LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Will Levis passed for two touchdowns, including a 3-yarder to Barion Brown in the third quarter, Matt Ruffolo kicked a career-best four field goals and Kentucky topped archrival Louisville 26-13 on Saturday for its fourth consecutive Governor’s Cup victory.
The Wildcats (7-5) limped in with five losses in seven games but regrouped to overwhelm the Cardinals in all phases. Kentucky’s defense harassed Cardinal quarterbacks Brock Domann and Malik Cunningham and forced a turnover from each leading to 10 points. Trevin Wallace’s third-quarter interception of Cunningham and 19-yard return to the Louisville 16 was especially critical, setting up Levis’ scoring pass to Brown three plays later for a 23-7 lead that put the game out of reach.
Earlier, JJ Weaver stripped Domann of the football on a sack and returned it to the 6, setting up Ruffolo’s second field goal from 29 yards to make it 13-0.
Levis was 11 of 19 passing for 188 yards. Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed 24 times for 120 yards and broke the school record with his 20th 100-yard performance.
Ruffolo converted from 43, 29, 35 and 40 yards along with making both extra points for Kentucky.
Louisville's Jawhar Jordan rushed 22 times for 145 yards.
Cunningham, a four-year starter, relieved an ineffective Domann in the second quarter and got Louisville (7-5, No. 25 CFP) within 13-7 just before halftime with a 6-yard TD run. Domann’ 27-yard TD pass to Tyler Hudson midway through the fourth cut the deficit to 26-13, but his two-point conversion run came up short after review.
Both struggled to get anything going offensively for the Cardinals, who played catch-up all night after winning five of six coming in and entering the College Football Playoff rankings last week.
Louisville: Everything that worked offensively during the Cardinals' 5-1 surge coming in failed miserably, whether Domann or Cunningham was behind center. Allowing Kentucky tight end Josh Kattus to break a 70-yard catch-and-run was the first sign their defense would have a long day, and it never got better.
Kentucky: Besides out-gaining Louisville 346-309 overall, the Wildcats came up just six yards short of one of the nation's top rushing teams (164-158). Ruffolo had struggled at times this season but made every chance he got in the game that mattered — especially for a team seeking to climb from a second-half swoon.
Louisville awaits third bowl assignment in four seasons.
Kentucky awaits school-record seventh consecutive bowl assignment.
AP college football:
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