The Cats are ranked as the 12th best team in the country in the AP Poll, and many experts against the Cats this weekend. The Cats are set to take on the SEC East rival Missouri Tigers on Saturday at 4 ET/3 CT in Columbia, Missouri.
Kentucky is 6-1 and are ranked No. 12 in the nation and looking to not be done yet. The Cats began the week as a 6-point underdog, but the spread has now shifted the Missouri Tigers direction as they are favored to beat the Wildcats by 7-point according to ESPN.
Kentucky currently has only a 35-percent chance to win according to ESPN. If Kentucky is going to be able to get a big win against the Tigers this weekend, here are the five things they need to do:
1. Win the line of scrimmage.
Last weekend Kentucky was able to rush for over 275 yards on the one of the weakest rushing defenses in the country and virtually never had to throw the ball.
Last weekend, the Cats defense showed up against the Commodores, giving up only one touchdown, that most people think was a fluke play after Lonnie Johnson whiffed on the ball. Josh Allen had two sacks and one of those sacks was a strip sack on a very important 4th and one.
Bohanna played very well again for UK as he ended the game with a fumble recovery. The one worry I have is Kash Daniel has a broken hand and just had surgery on Monday. My guess is Chris Oats will get a lot of playing time, to make up for Kash not being able to help much in pass coverage.
2. Figure out the QB issues
There are several questions swirling around the football program and that’s not good when you’re 6-1 and have the second best defense in the country.
Terry Wilson has been the savior for this Cats team as well as the Achilles heel for UK this year. Wilson only completed 3 passes last weekend against Vandy. Now, that was in part because of the weather, but still… That’s not very good.
Stoops has said that Wilson will be the starter, but he also plans to play Gunnar Hoak and possibly give Danny Clark a couple plays as well. My thing is, if the game is going well and you get the Florida game Terry Wilson, you leave him in the game. If you get the A&M game from Wilson, you pull him and give Hoak a shot.
3. Put pressure on Drew Lock
The senior quarterback, Drew Lock has had an outstanding career at Mizzou, passing for over 10,600 yards, while 1900 of those have came from the first half of the season.
Lock is a very good quarterback and possibly the top NFL prospect in the SEC for quarterbacks but he has one downfall: Playing horrible against SEC teams. So far this season
Lock has thrown six interceptions and five of those were against SEC teams. Lock’s QB rating drops nearly 50 points when playing against SEC teams rather than non-power-5 teams. Drew Lock is good when you give him time in the pocket to see the field, with guys like Josh Allen and Bohanna in his face I can see UK holding him to less than 225 passing yards.
4. Run the heck out of the ball.
The junior running back is off to a fast start to his junior season. After seven games this season, Snell is still ranked as one of the best backs in college football and he is averaging over 115 yards per game this season.
Last weekend against Vandy, Snell had a comeback game getting 169 yards on the ground to go along with one touchdown where he basically ran the ball every play. SEC did their behind the scenes episode this week on Kentucky Football vs. Vandy and it showed for about a minute and a half, Mark Stoops just telling Eddie Gran to keep feeding Benny the ball.
Snell has rushed for over 860 yards on 160 carries in just 7 games. That’s crazy by the way. But, That shows something about this offensive line. Kentucky’s offensive line has had the SEC lineman of the week 4 of the previous 7 weeks this season. If Kentucky is going to beat Mizzou this weekend, they are going to have to keep Lock off the field and run the ball down the Tigers throat.
5. Win Field Position
Kentucky has one weapon for sure and that’s a great punter and great cover team. If Kentucky is going to win this weekend, the Aussie weapon is going to have to be big.
Duffy is averaging just over 48 yards per punt and has 12 punts that landed inside the 20-yard line. The former Australian Football Player is crushing it this season and it helps that coverage team is only giving up an average of 8 yards per return (the fluke return against Vandy is included in that).
Kentucky has done a great job of winning the field position battle, but if they are going to beat a really good Missouri team, they will have to do it again this weekend.
The Cats come out strong and score early and often. Benny rushes for 150+ and Terry finally has a game like the Florida game and passes for 175 against the tigers not-so-good defense. I think Josh Allen gets 3 sacks and crushes Lock’s hopes and dreams as he only passes for 202 yards. I see Kentucky getting a win that a lot of people don’t expect.
Kentucky 38 Missouri 27