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4 players to watch as Kentucky hosts Missouri

Keep an eye on these four Wildcats as Kentucky hosts Missouri.

Kentucky v Georgia Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Saturday is a big game for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Coming off a 51-13 loss to the #1 Georgia Bulldogs, Saturday represents an opportunity for Kentucky to get back on track and avoid letting one loss turn to two.

That won’t be easy with the Missouri Tigers coming to town, with the Tigers looking to get back on track after falling at home to LSU in a game last week in which Mizzou led in the 4th quarter.

This will be one of the biggest home games of the season for the Cats, so as the Wildcats and Tigers prepare to square off under the lights, here are 4 Kentucky players to keep an eye on.

Kentucky v Georgia Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

#1. Devin Leary

It’s no secret this might be the biggest game of the season for Kentucky’s QB.

Midway through the season, Leary hasn’t quite lived up to the preseason hype, and in the last two weeks, the Wildcats QB has really struggled.

Against Florida and Georgia, Leary completed 42 percent of his passes for 197 total passing yards.

This week against Missouri presents a major opportunity for Leary to turn things around in what feels like a must-win game for the Wildcats.

The Missouri defense has been suspect against opposing passing attacks this season.

The Tigers rank 7th in the conference in passing yards allowed per game, but opposing quarterbacks have had success against the Tigers defense over the last four games.

Kentucky needs Leary to play well to come out on top Saturday. After a couple of rough performances, a lot of eyes will be on #13 to see if he can perform in the big moment.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Missouri William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

#2. Dane Key

Dane Key was one of the biggest factors in Kentucky’s win at Missouri last year.

Key had two big touchdowns against the Tigers last year, including one with about 5 minutes remaining that gave Kentucky the lead.

Last week against Georgia, Key caught 3 passes for 65 yards. While his sophomore campaign hasn’t gone as well as he hoped, Saturday represents a big opportunity for the second-year wideout.

In Missouri’s last three games, at least one opposing receiver has gone over or was just shy of the 100-yard mark.

Key doesn’t have to hit that mark on Saturday, but based off recent history, the opportunity is there for him to have a big game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV. 05 Kentucky at Missouri

#3. Andru Phillips

While there weren’t a ton of positive takeaways from last week’s game, Phillips earned some positive praise for his performance.

The Kentucky secondary will have its hands full on Saturday, going up against a Missouri offense that ranks 12th in the country in passing yards per game.

Missouri QB Brady Cook is completing just under 72 percent of his passes for more than 1,800 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Phillips and the Kentucky secondary will have to find a way to slow him down, along with his favorite target, sophomore receiver Luther Burden III, the leading receiver in the country who has gone over 100 yards receiving in 5 of the team’s 6 games this season. In the season opener, he finished at 96 yards.

Phillips, along with fellow cornerback Maxwell Hairston, will have to try to contain Burden. That’s going to be no small task, but one that will be needed to come away with a win.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 TransPerfect Music City Bowl Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#4. Wilson Berry

A lot of things did not go well last Saturday in Athens, so the punting game was overlooked a little, but last Saturday was not the best day for Wildcats punter Wilson Berry.

Berry was on the field a lot, punting 8 times in the game. Berry’s average punt distance last week was 37.8 yards, the lowest of the season. His net average punt yards last week, 29, was also the lowest of the season.

On a positive note, he was able to put 3 of his 8 punts inside the Georgia 20-yard line last week.

Hopefully, Kentucky’s offense begins clicking, and Berry isn’t on the field much this Saturday, but after last week’s performance, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.