The Kentucky Wildcats are going to have their hands full Saturday when they travel to Columbia to take on Drew Lock and the Missouri Tigers.
Lock is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and leading a Tigers team ranked 16th in the nation in total offense.
Defensive coordinator Matt House broke down Missouri’s stacked offense.
“They do a great job with their backs, They have three really good backs. Obviously, Lock is a special talent. They have good wideouts. I’m really impressed with their tight ends. They have a good offense.”
As House hinted at, the Tigers offense has gotten it done through the air and on the ground this season.
The Tigers passing offense ranks 19th (301) in passing yards per game and 37th (200.1) in rushing yards per game.
This will be quite the test for a Kentucky defense ranked 13th in the nation, including 17th in rushing yards allowed per game and 31st in passing yards allowed per game.
Linebacker Josh Allen said that Saturday would be a good assessment as to where Kentucky’s defense stands.
“This is going to be a good matchup for our defense,” Allen said after practice Wednesday. “This is going to help solidify our defense in the college rankings and SEC rankings. This is a good matchup for both sides.”
The key to the Mizzou offense is Drew Lock.
Mock drafted by many to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft, last year’s first-team All-SEC quarterback ranks 16th in the nation in passing yards, which is good for third in the SEC behind Jordan Ta’amu of Ole Miss and Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama.
The Kentucky defensive players and coaches had a lot of respect for Lock.
“He’s definitely up there.” linebacker Kash Daniel said when asked where he’d rank Lock among the top quarterbacks in the nation.
Daniel added, “He’s probably one of the most dynamic quarterbacks I’ve seen on film. The guy can run, he can sling, throw sidearm, anything and everything.”.
I asked @KashDaniel15 where he ranks @DrewLock23 among the nations top quarterbacks. pic.twitter.com/O7UeO6Vy4e— Aaron Gershon (@agershon99) October 24, 2018
House, who called Lock a special talent, offered this when asked how to contain him:
“Be smart. You can’t stay standardized with him, because like I said, he sees coverages very well.”
On top of Lock, Mizzou has three running backs with over 300 rushing yards this season in Larry Rountree III, Damarea Crockett, and Tyler Badie.
Daniel broke down each one of them.
“They’re all different runners. Crockett is a hard runner. He gets downhill and makes you miss and cut. 34 (Rountree) is more of a downhill runner who will try to run you over but he can cut to, and No. 1 (Badie) is more of a jump cut. They’re all fast, and they all have abilities to hit the hole and make guys miss. If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.”
As for Daniels’ hand, he spoke to the media sporting a giant club on his hand comparable to an oven mitt.
“It’s different,” Daniel said of the club. “It’s a little heavy. A lot of sweat in here. Other than that, it’s still the same.”
Daniel later added this is not an injury even comparable than those he’s dealt with in the past.
“I’ve played through broken ribs, hip pointers, back issues. I’ve played through about everything.”
Sounds like this injury is nothing for @KashDaniel15 pic.twitter.com/YuzPjfhb7U— Aaron Gershon (@agershon99) October 24, 2018
Having Daniel even with the club will be critical to a Kentucky defense who needs to be on the top of their game.
“We have to go in and play our game,” said safety Davonte Robinson. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves or fall behind. We just got to keep playing our game and do what we do best.
The Cats will put it all to the test Saturday when they play the best offense they’ve seen all year in Missouri.