UK Football

Mark Story: Three key questions about Kentucky's game vs. Missouri

Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles (14) rolled out to pass as Kentucky played Florida on Saturday September 19, 2015 in Lexington, KY. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff
Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles (14) rolled out to pass as Kentucky played Florida on Saturday September 19, 2015 in Lexington, KY. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff Herald-Leader

Missouri at Kentucky

GAME FACTS

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Commonwealth Stadium

TV: SEC Network (play-by-play Brent Musburger; analysis Jesse Palmer; sideline Maria Taylor)

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, XM Channel 81, Sirius Channel 81

Records: Missouri (3-0, 0-0 SEC); Kentucky (2-1, 1-1 SEC)

Series: Missouri leads 3-2, and has won all three games since joining SEC in 2012

Last meeting: Missouri won 20-10 on Nov. 1, 2014, in Columbia

Favorite: Kentucky by 2 1/2 points


THREE KEY QUESTIONS

1. Can anybody score?

Kentucky comes into the game having not scored a touchdown in six quarters and lost 14-9 to Florida last week. Missouri enters off an ugly 9-6 win over Connecticut and is last in the SEC in total offense (325 yards a game). Victory figures to go to the coaching staff that can figure out a way to get its offense untracked. First team to 10 wins?

2. Will Patrick Towles bounce back?

A loud portion of the Big Blue Nation has been calling for a quarterback change since Towles went 8-for-24 passing and Kentucky lost a winnable game to Florida. Errant accuracy has been a persistent issue for Towles over his past seven starts (51.7 percent completion percentage). Can the former Highlands standout shut out the noise and reaffirm his hold on his job by leading UK to its first victory over a ranked foe in the Mark Stoops coaching era?

3. Can UK contain Maty Mauk?

The Missouri quarterback has been a thorn in the Wildcats' paws. In two starts against UK, Mauk has thrown seven TD passes with no interceptions. Last year, the 6-foot, 200-pound product of Kenton, Ohio, also ran for 75 yards against the Cats. With the way Florida's Will Grier hurt Kentucky last week with his scrambling, Mauk's ability to extend plays with his legs is worrisome.


THE MOOD

Is frustrated. Kentucky let a golden chance to end its almost three-decades-long losing streak against Florida get away last week. UK fans released a lot of their disappointment venting about Kentucky's quarterback play. Missouri, the two-time defending SEC East champs, is a tough-minded foe that knows how to win the close ones (7-2 in games decided by a TD or less in last three seasons). UK must put the disappointment of last week behind to claim what would be the most impressive victory of Mark Stoops' coaching tenure.

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