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Kentucky Football 2021 Preview: Missouri

It’ll be a shootout with Connor Bazelak in Week 2

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

Good morning, BBN!

Today we continue previewing the much-hyped 2021 season with a look at the Kentucky Wildcats’ Week 2 matchup against the Missouri Tigers this September. I’m really looking forward to this game—it’ll probably sell out. Let’s start breaking down this matchup:

Missouri

When: September 11th, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Kroger Field

All-Time Series: UK leads 7-4

Kentucky plays Missouri every year, and most of the time they’ve been able to beat the Tigers. Before losing 20-10 on the road last year, they had won five in a row, including the amazing 2018 comeback victory on the untimed down pass to CJ Conrad. The ‘Cats lead the all-time series 7-4, but are only 5-4 against them since the Tigers joined the SEC in 2012. The largest Kentucky victory was in 2019, when Lynn Bowden ran over them 29-7.

The Tigers are going through some rebuilding, but had a very good 2020 season under dangerous quarterback Connor Bazelak. He will not be easy to defeat, and while most of the games between these two teams lack fireworks, we’ve seen them before—in 2017 Kentucky escaped 40-34 at home in a shootout. We might get a similar result this time around with Liam Cohen’s new offense. The biggest thing the ‘Cats have going for them in this matchup is that it’s at home. They haven’t lost in Lexington to Mizzou since 2013, and has often thrived at home in non-rivalry games when not big underdogs. A big factor, I honestly think, is that this will be a night game. Kentucky, unless playing a big rival like Florida or Tennessee, just doesn’t seem to lose at home when the sun goes down. With a sellout crowd at their backs and the night lights on, this feels like a big Kentucky victory.

If Mark Stoops beats UL Monroe and Missouri to start the season 2-0, it’ll give him a super-prestigious winning record at 51-50 with the ‘Cats. It’ll also make him just 10 wins away from breaking Bear Bryant’s record of most wins as a UK football coach (60).

Prediction: The sun goes down, the crowd starts rocking, and Kentucky lights up Mizzou in with some fireworks, prevailing 35-24 (that’s a shootout in the SEC).