LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Lynn Bowden Jr. doesn’t mind accolades, but he enjoys winning football games much more than individual honors.
No one had more fun than Bowden after the receiver turned quarterback rushed for a career-high 204 yards on 21 carries, complete with two touchdowns, to lead the Wildcats to a 29-7 win over Missouri last Saturday night. The junior all-purpose player was named Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Week on Monday. He shared the award with Tennessee receiver Jauan Jennings.
“I just try to win,” Bowden said. “I’m here to win and that’s what I’m most focused on. All of the accomplishments will come later on, but right now I’m trying to win.”
For the first time in UK history, three players were honored on the same week by the league office. Punter Max Duffy was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week, while Calvin Taylor Jr. was the league’s Defensive Lineman of the Week.
The performance by all three players was remarkable considering a heavy downpour that drenched Kroger Field. In his third start at quarterback, Bowden also threw for 54 yards, including a career-best 44-yard strike to set up the team’s first touchdown.
Bowden’s teammates weren’t surprised by his performance that gave the Wildcats their second victory in the past three games.
“It’s Lynn Bowden, anything is possible,” Kentucky running back A..J. Rose said. “He’s a playmaker, he’s a competitor, and we knew he was going to give his all out there, so it felt great that he had that performance that he did. I look forward to him progressing up.”
Bowden is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the Wildcats on a winning path. Kentucky (4-4, 2-4 Southeastrn Conference) needs just two wins to become bowl eligible for the fourth straight season.
“If I got to I will…I stay prepared at all times,” he said of staying at quarterback. “I’m a playmaker (and) that’s what coach (Mark) Stoops and coach (Vince) Marrow brought me here to do and, wherever (position) it’s at, that’s what I’m going to do for them.”
Bowden and Rose credited the offensive line for paving the way to an impressive rushing attack against the Tigers. In his three games at quarterback, Bowden has rushed for 499 yards and four touchdowns, including two of the best individual games in the SEC this season - 196 vs. Arkansas and 204 vs. Missouri.
“Without them, Lynn wouldn’t have the 204 yards that he had (against Missouri),” Rose said. “They did a great job; they got a great push up front and they took care of business.”
Coming off a 21-0 loss to Georgia the previous week, Bowden said the Wildcats didn’t get down following the first shutout defeat of the Stoops era.
“I don’t think we ever lost confidence,” Bowden said. “This past week our confidence was through the roof- going good against good during practice. On both sides of the ball, we had a lot of confidence.”
Duffy had five punts that averaged 52.4 yards. Three of those were inside the 20-yard line and he also booted a career-best 70-yard punt in the third quarter.
He also had a 26-yard run on fourth down out of punt formation that set up a Kentucky touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“That was pretty fun,” Duffy said. “I wanted to get on the sidelines. I ran out of bounds a little early, I didn’t want guys on my legs.”
Taylor, a senior defensive end, had two sacks, including one in the second quarter that led to a touchdown for the Wildcats. Kentucky’s defense held Missouri to just 289 yards of offense and the seven points scored were a season low..
“That’s what we set out to do, just being able to dominate the line of scrimmage,” Taylor said.
Kentucky has a second bye week Saturday and will take on Tennessee in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Nov. 9 at Kroger Field.
“It’s unusual having two bye weeks, but it’s a blessing at the same time,” Rose said. “We are going to get healthy, prepare to go to work, watch film, get in the weight room and get ready for our next opponent.”
Gametracker: Tennessee at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 9. TV/Radio: SEC Network, UK Radio Network.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at email@example.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.