LEXINGTON, Ky. — Time stops. All goes quiet. And then?
As Austin MacGinnis’ last-second field goal traveled end over end toward the uprights, much more than a single result was flying with it.
Kentucky’s bowl bid more than likely rested on those 51 yards.
The Wildcats curse in failing to close out games was wobbling toward the neon yellow bars.
A fanbase reluctant to fully follow Mark Stoops was quietly watching to see if the kick was good.
“I knew it was going,” the confident kicker said. “Unless it hit the crossbar, I knew it was going.”
MacGinnis’ make put his miss earlier in the game to rest. It made Stephen Johnson’s fumbles look less costly. It made another Wildcats wasted win an unbelievable reality.
Kentucky (4-3, 3-2 SEC) has won three conference games for the first time since 2009 and the Wildcats are in prime position to make their first bowl game since 2010. Austin Peay awaits in late November, an all but automatic win against an FCS side. That leaves a matchup at Missouri next week, a team that just lost to Middle Tennessee, the only thing standing in Stoops and company’s way of a bowl game.
“I’m still in shock I think,” Johnson said after the game. “I think I’m bout to pass out.”
The man who made the kick was less nervous.
“Told Grant our punter, ‘I’m about to kick a game winner,'” MacGinnis said. “Told the managers, ‘I’m about to kick a game winner.’ And then God bless, got a chance, and put it through the uprights.”
End over end it traveled, a win against Mississippi State waiting in the middle of the uprights.
That, and maybe more.
“You know what?” offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said. “There’s a greater plan. A greater plan for this team.”