If we learned anything at all from the Kentucky Wildcats’ trip to Knoxville, it’s that a week can change everything.
The wheels came off in the midst of what had already been a roller coaster season for Mark Stoops and the Wildcats.
There’s no getting around the idea that the 44-6 shellacking the Vols put on UK will take some time to fully recover from as a program.
Focus now shifts to stabilizing a situation that has the potential to implode on Saturday in Columbia if Kentucky can’t immediately fix lingering issues.
This week the Cats will trade a prime time matchup with a top-10 team for a noon kickoff against a 4-4 (2-3) Missouri Tigers team.
I believe it’s fair to say that the overall vibe amongst the UK fan base is disappointment, with some apathy sprinkled in for many.
With basketball season about to get underway it becomes critically important for Mark Stoops to have his team ready to play on Saturday. Failure to to do so and a major portion of the Big Blue Nation will turn the page completely over to hoops.
But with games remaining against Georgia and Louisville there is still plenty left to play for this season, despite it not going to plan up to this point.
The Tigers are 3-1 at home this season with the lone loss coming by just a margin of four points against the Georgia Bulldogs.
Fresh off a 23-10 upset win at South Carolina, these SEC East teams will be coming off polar opposite prior games.
You could easily make a case that Missouri could have two more conference wins, one being against a powerhouse UGA team that could very well repeat as national champions.
After Kentucky’s most recent performance, no game remaining on their schedule can be taken for granted.
This season, Eli Drinkwitz has quietly put a top-20 defense in America on the field. The Tigers rank 19th nationally in total defense, just ahead of Kentucky, who after giving up 44 points against the Vols, now rank 20th.
Offensively, Missouri is similar to Kentucky in the fact that they struggle to score points. For the season, they average just 23 points per game, and the game’s over/under is currently set at an underwhelming 40 combined points.
Brad White will have to game plan for the connection of a pair of sophomores — quarterback Brady Cook and wide Dominic Lovett, who have hooked up for 659 yards and a couple of touchdowns this season.
Cook has thrown for 1,652 yards, six touchdowns and seven inceptions. He’s also run for 215 yards and three scores, including 11 runs for 53 yards and a score in last week’s win over the Gamecocks.
Speaking of the ground game, senior running back Cody Schrader leads the team with 444 yards and five touchdowns on 90 carries.
A big win Saturday in Columbia would go a long way in changing the course of the back half of this 2022 season. Things tend to get wonky when these two teams play, so be prepared for anything on Saturday afternoon.
Time: 12 pm ET on November 5th 2022
Location: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium - Columbia Missouri
TV Channel: SEC Network
Announcers: Play-by-play, Drew Carter; Analysis, Aaron Murray; Sideline, Lauren Sisler
Radio: Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro have the UK radio network call on 630AM, 98.1 FM in Lexington, and the UK Sports Network.
Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings for replay schedule).
Weather: Mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 58F. Winds SW at 15 to 25 mph, per weather.com.
Odds: The line has gone back and forth, but as of Thursday evening, DraftKings Sportsbook has Missouri as a 1-point favorite. ESPN’s matchup predictor slightly favors the Wildcats with a 50.4% chance of winning.
Score Projection: TeamRankings has Missouri coming away with a 21-20 win.