The Wildcats were able to bounce back from a humiliating defeat at the hands of Arkansas to give Georgia a pretty tough game last week. A strong running attack allowed Kentucky to keep it close, but a lack of depth and experience coupled with talent deficiencies ultimately led to the Bulldogs pulling out the victory late in the contest. Now Kentucky will try to rebound against New SEC foe Missouri and will travel to Columbia to take on the Tigers.
What you really need to know about Missouri:
The Tigers have had a rough start in their first season in the SEC and have had injury issues if their own. A 3-4 start to the season could have been worse, but blowout losses to SEC opponents Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama have given the team a less than hospitable welcome to their new conference. The Tigers have had a strong passing game and an adequate rushing attack offensively this season, both of which are backed up by a bend-but-don’t-break defense that has forced 16 turnovers on the season.
The players you really need to know for Missouri:
#85 – Marcus Lucas – WR
Missouri made a huge splash last winter when they signed Dorial Green-Beckham, the number one recruit in the 2012 signing class. Despite his size and skill, DGB has been slow to move his way up the depth chart and getting busted for marijuana possession sure didn’t help. As a result, Lucas has surged forward and become the go-to guy at receiver and is currently averaging just over ten yards per catch.
#34 – Sheldon Richardson – DL
When it comes to game-changing defensive linemen, they don’t get much better than Richardson. This 6’4, 295 pound beast is big enough to play defensive tackle, but quick enough to play end as well. He currently leads his team in tackles and sacks and is one of the best defensive players in the conference.
#48 – Andrew Wilson – LB
When looking at the best linebackers in the SEC, Wilson is unlikely to be at the top of the list. Due to so many high profile players at the position, Wilson’s play is vastly overlooked, and probably unfairly. The 6’3, 235 pound junior has 45 total tackles on the season and four forced fumbles, but his value is greater than statistics indicate. Wilson’s blend of size and speed allow him to body up tight ends and stay with running backs, all while playing true sideline-to-sideline football.
#4 – Kendial Lawrence – RB
Lawrence is a big part of the Missouri offense and has accounted for 616 of the team’s all-purpose yards this season. He’s a threat to break a big play at any time and is a capable receiver as well.
Potential breakout players:
#2 – Bud Dupree – LB
Once again, Dupree should be on break out watch this weekend. Missouri’s offense will have a redshirt freshman quarterback at the helm and Dupree might be able to read some of his keys and get the jump on plays early.
#14 – Patrick Towles – QB
Towles will return this week and is expected to get some playing time against Missouri. With a vulnerable defense and a Kentucky offense that was so successful throwing early in the year, Towles might be able to reignite the vertical passing game this season.
#3 – Fred Tiller – CB
There’s no doubt that Kentucky’s defensive backfield is green, but their not talentless. Tiller (among others) has played well for a true freshman this year, but Missouri is still likely to try and pick on him. While it could expose him, to giving up the big play, it also exposes him to possibly making the big play too.
Key for a Kentucky win:
It will be strange for most everyone as Kentucky travels to Big12 country to take on Missouri at home. If the Wildcats hope to overcome their youth and leave with the team’s second victory of the season, it will likely be due to the Kentucky’s balanced offense and lack of turnovers. If the Wildcats can keep Missouri on their toes defensively, protect the football, and get the football themselves, their chances of returning home with a win are going to be much better.
Kentucky 31 – Missouri 27