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Bowden wins the Belk Bowl on a pass to Ali

Wildcats win back-to-back bowl games
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Posted at 3:23 PM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 15:23:41-05

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lynn Bowden used his legs to keep Kentucky in the game with Virginia Tech. He used his arm to lead the Wildcats to a 37-30 win in the Belk Bowl.

Bowden led an 8:10 drive over 85 yards, converted two fourth down plays and threw a touchdown pass to Josh Ali with :15 left for the game-winner. Jordan Wright ran back a fumble at the buzzer to add the extra six.

This game started with fireworks as both teams got into a scuffle early in pregame warm-ups. And it started fast on the field. Virginia Tech got the ball first and went 39 yards in 10 plays. However, 30 of that was on two penalties from the Wildcats. The Hokies scored on a career-long 54 yard field goal from Brian Johnson.

Kentucky would respond on its opening drive. A.J. Rose took off on a long touchdown run but it was called back for holding. UK would continue the drive and score on a 25 yard run from Lynn Bowden. The Wildcats were in front 7-3.

It didn't take long for Virginia Tech to regain the lead. The Hokies went 75 yards in just five plays. It was capped off by a Hendon Hooker 18 yard touchdown toss to Damon Hazelton who made an incredible diving catch for the score. 10-3 Hokies in front.

Kentucky would go three and out on its next possession and Virginia Tech would make them pay. A nine play drive that went 60 yards and was finished off by Hooker's pass to Dalton Keene from 6 yards out on third down. The Hokies would build a 17-7 lead with 10:20 to go in the first half.

Right before the half, UK used a long time consuming drive to pull within three. A.J. Rose picked up 31 yards on one play. Bowden hit Justin Rigg for a 16 yard pick-up. And, the 8 play drive eats up 65 yards and 4:09 off the clock. It's finished off for a touchdown when Christopher Rodriguez went into the Wildcat and faked the hand off to Bowden before running it straight ahead 2 yards for the score. 17-14 Virginia Tech at the half.

Lynn Bowden had 12 carries for 90 yards and a score. He also completed 3-of-4 passes for 46 more yards.

That was a big touchdown at the end of the first half because Kentucky was able to drive on the opening possession of the second half and score. UK settled for a 40 yard field goal from Matt Ruffalo to tie it at 17.

Then came the big plays. VIrginia Tech scored on a 43 yard touchdown run from Deshawn McClease to put the Hokies back in front 24-17. Kentucky countered with Lynn Bowden keeping and making several Hokies miss on a 60 yard touchdown. The game was tied again at 24-24.

A field goal by Virginia Tech's Brian Johnson from 40 yards out would give the Hokies the 27-24 lead with 3:13 to play in the 3rd quarter. Then, on Kentucky's next possession, the first turnover of the game. A.J. Rose had one spinning move and on the second, fumbled on the way to the ground. Virginia Tech would recover and start on Kentucky's 39 yard line. UK would hold the Hokies to a 27 yard Brian Johnson field goal to keep it a one possession game, 30-24 Hokies.

Kentucky would get the ball late in the fourth and start a drive. On 4th and 7 Bowden would connect on just his 5th pass of the day to Josh Ali for a first down to the Hokies 49 yard line. The Wildcats would then have it 4th and 2 from the Hokies 27 yard line with 1:01 to play. Bowden would rush up the middle and get the first. Then Bowden finished it off with the pass to Ali before Wright returned the fumble 28 yards for the TD.

Bowden was the MVP of the Belk Bowl after he was 6-12 passing for 73 yards and a touchdown. He ran 34 times for 233 and two touchdowns.