Kentucky takes down No. 23 NC State 23-21 to win Gator Bowl


AJ Rose rushed for over 100 yards for the third time this season Saturday vs. NC State.(UK Athletics)

AJ Rose rushed for 148 yards, Kentucky rushed for 281 yards as a team and the Wildcats beat No. 23 NC State 23-21 Saturday afternoon to win the Taxslayer Gator Bowl.

After wins in the Citrus Bowl and the Belk Bowl, the Wildcats (5-6) have now won three straight bowl games.

Terry Wilson finished 12/20 for 99 yards. Chris Rodriguez rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

The Wildcat defense picked off Bailey Hockman three times.

Matt Ruffolo opened the scoring in the Gator Bowl with a 25-yard field goal in the first quarter. Kentucky ran 16 plays for 68 yards over 9:00 and opened up a 3-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Kentucky expanded its lead to 10-0 with a Chris Rodriguez touchdown.

Ruffolo would add another field goal before the half for a 13-0 lead.

The Wildcats outgained the Wolfpack 253-87 in the first half and had the ball for over 18 minutes.

NC State missed two field goals in the first half and finally got on the board in the third quarter. Bailey Hockman threw a touchdown to C.J. Riley on fourth down to cut Kentucky’s lead to 13-7 after three quarters of play.

In the fourth quarter, Kentucky picked off Bailey Hockman for the second time. Brandin Echols had the first INT and Yusuf Corker had the second interception.

On the ensuing drive, Ruffolo hit his third field goal from short range to extend Kentucky’s lead to 16-7 with 5:45 left to play.

With under five minutes to play, Zonovan Knight scored a 13-yard touchdown to cut UK’s lead to 16-14.

With just over three minutes left, Jamin Davis picked off Hockman for the third time.

On the ensuing drive, Rodriguez added his second touchdown from 26 yards out to put the Wildcats in front 23-14.

Jordan Houston added a late NC State touchdown to cut the lead to 23-21.

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