Looking for a win to escape into its second bye week of the season, Missouri got washed away.

Not much went right for the Tigers, who fell 29-7 to Kentucky on Saturday night at Kroger Field in Lexington in the midst of a steady downpour.

The game wasn’t always at a point of no return for Missouri, however. Despite giving up 22 unanswered points to the Wildcats in the second quarter, MU didn’t suffer a backbreaker until the fourth.

Here’s one final look at the loss to Kentucky with a play that all but sealed the Tigers' fate.

THE SETUP

Down 15 points to start the fourth quarter, Missouri showed signs of a comeback with a few defensive stops in a row after scoring a long touchdown in the third.

The Tigers started the final period with stops against Kentucky on second and third down, respectively, bringing on Kentucky punter Max Duffy at the UK 22-yard line.

The sequence could have been the break Missouri needed to get its defense off the field and offense off the sideline to potentially make the Southeastern Conference clash a one-score game.

Missouri understood the kicking prowess of Duffy, as in the third quarter, he boomed a punt a career-long 70 yards.

THE FORMATION

Missouri lined up seven players in the middle of the field for a possible attempt at blocking the punt, while Kentucky countered with six players along the line of scrimmage, including the long snapper.

Duffy and two up-men, Jamar Watson and Justin Rigg, stood several yards behind the snap. Rigg and Watson were responsible for protecting the execution of the punt — or on this occasion, paving a running lane for their punter during a fake.

The Tigers and Wildcats also had one-on-one matchups near the sidelines of players jostling for position for the first shot at a tackle or a block on a return.

For the first time this season, MU brought two punt returners into the game. Richaud Floyd and Dominic Gicinto both stood close to 50 yards from the ball.

THE PLAY

Kentucky long snapper Blake Best’s snap to Duffy was a little high as the 6-foot-1 former Australian footballer was forced to jump to catch the ball.

Missouri sent five of its seven players near the original snap back in return coverage. Missouri’s Stacy Brown and Cannon York were the only two players who applied pressure to Duffy to try and disrupt the kick.

By the nonchalant nature of the way Watson and Rigg shielded Brown and York from a possible block, a fake punt was seemingly not the call from Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops.

Duffy kept his head up for most of his approach for his usual rugby-style kick. After he dropped his head slightly and started the motion of a punt, he encountered York right in his face.

More importantly, Duffy saw miles checkered green if only he could get around York. The Australian took off, got a block from Watson and ran 26 yards untouched for a first down before sidestepping out of bounds near midfield.

After Duffy stepped out, Kentucky’s Jamin Davis hit Gicinto away from the play for a 15-yard personal foul to negate a majority of Duffy’s yardage, but not the first down.

THE AFTERMATH

The Wildcats needed just five plays, all runs, to get back in the end zone and restore their lead to more than three touchdowns.

Missouri didn’t advance the ball past the Kentucky 46-yard line the rest of the night.

The loss dropped Missouri to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the SEC, while Kentucky improved to 4-4 and 2-4 with its second conference victory.

eblum@columbiatribune.com

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