LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Myron Pryor caused three key turnovers and
Dicky Lyons Jr. caught his fifth and sixth touchdowns of the season
as Kentucky defeated Mississippi 31-14 Saturday to win its first
Southeastern Conference opener in 19 years.
The victory moved the Wildcats to 2-1 on the season, the first
time in three-plus years under coach Rich Brooks that the team has
been above .500. Mississippi dropped to 1-2.
What was billed as a run-heavy, low-scoring affair proved to be
anything but. The difference for Kentucky was sophomore defensive
tackle Pryor, who stopped three Rebel drives in their tracks when
he grabbed one interception, forced a fumble and recovered another.
And on offense, it appears the Wildcats have found the receiving
threat opposite Keenan Burton they had been searching for all
offseason. It's Lyons, son of the former Kentucky standout by the
same name, who has now scored twice in each of Kentucky's first
Mississippi got on the board first after Rafael Little fumbled,
giving the ball to the Rebels near midfield. Quarterback Brent
Schaeffer took advantage, lobbing a flat pass to Marshay Green, who
eluded several Kentucky defenders at the line of scrimmage, then
darted untouched toward the end zone for a 47-yard score.
The Wildcats responded immediately, thanks to Lyons, who caught
a 33-yard Andre' Woodson pass to put Kentucky in position, then
scored on a 26-yard slant a few plays later.
Lyons struck again on Kentucky's next possession, leaping in the
back of the end zone for yet another touchdown. Lyons would finish
with four catches and 83 yards.
Woodson had 290 yards and his second-straight three-touchdown
After Schaeffer hit a wide-open Robert Hough for a 27-yard
touchdown to tie the game at 14, Woodson connected on a 22-yard
scoring pass to Curtis Pulley, who he beat out for the starting
quarterback job. That put the Wildcats in front for good.
Kentucky took a 21-14 lead into halftime, and it could have been
With the seconds ticking down, Pryor knocked the ball out of
Schaeffer's hand, and J.D. Craigman recovered it for the Wildcats.
But freshman kicker Lones Seiber, trying his first field goal since
winning the starting job this week, had his 37-yard attempt blocked
as time expired. Seiber would hit a 41-yard field goal in the
Pryor also stopped the Rebels' first drive of the second half
with an interception after Schaeffer had led the Rebels to the
10-yard line. The turnover came a few plays after what appeared to
be a spectacular diving touchdown catch by Mike Wallace, but Ole
Miss was called for an ineligible receiver penalty, so it didn't
Tony Dixon added a late rushing touchdown for Kentucky.
Mississippi's BenJarvus Green-Ellis led all rushers with 85 yards,
but he didn't find the end zone.
Kentucky has now won two straight since getting clobbered by
Louisville in the season opener. The Rebels, however, are reeling -
losing back-to-back games at Missouri and Kentucky.
The news wasn't all good for the Wildcats. Center Matt
McCutchan, the senior leader of the Wildcats' offensive line, had
to be taken off the field and had his left ankle examined.
McCutchan was granted a sixth year of eligibility in the offseason
because of neck injuries he sustained earlier in his career at