Jacksonsville, FL. —Kentucky knocked off the No. 23-ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack on Saturday afternoon by a score of 23-21 in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at the TIAA Bank Field.
NC State was playing without four defensive starters. Safety Tanner Ingle (suspended), defensive tackle Alim McNeil (opt out) and injured linebackers Payton Wilson and Drake Thomas missed the game.
The WolfPack, which finished the season 8-4 including a program-record seven ACC wins.
For the Pack, this marked its second straight bowl game loss, with both of those losses coming in the Gator Bowl.
Offensively, we just turned the ball over three times. We missed two field goals. We had our chances to make that a different game, and we didn’t. You have to give Kentucky credit for that. It was a really hard-fought game and a physical game, as I expected it to be. Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren said.
The Wildcats came out firing on all cylinders and took nine minutes off the clock during the opening possession on their way to a nine play, 68-yard drive that ended in a field goal.
The defense played lights off and held the NC State scoreless in the first half for the first time this season, as the Cats took a 13-0 lead into halftime.