LEXINGTON, Ky. — It was scoreless after the first quarter but Kentucky and Mississippi State never slowed down after that.
In the end, the Wildcats won on a last-second 51-yard field goal by Austin MacGinnis to keep their win streak alive — and inch even closer to that elusive bowl berth for Mark Stoops.
The last play of the game.
MacGinnis for the WINNNNNNNNN!!! pic.twitter.com/l8ZKDV0WxU
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 23, 2016
Austin MacGinnis was the hero for the Wildcats. Down by two, a field goal sailed through as heartbreak turned to celebration for the Wildcats. It was set up by a quick 46-yard drive, and a smart play by Jeff Badet. He slid down immediately after an 18-yard reception to stop the clock at three seconds, following a timeout.
It was the last catch of an 139-yard, 2 touchdown day for Badet, but his heady play not only stopped the clock, but centered the ball to let MacGinnis become the hero.
How will the Wildcats solve quarterback Stephen Johnson’s fumbling problem?
It’s haunted the team all season and it nearly cost Kentucky a win on Saturday. Up by 10 points with under ten minutes to go in the game, Kentucky was six yards away from making it a 17-point game. Instead, the Wildcats quarterback fumbled, and Mississippi States’ Mark McLaurin scooped up the mistake and returned it 81 yards for a touchdown.
Kentucky scored a field goal on the ensuing drive, but Mississippi State answered with a touchdown, giving the Bulldogs a one-point lead until the game-winning field goal by MacGinnis. Until then, it looked like Johnson’s latest fumble would be the costliest, and would have been an unfortunate bookend on his 17-of-33, 292 yards, 2 touchdown day.
What it means
A bowl game is well within reach. Now at four wins, a sure victory against Austin Peay means the Wildcats are a win at Missouri away from their first bowl bid since 2010. And, factoring in that Missouri just lost its homecoming to Middle Tennessee State, that goal of a bowl looks more likely than ever.