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Missouri has been tagged as a poor road team. Of course, Kentucky coach John Calipari remembers two years ago when people said the same thing about UK — and the Cats regrouped to reach the Final Four.
“This team is not – this team attacks the glass. If we ball-watch, you get beat. You have no chance of beating them. If you don’t physically check out, if you’re ball-watching, they’re sending three. If you’re not down in a stance ready to play, they got two or three guys that can break you down on the dribble, not just their point. If you’re not physical on the post, you’re going to get chucked. You’d better be down and ready,” Calipari said Friday.
“They’re a good team. They’ve been top 20 most of the year. They lost a couple road games. They kind of did what we did a couple years ago, where we couldn’t win a road game. They’re coming into this game with the idea we got to change our fortunes, and we’re trying to do the same. So two teams should be fighting each other. That’s what it should be.”
Photos by Victoria Graff, and property of Schurz Communications, Inc., and vaughtsviews.com. All rights reserved; images may not be reprinted in print or online with permission of the owners. Reprinted images must be attributed to vaughtsviews.com and linked to the original site.
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Missouri got touchdowns off all three of Kentucky’s lost fumbles and quarterback James Franklin presided over a strong finish in a reserve role coming off a knee injury as the Tigers earned a long-delayed first win in their debut SEC season with a 33-10 victory on Saturday.
Kendial Lawrence ran for 108 yards on 23 carries with two TDs for Missouri (4-4, 1-4), which overcame its own sloppiness, too, after getting last week off following a 32-point loss at home to top-ranked Alabama. Marcus Murphy fumbled his first two punt-return attempts and Corbin Berkstresser was intercepted on consecutive passes by freshman J.D. Harmon to start the second half before getting replaced by Franklin, who was limited in practice this week after missing most of the previous two games with a strained left knee.
Raymond Sanders scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter for Kentucky (1-8, 0-5), which has lost seven in a row. The Wildcats produced just three points off three turnovers.
The game was still up for grabs, with Missouri leading 17-10 midway through the third quarter, when Franklin got the call. The junior was a steadying influence although he was much better when he just handed it off.
Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson ran 60 yards to the Kentucky 25 after stripping the ball from Jonathan George to set up the game’s first touchdown. Zavier Gooden recovered a fumble at the Kentucky 12 after Brad Madison and Will Ebner combined to sack Patrick Towles early in the fourth quarter to set up a 9-yard run by Marcus Murphy and E.J. Gaines skirted the sideline on a 13-yard return off Frank Sanders’ fumble for a 33-10 cushion with 8:45 to go.
Harmon’s first career interception gave Kentucky possession at the Missouri 33, but the Wildcats netted minus-12 yards with an offensive pass interference call before punting it back. Craig McIntosh, who made a 43-yard field goal in the first half, was wide right on a 47-yard attempt after Harmon’s second pick near midfield.
The interceptions were Kentucky’s first in five games.
Missouri totaled four fumbles in the first half but lost just one. Berkstresser fumbled twice but recovered both of them.
Lawrence’s second score came with 1:32 to go and capitalized on a fumbled snap on a 53-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky that wasted Demarco Robinson’s 27-yard return of a 27-yard punt. Richardson sacked holder Jared Leet, who recovered the ball after mishandling the snap and had attempted to roll out.
Freshman Dorial Green-Beckham caught two passes on the go-ahead drive, the first receptions for the nation’s top recruit last winter since catching an 80-yard touchdown pass against Central Florida in Week 5.
Kentucky had plenty of success with cutback runs its first two drives, rolling up 115 yards, but finished with just 179 yards.
NOTES: Country singer David Nail, bending as many notes as possible, sang the National Anthem. … Sanders’ 24-yard carry matched his season high. … Missouri has forced a turnover in 26 consecutive games. … Kentucky CB Cody Quinn (hamstring) and Missouri CB Kip Edwards (strained neck) left with injuries in the second half.
MISSOURI 33, KENTUCKY 10
Kentucky 7 3 0 0 — 10
Missouri 10 7 3 13 — 33
Mo_Lawrence 5 run (Baggett kick), 9:32.
Ky_Sanders 1 run (McIntosh kick), 8:01.
Mo_FG Baggett 44, 1:18.
Ky_FG McIntosh 43, 12:17.
Mo_Lawrence 2 run (Baggett kick), 1:32.
Mo_FG Baggett 31, :49.
Mo_Murphy 9 run (kick blocked), 14:12.
Mo_Gaines 13 fumble return (Baggett kick), 8:09.
First downs 9 20
Rushes-yards 34-101 47-186
Passing 78 87
Comp-Att-Int 10-22-0 16-27-2
Return Yards 3 15
Punts-Avg. 7-39.3 4-33.0
Fumbles-Lost 6-3 4-1
Penalties-Yards 5-40 2-15
Time of Possession 23:34 36:26
RUSHING_Kentucky, Sanders 11-64, George 9-37, Whitlow 6-15, Mobley 5-12, Team 1-(minus 12), Towles 2-(minus 15). Missouri, Lawrence 23-108, Murphy 8-43, Hansbrough 7-37, Berkstresser 6-1, Team 3-(minus 3).
PASSING_Kentucky, Whitlow 9-18-0-76, Towles 1-4-0-2. Missouri, Berkstresser 10-18-2-71, J.Franklin 6-9-0-16.
RECEIVING_Kentucky, D.Robinson 3-56, Sanders 3-0, Legree 1-7, King 1-6, George 1-5, Sweat 1-4. Missouri, Green-Beckham 7-25, McGaffie 4-40, Lawrence 3-7, Moe 1-8, Washington 1-7.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
Kentucky coach John Calipari has no doubts that Missouri and Texas A&M add strength to Southeastern Conference basketball as well as other sports.
“They are two programs, both in football, basketball and their other sports, that are going to have a huge impact on what happens. Now, all of a sudden, the strength of our league schedule goes up. It affects how we schedule in our own conference,” said Calipari Monday on the SEC coaches teleconference.
“You’re talking two NCAA Tournaments in men’s basketball. If you want to put your team in jeopardy, over-schedule, have an injury. At the end of the day, it changes how we think a little bit here. You’ve got both (Missouri coach) Frank (Haith) and (Texas A&M coach) Billy (Kennedy), terrific coaches who have both proven themselves over the years. And then you’ve got two more hard games.
“I have not been in Texas A&M’s building. My wife is from Missouri so I’ve been on that campus. I have not been in the new building; I’ve been in the other building and coached there. The fans in both of those places, it’s nuts. It’s going to be a big-time environment.”
Calipari says strong league competition helps every team, including Kentucky.
“You want the league to be as strong as ever. Last year’s league was really strong and prepared us to do what we did, to win a national title. There’s no question about it,” Calipari said. “They can say, ‘Well, you won them all (in conference play) so it couldn’t have been a good league.’ No, we were just really good. Our league was as good as (anyone).
“You think about our league and the teams that we had, now you add Texas A&M and Missouri. Think about what happens now. Now we start moving up a notch in where everybody is. I think, again, seven teams in our league, half of our league is going to be in the NCAA Tournament. That’s what I believe. And I think that will be from here on in. We’re going to have half and maybe more some years of our league in the NCAA Tournament. It’s a tough league.”
Adding the two teams also could enhance recruiting.
“They add another market to us in St. Louis to recruit and other areas. You’re able to recruit nationally anyways, but now when you start talking about adding Texas (A&M), look, we’re recruiting in Texas. I’m able to say, ‘Hey, man, we’re coming in there to play at least every other year and it may be a couple years in a row, you don’t know,’” Calipari said.
“I’m excited about them being added, and if the league expanded again and added two more, I’d be fine with that. I think with what they’ve done with the football, the four-team playoff, I think it starts pointing us into a direction of where we’re going now as an athletic program. I think that’s all good for us.”