Mark Story

Blue Preview: Your guide to No. 12 Kentucky’s football game at Missouri

Kentucky stars Josh Allen, left, and Benny Snell will attempt to lead UK to its first 7-1 start since Fran Curci’s 1977 Wildcats did it en route to a 10-1 season.
Kentucky stars Josh Allen, left, and Benny Snell will attempt to lead UK to its first 7-1 start since Fran Curci’s 1977 Wildcats did it en route to a 10-1 season. aslitz@herald-leader.com

No. 12 Kentucky at Missouri

When: 4 p.m. (EDT), Saturday

Where: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo.

TV: SEC Network (play-by-play, Taylor Zarzour; analysis, Matt Stinchcomb; sideline, Kris Budden)

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, XM Channel 191, Sirius Channel 103

Records: Kentucky (6-1, 4-1 SEC); Missouri (4-3, 0-3 SEC)

Series: Kentucky leads 5-3 and has won three in a row

Last meeting: Kentucky beat Missouri 40-34 on Oct. 7, 2017, at Kroger Field

Favorite: Missouri is favored by six points

The story line

Seeking to go 7-1 in a football season for the first time since 1977, Kentucky and its stout defense must surmount a high-octane Missouri offensive attack that hung 646 yards on Memphis last Saturday in a 65-33 homecoming victory. The UK offense will again seek to get its passing game untracked after completing only three throws for 18 yards in last week’s 14-7 victory over Vanderbilt.

The big threat

Drew Lock. The Missouri quarterback was dialed in during the win over Memphis, completing 23 of 29 passes for 350 yards and four touchdowns. Considered one of the top prospects among QBs eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Lock has been far more effective against non-conference teams than SEC opponents this season. In four non-league Mizzou victories, he has completed 71.1 percent of his passes for an average of 353 yards a game with 15 touchdown passes and one interception. In Missouri’s three SEC defeats, Lock has completed 48.2 percent of his throws for an average of 189 yards a game with one TD throw and five picks.

Drew Lock vs Memphis.JPG
Missouri senior quarterback Drew Lock threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns in Mizzou’s 65-33 pasting of Memphis last Saturday. L.G. Patterson Associated Press

On the spot

Terry Wilson. The Kentucky redshirt sophomore quarterback ran for 91 yards to help the Wildcats claw past a determined Vandy upset bid last week. However, the postgame focus was on UK’s lack of passing production and Wilson’s role in two early turnovers. Should Saturday’s game turn into any kind of shootout, the Cats will likely need a far more effective passing performance from Wilson.

The mood

Is wary. The excitement of what has so far been a breakthrough Kentucky football season has been tempered by the recent difficulties UK has had throwing the football. From decades of frustrating experience, The Long-Suffering UK Football Fan can’t help but fear disappointment around the corner. If the UK offense scores as prolifically Saturday as the Cats did in each of their past two wins over Mizzou — 35-21 in 2016; 40-34 last year — it would calm a lot of nerves.

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory



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