Sophomore receiver hauls in school-record four touchdown catches.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — No. 9 Missouri (8-1, 4-1 SEC) weathered a rocky start, but scored 28 unanswered points and outlasted Kentucky (2-7, 0-5 SEC) 48-17 at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk matched Chase Daniels’ school-record five touchdown passes and sophomore receiver Dorial Green-Beckham broke a program record with four touchdown catches, two in the first half and two more in the second.
“It’s an advantage that teams wish they had,” Mauk said of Green-Beckham. “It’s kinda scary for a defender to match up on a 6-6 guy that can jump that high.”
Green-Beckham’s first three touchdowns came on fade-passes where he out-jumped defenders and plucked the ball out of the air. He ran a slant into the end zone on his last touchdown — on fourth-and-three to start the fourth quarter — setting up his man outside then busting inward and breaking tackles on his way to pay dirt.
“He’s a beast,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said.
Missouri’s defense forced a turnover for the 40th consecutive game. The third-quarter fumble recovered by junior defensive back Darvin Ruise marks the longest active streak in college football. It cut off a 40-yard reception by Raymond Sanders III and the Tigers scored the ensuing possession.
Missouri’s Levi Copelin also blocked a Kentucky punt to start the second quarter, and junior tailback Henry Josey scored with a four-yard run the next play.
After the Wildcats marched 76 yards in nine plays their first drive of the game for a field goal and junior return man Marcus Murphy fumbled the ensuing kickoff, the Tigers’ defense held and forced the Cats into a three-and-out.
“The big thing was when we fumbled the ball, the defense got it back for us right away,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said.
After that, the Tigers scored on their next four drives and after punting to start the second half, they scored on three more in a row, a streak capped off by an 86-yard touchdown sprint by Henry Josey, who scored once more on the ground and again through the air.
Josey and Green-Beckham combined for every single MU touchdown. For Josey, averaging 6.34 yards a carry, it’s his third hundred-yard rushing game. For Green-Beckham, it’s arguably the breakout game of his career.
He pulled in nine catches for 122 yards and no scores his past three games combined. Saturday, he had seven catches for 100 and four scores.
“As of right now, this is the breakout game of the year for me,” he said. “Having that one year under the belt last year, now you can see I’m more relaxed and I know my role a lot better. I’m actually out there making a lot more plays than I did last year.”
He sustained a high ankle sprain on a screen pass in the second half, but is expected to return after Missouri’s bye week to face Ole Miss when senior quarterback James Franklin is expected to return from a shoulder injury.
“It’s a perfect time,” Green-Beckham said of the bye week. “Especially with me in a boot right now, it’s a good time for me to just worry about that and get this off.”