Oct 27, 2012 1:46 PM
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.