In a contest that was originally scheduled to occur on Halloween, The Kentucky Wildcats (2-2) will be traveling to Columbia to face the Missouri Tigers (1-2) on Saturday. The Wildcats arrive coming off an historic victory for the program last week as they defeated Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time in 17 tries, while the Tigers got to bask in their victory over the Tigers from LSU for two weeks following their bye. What we have in front of us this week is a clash of two teams that are hungry to keep the positive momentum going.
Mizzou will be looking to pick up where they left off on offense against LSU if they want to win this game and pretty much every other game they have left on the schedule. The defense has been less than impressive to date in 2020, ranking 54th out of the 77 FBS defenses that have played so far this season. Maybe some leniency in judgement is in order since two of the Tigers’ first three games were against Alabama and LSU, but either way, they’ve been marched on. Facing Kentucky’s defense will be a tall task, but Connor Bazelak certainly looked poised throwing for over 400 yards on LSU. Larry Rountree had a big day in that one as well, going for 119 yards on the ground. If Mizzou can put up 75% of the offense they did against LSU, it will be a game late vs. the Cats.
For Kentucky, establishing itself on offense early will be key. Yes, the Cats won their last two games by a combined score of 58 to 9, but they managed to gain just 451 yards of total offense in the process. The defense won those games against Mississippi State and Tennessee. Plain and simple. UK intercepted NINE passes in the past two weeks and returned three for touchdowns. Another one of those picks was returned 76 yards to their opponents two yard line by a defensive lineman. This type of defense is not sustainable, so offensive coordinator Eddie Gran will be forced to open up the playbook a little more at some point while Terry Wilson and the Kentucky receivers will need to get more in sync to move the ball. With Mizzou coming off of a week of rest, this could be the week where pressure gets put on the Wildcat offense again.
Spread: Kentucky -5.5 (Odds Shark)
Total: 47 (Odds Shark)
Prediction: Kentucky 30, Missouri 21
Kentucky’s defense will allow more than one touchdown for the first time in a few weeks, but will still do enough to get the job done in this one. I think another solid defensive performance paired with the offense’s ability to bully the line of scrimmage as the game wears on will allow the Cats to pull away late. Right now, Mizzou doesn’t quite have the depth to handle a game that’s a tug of war instead of a shootout.
How to watch
Time: 4 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Watch Online: WatchESPN