Kentucky held off Missouri on Saturday afternoon, 21-17, and reached bowl eligibility with its sixth win of the season. However, the Tigers were denied a chance to try and win the game in the closing moments because of a controversial roughing the kicker call on the Wildcats’ punter.
The scene played out with 2:25 left in the game.
Missouri was penalized for roughing the kicker despite an errant snap.
On 4th-and-4, the Wildcats lined up at their own 40-yard-line to punt the ball away. Punter Colin Goodfellow set up inside the 30 and called for the snap, but it went flying over his head and toward his team’s end zone.
He got to the ball at the 5-yard-line and managed to boot it downfield just seconds before Missouri’s Will Norris closed in to try and block the kick. In the process, Goodfellow got crushed.
As a result, Norris was flagged for roughing the kicker. It gave Kentucky 15 yards and an automatic first down.
Rather than it being Tigers’ ball with a chance to drive and win the game with a touchdown, the Wildcats retained possession, took down the clock, and went on to win by four. Missouri got a chance to answer in the closing moments, but the field position was worse than it would have been without the roughing call and the clock was all-but-gone.
The call was questionable, but technically, it was correct. Because Goodfellow stayed inside the tackle box, despite having to chase after the ball, he was still considered a punter and the roughing rule applied.
Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz was not pleased with the call and questioned what could have been done differently. Norris was just doing his job and trying to make a play amidst a chaotic sequence.
In the end, what’s done is done. However, it certainly seems like the penalty should have been negated when the ball went soaring over Goodfellow’s head.