Welcome to the official A Sea of Blue Open Game Thread for the Missouri Tigers at Kentucky Wildcats football game. For the second straight game, the Wildcats will not only be playing for their third win of the season in the SEC, which, if they achieve today, would be one more SEC win than they have had in the last three seasons combined.
Road games in the SEC are notoriously difficult, and even though this is technically a "winnable" game by Kentucky, it is most certainly going to be a difficult game. Missouri is a middle of the road SEC team, but they have been much better than Kentucky in recent years — to the tune of the SEC East championship last season, something Kentucky has never even approached.
But this is not last seasons’ Missouri squad. They are less talented on the outside by a significant margin, but their defense is strong and their special teams are… well, special.
To win today, Kentucky must:
Score — If both teams play to form, Kentucky is the more potent offense. If they can get 30 or more points on the board against Missouri, I think they have a good chance to pull the upset.
Find a way to stop the run — Kentucky has been beaten up by running backs and offensive lines all season. The defensive front must step up if Kentucky plans to get this win.
Punt and kick coverage — Missouri is very dangerous in return teams. Kentucky must cover both punt and kick returns well.
Put the heat on Maty Mauk — Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith must get pressure on Mauk in passing situations.
Win the turnover battle — Kentucky rarely wins when they don’t win the turnover battle. They don’t always win when they do, either, but these two teams are close enough that turnovers would more likely than not provide the margin.
Missouri has owned Kentucky since they have been in the conference, but this is the kind of team Kentucky must overcome if they are to make a step up from the conference dungeon. This is the most winnable game left on the schedule, most likely, so even though it isn’t exactly "now or never" for the Wildcats when it comes to that elusive sixth win, it is certainly an opportunity that begs for exploitation.