Kentucky Wildcats (2-2) at Missouri Tigers (1-2)
- Game Time: 4:00 pm EST
- Stadium: Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri
- TV Channel: Today’s game can be seen on the SEC Network.
- Announcers: Mike Corey, Matt Stinchcomb and Dawn Davenport are calling the action.
- Online Stream: WatchESPN and fuboTV
- Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings).
- Radio: Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM, 98.1 FM in Lexington, and on the UK Sports Network.
- Odds: Kentucky is currently a 5.5-point favorite. ESPN FPI gives the Wildcats a 60.5% chance of winning.
- Rosters: UK | UM
- Weather: Partly cloudy, 48 degrees, and winds blowing around 7 MPH with no chance of rain (via Covers).
- Prediction: TeamRankings projects a 27-20 win for the Cats, while numberFire went with a 26-22 victory for Kentucky!
- HYPE video:
Thanks to a schedule shift, the Kentucky Wildcats are flying high into Columbia, Missouri on Saturday coming off of back-to-back dominant wins against Mississippi State and Tennessee. Missouri is coming off of an off week following their first win of this season, which was against the defending national champion LSU Tigers.
Both teams have to feel good coming into this game, but in recent history Kentucky has dominated this series, winning the last five and going 7-3 overall against the Tigers. Missouri came into this season after a lot of turnover trying to find their footing, but they appear to be finding their footing under first-year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, who went 12-1 at Appalachian State as a first-time head coach. He previously served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for NC State from 2016-18.
Missouri’s offense is led by redshirt freshman Connor Bazelak, who threw for 406 yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago against LSU.
A former four-star recruit ranked No. 210 (nation’s No. 10 QB) in the 2019 signing class by ESPN, Bazelak played at Archbishop Alter in Ohio, a state where Kentucky has recruited heavily under Mark Stoops. Kentucky actually offered Bazelak but lost out to then-Missouri head coach Barry Odom, who was fired following the 2019 season.
The Tigers spread the ball out a lot, as 16 different players have caught passes already this season. Senior receiver Jalen Knox leads the team with 14 grabs for 156 yards. He also has three runs for 20 yards and a score. Senior wideout Damon Hazelton is right behind him with nine grabs for 100 yards.
They are also not afraid to be creative, as one of their touchdowns vs. LSU came on a flea-flicker. But we are starting to see that maybe LSU’s defense had as much to do with that game as Missouri’s improving offense.
Missouri’s running attack has yet to take off, but it is picking up steam. Larry Rountree, who has been on Missouri’s roster since I had a MySpace account, leads the team with 270 yards on the season, including 119 yards on 18 carries against LSU.
Junior running back Tyler Badie has proved to be a threat out of the backfield, as he’s caught six balls for 126 yards and two touchdowns in addition to 15 carries for 69 yards and a score.
Fortunately, Kentucky’s defense has been lights out over the last two weeks. The Wildcats defense has allowed only 7 total points in their last two outings, and it looks like the defense is putting everything together. They have forced 10 turnovers during their two game winning streak, and they appear to be anything but satisfied with their recent dominant performances.
The Cats will be without nose tackle Quinton Bohanna, however, who left the Tennessee game with an injury. Junior Marquan McCall will take over as the starter at nose tackle, and true freshmen Justin Rogers will provide support off the bench.
Missouri’s defense, on the other hand, has been somewhat suspect. They are giving up an average of 38 points per game, allowing over 400 yards each time out. In fact, Tennessee rushed for 232 yards and four touchdowns against the Tigers in week 2. So if you had any questions about Eddie Grans game plan on Saturday, prepare yourself for a heavy dose of hand offs.
It should also be noted that Missouri’s defense has only forced one turnover on the entire season, and that was a fumble. So if Kentucky does need to open things up at some point, the Tigers secondary has not proven itself to be a big turnover threat.
In a weird year like this one, I am not sure there is anything that is actually a must-win game. But if Kentucky wants a chance at a .500 record or better, they had better come home from Columbia with a victory on Saturday.