The Cats are inching closer towards bowl eligibility, and their best chance of getting there involves getting a win over Missouri this Saturday.
UK enters Week 9 with a 4-3 record thanks to four wins in their past five games. An 0-2 start had the season on the brink before the month of September even passed, but the Cats have made a major turnaround to get their season back on the right track.
Much of that is due to the emergence of the ground game. Running backs Boom Williams and Benny Snell Jr. have combined for 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns through the first seven games this season. UK has its most rushing yards through the first seven games of a season (1,379) since 2007 (1,400).
That includes 227 yards in last week’s 40-38 win over Mississippi State. Snell, a true freshman, has the most rushing yards by a UK player through the first seven games of his freshman season (469) since Moe Williams in 1993 (597).
The UK record for most rushing scores by a freshman is seven, set by Randall Cobb in 2008. Snell already has six rushing scores this season, so he would tie the school record with his next rushing touchdown.
Now, UK is two wins away from reaching that elusive bowl eligibility for the first time under Mark Stoops. Looking at the rest of the schedule, a win over Austin Peay in the second-to-last game is very likely, meaning UK needs just one more win over an FBS team to be postseason bound.
Missouri offers the best chance at getting said win. The Tigers have struggled to a 2-5 start and are coming off a 51-45 loss to Middle Tennessee State, marking Mizzou’s third straight loss.
The Tigers have only wins over Delta State and Eastern Michigan this season, but they still have plenty to play for heading down the stretch. With games vs Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and the home finale vs Arkansas, six wins is not out of the question for this team, but there is virtually no chance of that happening with a home loss to UK.
Winning an SEC game on the road has proven to be a tall task for UK in this decade. The Cats are looking to win an SEC road game for only the second time since Rich Brooks retired (2009).
And thanks to wins over South Carolina and Vanderbilt, the Cats are on the verge of winning three games vs SEC East foes in one season for the first time since the SEC went to divisions in 1992.
Here is everything you’ll need to watch and follow this SEC East clash.
When: Noon on Oct. 29
TV: SEC Network
Announcers: (play-by-play Tom Hart; analysis Andre Ware; sideline Cole Cubelic)
Channel: DirecTV 611, Dish 408 and Time Warner Cable 76/796 in Lexington.
Radio: Tom Leach (play-by-play), Jeff Piecoro (analyst) and Dick Gabriel (sideline) will have the call on the UK Sports Network.
Live Online Stream: ESPN will live stream the SEC Network broadcast via WatchESPN.
Series history: Tied 3-3
Last meeting: Kentucky won 21-13 on Sept. 26, 2015, in Commonwealth Stadium
Odds: Missouri by 5, according to Odds Shark.
Weather: According to Weather Underground, it will be sunny and clear with temperatures in the 70s at game time and no chance of rain.