The Kentucky Wildcats are riding high after a two-game demolition of Mississippi State and Tennessee.
Their next opponent, Missouri, is also riding a wave of confidence following their 45-41 win over defending national champion LSU. Apparently, they’re so confident now that one of their players is convinced the Tigers will beat the Cats in Columbia.
Following Tuesday’s practice, senior safety Joshuah Bledsoe told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Missouri will end its five-game losing streak to Kentucky on Saturday.
“Why are we not beating this team? We should beat this team. We’ll get it done this time,” Bledsoe stated.
You can’t blame for Bledsoe feeling extra confident right now. He made the game-clinching pass deflection last week to secure Missouri’s win over LSU, one of the program’s biggest wins in recent memory.
In last year’s game in Lexington, Bledsoe made three tackles and recovered a fumble in the second half of the Wildcat’s 29-7 win over the Tigers. In three games this season, he has 16 total tackles, one tackle for loss and four pass deflections. He’s arguably Missouri’s best defensive back and will be a key player to watch Saturday.
Normally, it would be easy to put a team like Kentucky on upset alert in what could be seen as trap game. After all, the Cats are coming off a very emotional game vs. Tennessee, which was the program’s first win in Knoxville since 1984. Having a letdown performance following such a big win wouldn’t be much of a surprise.
Then you’ve got the fact Kentucky is set to host a top-five Georgia team next weekend in what’s become arguably the biggest game on the schedule this season. A win there would not only give Kentucky it’s first win over Georgia since 2009, but also put them firmly in the SEC East race. So it wouldn’t be a shock if Kentucky is caught looking past Missouri this weekend.
But this kind of bulletin-board material will make it a lot easier for the Cats to not lose focus on the task at hand. Plus, they know this is a game they absolutely have to win to keep any hope of winning the SEC East alive. A loss Saturday would effectively kill any hope of that happening, as Kentucky would have three SEC losses and go back to being in danger of not even making a bowl.
Kentucky enters the game as a 5.5-point favorite, the first time they’ve ever been favored in Columbia. Will the Cats make it six straight in the series, or is this the year Missouri ends the streak?