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Dawg Preview: Missouri at #25 Kentucky

The #25 Kentucky Wildcats welcome the Missouri Tigers to Lexington in a battle to bounce back from bad losses for both squads. For Kentucky, a 51-13 thrashing at the hands of #3 Georgia certainly left a bad taste in their mouth. Georgia has a lot of established talent that's brought in a ton of success, and it showed with the drubbing they gave Kentucky. They will look for redemption with a big win against a good Missouri squad, themselves coming off a heartbreaker against another SEC powerhouse #22 LSU at home 49-39. Let's look at the details.

Broadcast Info

Date: October 14th, 2023

Time: 7:30 pm EST

Where: Kroger Field, Lexington, Kentucky

TV: SEC Network

Calling: Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic

Radio: UK Sports Radio Network (Kentucky), 105.1 KTGR Radio (Missouri)

Betting Line

Kentucky -2.0

Over/Under: 50.5

Tale of the Tape: Kentucky

Kentucky got flat-out embarrassed by Georgia last weekend. A complete mishandling of both sides of the ball and an overall incredibly disappointing performance that waters down the confidence of fans, players, and coaches alike. They can gain most of that back though with a statement win over the Tigers come Saturday. Offensively, Kentucky can put up points and strong performances in the run and passing game. Quarterback Devin Leary has thrown for 12 touchdowns this season so far and has shown he can lead the Wildcat offense efficiently. Running back Ray Davis averages 7.2 yards a carry and has 12 (8 rushing, 4 receiving) touchdowns himself, making him the centerpiece of this well-balanced offense. Missouri's front seven could prove to be an issue but showed a lot of vulnerability this past matchup against LSU. They will be going up against a well-balanced offense themselves, however, as Missouri, while having the high-flying passing attack, also has guys like Cody Schrader who can kill you on the ground. Kentucky's defensive backs will have to show they can keep up with the stellar wide receivers of Missouri, but will also have to be wary of a ground game that can gash you at will if you let it. Maxwell Hairston vs. Luther Burden will be an interesting battle to watch. This is where discipline comes in though, of which Kentucky didn't show a lot of this past weekend. Penalties at inopportune times, allowing the big play to come off of missed assignments, and more mishaps caused the Georgia lead to become insurmountable very, very quickly. Penalties and big play susceptibility will be the determinant of whether Kentucky will make a statement this game or not, and the Wildcats will have to set the tone early in order to slow down this Missouri offense.

Tale of the Tape: Missouri

Missouri will also be looking for that "Get back" game as well, as their loss last weekend bumped them out of the Top 25. They will need to show they deserve to be there with this game, and can absolutely do so if things go right. First things first, exploiting a pass defense that gave up an 80% completion rate last weekend will be a major key. Missouri's passing attack is no joke, combining for about 2,000 yards of passing already and being one of the best-receiving units in the nation with Luther Burden III at the helm with 793 yards off 54 receptions and 5 touchdowns. While certainly not the weakest unit in the nation, Missouri can absolutely dismantle these defensive backs if Kentucky plays how they played against Georgia, but making sure to balance things out by running the ball through Cody Schrader will be beneficial as well. Brady Cook will have to be surgical to avoid giving away the ball against ball-hawking defensive backs, as Kentucky has racked up 6 interceptions on the year so far, 4 from Maxwell Hairston. Keeping this Kentucky defense on their toes will help open up the passing game and potentially make for easy pickings on the deep ball. Defensively, this front seven got shell-shocked this past weekend by the running prowess of Jayden Daniels and the overpowering of the LSU offensive line. They cannot allow that to happen again, and with an offensive line that is young, inexperienced, and by all accounts, mediocre so far this season, this could be the game where they get their swagger back. Ray Davis is a great back who can hurt you badly, but if they can contain him and allow themselves to run free in the Kentucky backfield, this will be a long game for the Wildcats and a huge confidence builder for the Tigers.

Conclusion/Prediction For Missouri at Kentucky

This game could go one of two ways, honestly. If Kentucky plays flat like they did against Georgia, Missouri will run away with this. If Kentucky plays like they did against Florida, however, this could be a great game to watch. Both teams when performing at their best are offensive powerhouses that show why they're in a conference as prestigious as the SEC, and we could see another classic in the Southeastern Conference if we get both team's best with this one. In the end, though, Missouri's passing attack will prove too much for Kentucky's solid yet inexperienced defensive backfield. Missouri by 7.

Final Score Prediction: Missouri 35-Kentucky 28

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