LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Maxwell Smith threw for 283 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter as Kentucky beat Mississippi 30-13 on Saturday for the Wildcats' first Southeastern Conference win in nearly a year.
Smith, a freshman, was forced to start because of an injury Morgan Newton sustained last Saturday against Mississippi State, and he was steady in his first career start. He had 128 yards passing at halftime, but Kentucky couldn't quite reach the red zone.
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The Wildcats had four drives in the first half that ended between the Ole Miss 30-yard line and the 50; one ended in a 48-yard field goal, one ended in a missed field goal and two ended in punts.
But Kentucky offensive coordinator Randy Sanders opened up the playbook in the second half to the deep passes. Smith's 38-yard touchdown pass to La'Rod King gave the Wildcats (4-5, 1-4) a 16-13 lead with 12:22 left.
That pass marked the latest Kentucky had held a lead in any SEC game since a 38-20 win over Vanderbilt on Nov. 13, 2010.
After forcing the Rebels (2-7, 0-6) into two punts, Smith put the game out of reach with a 56-yard pass to King that set up an 8-yard touchdown throw to Gene McCaskill.
Ole Miss held an early 6-0 lead after getting into the red zone twice but coming away with field goals both times. The Rebels finished with 195 rushing yards but were consistently pinned back in their own territory by Kentucky punter Ryan Tydlacka.