LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky’s defense came up with a pair of key fourth quarter interceptions to help the Wildcats hold off N.C. State, 23-21 on Saturday in Jacksonville at the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.
UK’s rushing attack was also a key part of the Wildcats’ success. Running back A.J. Rose carried the ball 12 times in ringing up 148 yards and teammate Chris Rodriguez ran for 84 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The first Rodriguez score came in the second quarter from four yards out as Kentucky took a 13-0 lead to the lockerroom at intermission.
In the fourth quarter, with UK leading the Wolfpack, 13-7, Yusef Corker came up with one of three interceptions for the Cats and the pick set up a Matt Ruffalo field goal to lift Kentucky to a 16-7 advantage.
With just over three minutes left to play, Kentucky’s Jamin Davis caught a deflected pass for an interception. The turnover set up what would prove to be the game-winner. UK’s Rodriguez scampered 26 yards to spark the Cats to a 23-14 advantage. N.C. State marched down and scored a touchdown with just over a minute to go to create the game’s final count of 23-21.