A Bad Day In Columbia
In eight years as Kentucky’s head coach Mark Stoops has done some great things in Lexington. For example he ended the streak against Florida, the first 10 win season in 40 years and much more. A week ago the Cats beat Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time since 1984. However every year the Cats have one game where they just come out flat. Two years ago it was at Tennessee, last year at South Carolina. The “total systems failure” reared it’s ugly head again today as Kentucky falls at Missouri 20-10.
The Offense Was Terrible
As a result of the defense playing so well over the last two weeks including scoring three touchdowns the offense hasn’t had to do much. On Saturday when that didn’t happen Eddie Gran’s group failed to produce. The Cats only ran 36 offensive plays, their lowest number since a 49-7 loss to Arkansas in 2012 which was called in the third quarter because of storms. As bad as it the offense was they were great on first down gaining 117 of their 145 yards. For whatever reason they got away from playing Kentucky football getting too cute on second and third down. As a result UK went 2-9 on third down.
When the Cats did throw the ball they had little success. Terry Wilson went 3-9 for 35 yards however he did hit Josh Ali for a 26 yard touchdown. Stoops brought in Joey Gatewood to try and spark the offense but it didn’t help as he only completed 1-4 passes for 12 yards.
One key sequence came early in the fourth quarter after Kentucky cut the lead to 17-10. After stopping Missouri the Cats went three and out in less than a minute with two of the plays being pass attempts. For a defense that had been on the field almost all game it was a back breaker.
More Than Football On Their Minds?
Before the game it was announced that offensive line coach John Schlarman did not make the trip to Columbia for the game. For those that may not know Schlarman is battling cancer. During the post game news conference Stoops said he wanted to respect him and his family and confirm some things before saying anything more. At the end of the day you have to wonder if their coach not being with them had an effect on the players. The commentators for the game even mentioned how little emotion their was on the UK sidelines, especially during the first half.
— John Clay (@johnclayiv) October 24, 2020
Defense Struggled As Well
After back to back incredible performances the defense had to come back to earth eventually. Unfortunately for Cat fans that came on Saturday. Behind quarterback Connor Bazelak and running back Larry Roundtree III the Tigers dominated the time of possession for over 43 minutes. In addition Roundtree had one of his best games as a Tiger rushing for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
For the game Missouri had 26 first downs, 421 yards and went an amazing 4-5 on fourth down. Bazelak ran the offense very efficiently completing 21 of 30 pass for 201 yards as the Tigers ran 92 plays. The bottom line is Kentucky forced no turnovers and stayed on the field way too long. Furthermore they really missed Quinton Bohanna, who was out with a knee injury. Put it all together and that’s a big reason why Kentucky falls at Missouri 20-10.
For Kentucky the loss drops them to 2-3 on the season in this year of All-SEC play. It gets no easier next week as they host Georgia, a team the Cats have not beaten since 2009. In addition they’ll likely drop a few pegs in next week’s bowl projections. Entering Saturday we had Kentucky playing Michigan in the Outback Bowl.
On the other side of the ball Eli Drinkwitz’s Tigers are now 2-2 and winners of two straight. In addition they break a five game losing streak to Kentucky. They head to Florida next Saturday to face a Gators’ squad who had a bye week due to ongoing COVID-19 problems with the team.
Again Kentucky falls at Missouri 20-10 as the Cats can’t keep the momentum going from the previous two weeks. Thanks for checking this and all the other great content out here at Last Word On College Football. As mentioned earlier next time we’ll get you ready for the game against Georgia.