The opening conference game of the SEC season will take place on Saturday as the Missouri Tigers travel to Lexington to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Both schools are 1-0 and both have high-end goals for this season that will be quickly derailed with a defeat here.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys for the Wildcats to defend home turf:
Will Levis takes over
It is hard to recall the last time that there was this much optimism surrounding the Kentucky passing game. Penn State transfer Will Levis at quarterback – along with wide receiver transfer Wan’Dale Robinson – has completely changed the focus of the Wildcats offense. Levis threw for 367 yards against the Warhawks and it is his desire – and ability – to push the ball downfield that makes this Kentucky team a completely different proposition. Look for him to go over 300 yards again here.
Protect Will Levis
The Kentucky offensive line is highly regarded but they were a little off in the opener. The Warhawks’ defensive front seven pressure Levis more than head coach Mark Stoops would have liked and it is important that the blocking systems are cleaner against Mizzou. The Tigers pass rush was outstanding against a good Central Michigan offensive line – they had a total of nine sacks to lead the nation – and they are able to bring pressure from a standard rush or from one of their blitz schemes. Keeping Levis upright is key.
Take something away
Mizzou was able to beat the Chippewas by being balanced. Nothing really stood out on offense as they rolled to 34 points, but rushing for 211 yards and passing for 257 meant that Central Michigan was never totally sure what was coming next. Taking away either the run or the pass before halftime and making Mizzou play a certain way will allow the Kentucky defense to get on top and take over the game.