashuan Corbin was stuffed on a 4th-and-1 at the Kentucky 27, and a 12-play, 70-yard touchdown drive. Kentucky put the Aggies in a 3rd-and-goal situation from the 7, but Josh Allen was flagged for roughing the passer and Kellen Mond hit Quartney Davis for a 3-yard score with 1:14 left before the break.

After the touchdown drive, Kentucky’s final three first half possessions all went three-and-out, and each trip was shorter than the last — seven yards, two yards and, finally, minus-2 yards. Benny Snell, Jr. has been limited to 23 yards on six carries, and Wilson has completed 7-of-12 passes for 77 yards, which means that, aside from the touchdown pass that wasn’t really a pass, Texas A&M limited him to 6-of-11 for 23 yards.

Mond hit 9-of-16 passes for 105 yards and a score.

Texas A&M will receive to open the second half.

Your 2017-2018 college football bowl schedule

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The matchups have been set. The dates have been reserved. Here is your full bowl schedule and pairings for this bowl season, starting with the College Football Playoff. All times are Eastern.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Rose Bowl Game: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia
January 1, 2018, 5:00 p.m., ESPN

Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama
January 1, 2018, 8:45 p.m., ESPN

CFB National Championship Game: TBD vs. TBD
January 8, 2018, 8:00 p.m., ESPN

NEW YEARS SIX

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 8 USC
December 29, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: No. 9 Penn State vs. No. 11 Washington
December 30, 4:00 p.m., ESPN

Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Miami
December 30, 8:00 p.m., ESPN

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 7 Auburn vs. No. 12 UCF
January 1, 2018, 12:30 p.m., ESPN

THE REST

DECEMBER 16, 2017

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. North Texas
1:00 p.m., ESPN

AutoNation Cure Bowl: Georgia State vs. Western Kentucky
2:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

Las Vegas Bowl: No. 25 Boise State vs. Oregon
3:30 p.m., ABC

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State vs. Marshall
4:30 p.m., ESPN

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Middle Tennessee
8:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 19, 2017

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl: FAU vs. Akron
7:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 20, 2017

Frisco Bowl: SMU vs. Louisiana Tech
8:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 21, 2017

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Temple vs. FIU
8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

DECEMBER 22, 2017

Bahamas Bowl: Ohio vs. UAB
12:30 p.m., ESPN

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Wyoming vs. Central Michigan
4:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 23, 2017

Birmingham Bowl: USF vs. Texas Tech
12:00 p.m., ESPN

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Army vs. San Diego State
3:30 p.m., ESPN

Dollar General Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Toledo
7:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 24, 2017

Hawai’i Bowl: Houston vs. Fresno State
8:30 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 26, 2017

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Utah vs. West Virginia
1:30 p.m., ESPN

Quick Lane Bowl: Duke vs. Northern Illinois
5:15 p.m., ESPN

Cactus Bowl: UCLA vs. Kansas State
9:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 27, 2017

Walk On’s Independence Bowl: Florida State vs. Southern Mississippi
1:30 p.m., ESPN

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa vs. Boston College
5:15 p.m., ESPN

Foster Farms Bowl: Purdue vs. Arizona
8:30 p.m., FOX

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl: Missouri vs. Texas
9:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 28, 2017

Military Bowl: Navy vs. Virginia
1:30 p.m., ESPN

Camping World Bowl: No. 19 Oklahoma State vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech
5:15 p.m., ESPN

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: No. 16 Michigan State vs. No. 18 Washington State
9:00 p.m., FS1

Valero Alamo Bowl: No. 13 TCU vs. No. 15 Stanford
9:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 29, 2017

Belk Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Wake Forest
1:00 p.m., ESPN

Hyundai Sun Bowl: No. 24 NC State vs. Arizona State
3:00 p.m., CBS

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: No. 21 Northwestern vs. Kentucky
4:30 p.m., ESPN

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Utah State vs. New Mexico State
5:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

DECEMBER 30, 2017

TaxSlayer Bowl: No. 23 Mississippi State vs. Louisville
12:00 p.m., ESPN

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Memphis vs. Iowa State
12:30 p.m., ABC

JANUARY 1, 2018

Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. South Carolina
12:00 p.m., ESPN2

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: No. 14 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 LSU
1:00 p.m., ABC

Auburn thinks it is never too late to launch a Heisman campaign for Kerryon Johnson

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Just within the last few weeks, Bovada pulled their Heisman Trophy odds from the board after it was becoming visibly clear just how much of a landslide favorite Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was becoming. That does not appear to be changing as we enter conference championship weekend, but Auburn would like to throw one more name out there for your consideration before you cast that Heisman Trophy vote.

Auburn shared an image on Twitter to campaign for running back Kerryon Johnson as a Heisman contender.

Johnson ranks 23rd in the nation with 1,276 rushing yards, but 9th in the nation in rushing yards per game (127.6 ypg). Only four more running backs have more rushing touchdowns than Johnson; FAU’s Devin Singletary, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, and Kentucky’s Benny Snell Jr. (Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke also has more rushing touchdowns than Johnson). But if you look at those names just mentioned, you may notice that none of them include either of the running backs most commonly attached to the Heisman Trophy race; Stanford’s Bryce Love or Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. Johnson has more rushing touchdowns than each, but Barkley has more all-purpose touchdowns this season. And none of the players mentioned here are in the thick of a playoff hunt, although Love will play for the Pac-12 championship this weekend and Barkley could be heading to a New Years Six bowl game.

One thing Johnson has on his side is his performance in some huge games in November. Johnson rushed for 167 yards and added 66 receiving yards and a touchdown in a win against previous No. 1 Georgia. This past weekend in the Iron Bowl, Johnson rushed for 104 yards and a score in a 26-14 win against another previous No. 1 Alabama.

It is going to be too late for Johnson to make up enough ground to catch Mayfield, but a late surge to receive an invite to New York as a finalist may not be totally out of the question. Still, even that feels like it might be tough to come by unless Johnson has a 200-yard day against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. And even that may not be enough.

He’s a heck of a player, though.