LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Patrick Towles threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead Kentucky past No. 25 Missouri 21-13 on Saturday night, ending the Wildcats' 18-game losing streak against ranked teams.
Towles' arm and feet were critical in the Wildcats' first upset of a ranked team since beating then-No. 18 South Carolina 31-28 in Lexington five years ago. The junior threw TD passes of 24 yards to tight end C.J. Conrad in the third quarter and the 5-yard clincher to Dorian Baker with 6:20 remaining, and fuel a small celebration on the field with some of the 58,008.
Towles was 22 of 27 passing for 249 yards and ran for 21 yards, including a 14-yard TD in the second quarter. His performance helped the Wildcats (3-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) gain 369 yards against the nation's fourth-ranked defense and snap a school-record, 11-game road winning streak for the Tigers (3-1, 0-1).
Andrew Baggett's 24-yard field goal with 3 minutes left kept Missouri within a touchdown and two-point conversion of tying, but several runs by Jojo Kemp after the kickoff provided the first down that allowed Kentucky to run out the clock and seal third-year coach Mark Stoops' signature win.
The Wildcats had to overcome an early 7-0 deficit and eight penalties for 91 yards to do so, but they ended up proving they were much better than the team that managed just three field goals in last week's 14-9 loss to Florida.
Missouri sought some redemption as well after outlasting Connecticut 9-6 at home last week, and the Tigers succeeded on their second possession with the help of a couple Kentucky defensive penalties.
The biggest flag, a 15-yarder on end/linebacker Denzil Ware for an out-of-bounds hit on Maty Mauk, moved the ball up to the 40. Ware sacked Mauk on the next play but the mobile QB had space and time several snaps later when he found J'Mon Moore in the back of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown.
Towles responded with a perfect drive in a near-flawless first half for Kentucky, completing 5-of-5 passes for 55 yards before capping the drive by eluding pressure to run for a 14-yard TD to tie the game. He was 14 of 15 for 120 yards in the first 30 minutes and added four runs for 24 yards.
His performance was big in many ways, besides getting Kentucky's first touchdown since the first half at South Carolina two weeks ago. It came a week after he completed just 8-of-24 passes for 126 yards with two interceptions and six sacks last week against Florida.
The Tigers managed to finally drop Towles twice in the third quarter, but he stood tall late in the period to find Conrad down the middle for the touchdown and Kentucky's first lead at 14-10. Towles then led the Wildcats 93 yards in nine plays to their final TD and close the deal on a top-25 team that was a long time coming.
Mauk was 15 of 30 for 180 yards for Missouri, which gained 338 yards.