With a 1-3 record, Missouri finds itself in a less-than-desirable situation. Today, our staff shares what the Tigers must do to make a successful turn-around.
For me, the number one way to turn the season around, is to get running back Damarea Crockett more involved in the game. Unfortunately, that will be easier said than done, as Kentucky has only allowed 370 rushing yards through five games, this season, and has only given up 2.6 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Missouri is averaging 5 yards per carry, which is a respectable 38th in D1.
Quarterback Drew Lock has looked shaky, at best, over the last three weeks, and his confidence looks all but gone. Lock has struggled on the road, ever since becoming the starter, and he has shown me no reason to think any differently, so far this year.
Kentucky’s pass defense is ranked 115th in the nation in yards, which gives Missouri the potential to make big plays through the air. However, the pass defense’s yards per attempt is a more respectable 70th.
Mizzou’s defense, on the other hand, is ranked 118th in yards allowed per attempt, at 8.7. The Tigers need to be able to control the clock a bit, and keep Lock from having to press and inevitably make mistakes.
If Lock plays badly this game, then I think the coaches need to consider benching him. Perhaps substituting in a different quarterback would galvanize the team and motivate them, because it would instill that nobody’s job is safe.
The upside to this game, is that Kentucky seems to play to the competition. They were a missed kick away from beating Florida for the first time since 1897 (sic); actually, the Wildcats haven’t beaten the Gators in over 30 years. The next week, they only beat Eastern Michigan by four points, so that gives Mizzou some hope.
Last year, the Wildcats imposed their will on the Tigers in Columbia, as they had two running backs who rushed for almost 375 yards. Benny Snell had 38 carries for 192 yards, while Stanley Williams added 182 yards on 19 carries.
Snell is back this season, but quarterback Stephen Johnson has taken the next step, starting the year with seven touchdowns to one interception, in comparison to 13 touchdowns and six picks last year. His completion percentage has also risen from just under 55% a year ago, to over 64%.
Unless there was some drastic change during the bye week, then I can’t see this game looking much different from the last three games. While I think the bye week may have helped a little bit, I only see Mizzou staying in it for a half. In the second half, the Wildcats will run away with it.
Kentucky 38, Missouri 17