Coming off a program altering win at Tennessee and facing SEC East favorite Georgia next Saturday, the opportunity for the Kentucky Wildcats to come out flat against Missouri was a possibility.
Well, it happened.
Kentucky’s offense had its worst performance of the season. The Cats couldn’t muster anything in the passing game, allowing the Tigers to load up the line of scrimmage and bottle up the vaunted UK run game. Couple this with Missouri’s ability to run the ball and making plays in its passing game against the Cats' vaunted defense and the pieces were there for the Tigers to manhandle the Cats 20-10 Saturday in Columbia.
It was a systems breakdown for the Cats (2-3) in all phases of the game, especially on offense. Kentucky was held to 145 yards of total offense, 98 of those rushing. Even worse, the Cats could only muster 45 yards passing against the Tigers (2-2).
The Cats could not find any sense of balance all day long and paid the price for it.
The defense was shredded for 421 yards after Missouri ran 98 plays and 43:18 minutes against it. To be fair, though, the offense did very little to help out the Cat defense. The defense was left out on the field for most of the game, and when they finally got a stop, the offense simply ran a couple of plays and punted the ball back to the Tigers.
There is little time for the Cats to lick their wounds. The Georgia Bulldogs are coming to Lexington on Halloween Saturday.
Will it be Trick or Treat for Big Blue?
Here is the game recap, courtesy of UK Athletics:
Team Records and Series Information
Kentucky is 2-3 and Missouri is 2-2.
Kentucky leads the series 7-4 with today’s game ending a five-game Wildcat win streak vs. the Tigers.
Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats return home to host Georgia on Sat. Oct. 31 at noon. It will be televised by the SEC Network.
· UK’s game captain was punter Max Duffy.
· Senior quarterback Terry Wilson completed 3 of 9 passes for 35 yards and one touchdown.
· Sophomore QB Joey Gatewood also saw action, completing one pass for 12 yards.
· Sophomore running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. led UK in rushing with nine carries for 48 yards.
· Senior running back A.J. Rose gained 43 yards on just five carries, highlighted by a 29-yard run on UK’s drive that ended in a field goal.
Rose now has 1,540 career rushing yards, moving past Lynn Bowden Jr. and Al Baker for 20th place in school history.
· Senior wide receiver Josh Ali led the Wildcats in receiving with three catches for 44 yards, He caught a 26-yard touchdown pass, his first TD of the season and fifth career.
· Junior safety Yusuf Corker posted a career-high 18 tackles. He had two tackles for loss, including a quarterback sack.
It is the most tackles for a Wildcat since Jordan Jones had 19 stops vs. Southern Mississippi in 2016.
It is Corker’s second double-figure tackle performance of his career.
· Junior linebacker Jamin Davis had 10 tackles, his third-straight game in double figures.
· Making his first collegiate start, junior noseguard Marquan McCall had a career-high six tackles.
· Junior linebacker Jordan Wright wore uniform No. 22 today in honor of teammate Chris Oats, who is dealing with a serious medical condition. Wright had four tackles, including one for a four-yard loss.
· Senior punter Max Duffy had six punts for a 44-yard average.
· Senior kicker Matt Ruffolo connected a 50-yard field goal in the second quarter, tying his career long set last season vs. Arkansas.
Shane Shackleford is a regional sports columnist from Speedwell, Tenn. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and several media outlets --The Corbin Times-Tribune, London Sentinel-Echo, A Sea of Blue, KySportsStyle.com Magazine, and HarlanCountySports.com.