The 5-2 Missouri Tigers have a gaudy record but a couple of horrible losses. Road defeats at the hands of Wyoming and Vanderbilt show that this is a team that doesn’t travel well and that provides the 3-4 Wildcats with an excellent chance to get back to an even record on the season.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys:
Ride Lynn Bowden
It looks like the decision has been made to run with Lynn Bowden at QB for the foreseeable future. The WR turned QB rushed for 99 yards against Georgia, maybe the toughest 99 yards any player has ever rushed for given that the Bulldogs were sitting all 11 defensive players in the box from the end of the first quarter onwards.
Bowden was awful through the air against Georgia, which was as expected. This week – in hopefully better conditions – he goes against a defense that he can beat with both his legs and his arm. Bowden should be the focal point of the game plan against the Tigers
Try to stay healthy
One of the Wildcats big issues has been the lack of experienced depth behind the starters. Given what Kentucky lost after last season this is hardly a surprise, but the key to winning here depends on the walking wounded gutting it out before the bye next weekend.
Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith are both obviously key injuries that have changed the way the offense plays. Kaovsiey Smoke is playing through a shoulder issue, Isaiah Epps is unable to play through his foot injury, and the rest of the starters are all dealing with some knock or another. Rest is on the way, just get through this one first.
Stop Kelly Bryant
The Clemson transfer had looked great in 2019 before last week in Nashville happened. The dual-threat star went 13-of-26 through the air for just 140 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Given that on the year he has thrown for 1,715 yards, 13 TDs, 5 interceptions and a completion percentage of 61.3, you can see just how much of an anomaly this was.
Bryant rushed for 72 yards against Vanderbilt and he has the ability to simply take over a game. Stopping Bryant – the Tigers one true star player on either side of the ball – will put Kentucky in a great position to win here.