KENTUCKY vs. MISSOURI
When: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
Where: Columbia, Mo., Memorial Stadium (71,168)
TV: SEC Network
Record: 5-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference
Ranking: Not ranked
Last game: L, vs. No. 1 Miss. State 45-31
Coach: Mark Stoops (Iowa, 1989) 2nd Season at UK, 2nd overall
Record: 6-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference
Ranking: Receiving votes AP and USA Today
Last game: W, vs. Vanderbilt 24-14
Coach: Gary Pinkel (Kent State, 1975); 14th season at Missouri. 24th overall
Overall: Series tied 2-2
In Columbia: Series tied 1-1
Last meeting: MU 48-17 in Lexington (Nov. 9, 2013)
KENTUCKY SCHEDULE, RESULTS:
8/30 UT Martin [SEC Network] W, 59-14
9/6 Ohio [ESPNU] W, 20-3
9/13 at Florida* [SEC Network] L, 30-36 3OT
9/27 Vanderbilt* [SEC Network] W, 17-7
10/4 South Carolina* [SEC Network] W, 45-38
10/11 ULM [SEC Network] W, 48-14
10/18 at LSU* [SEC Network] L, 3-41
10/25 No. 1 Mississippi State* [CBS] L, 31-45
11/1 at Missouri* [SEC Network] 4 p.m.
11/8 Georgia* TBA
11/15 at Tennessee* TBA
11/29 at Louisville TBA
All times ET; * SEC game
MISSOURI SCHEDULE, RESULTS:
8/30 vs. South Dakota State W, 38-18
9/06 at Toledo W, 49-24
9/13 vs. UCF W, 38-10
9/20 vs. Indiana L, 31-27
9/27 at South Carolina* W, 21-20
10/11 vs. Georgia* L, 34-0
10/18 at Florida* W, 42-13
10/25 vs. Vanderbilt* W, 24-14
11/01 vs. Kentucky* 4 p.m.
11/15 at Texas A&M* TBA
11/22 at Tennessee* TBA
11/28 vs. Arkansas* 2:30 p.m.
All times ET; * SEC game
BIG BLUE KEYS TO THE GAME:
When Kentucky has the ball… As much as fans enjoy the “Air Raid” offense with Patrick Towles putting up big numbers through the air, the Cats are a much better team when they’re running the ball well and keeping the defense guessing. The staff has emphasized that this week, so look for the backs to get a steady diet of carries early in the game. Stanley “Boom” Williams returns from a concussion, and JoJo Kemp and Mikel Horton should provide their typical wildcat formation and power options, respectively. Expect fewer carries this week from Towles, who had 23 carries for 123 yards (before 47 yards lost in sacks) against Mississippi State. If the offensive line can get a push and allow the UK offense to be balanced, the Cats have a decent shot at coming home with win No. 6. If not, the game will rest on Towles’ right arm again, and Mizzou is very good at rushing the quarterback off the edges. UK does not want to be in that situation against senior defensive end Markus Golden (No. 33, 6-3, 260, 9 TFL, 4 sacks) and junior defensive end Shane Ray (No. 56, 6-3, 245, 14 TFL, 10 sacks).
When Missouri has the ball… The Cats must win the line of scrimmage and be sound in their tackling. They’ve had the terms “fundamentals” and “execution” beaten over their heads all week by the UK defensive staff. Mississippi State gained a ton of its 326 yards rushing last week after first contact, often breaking multiple tackles near the line en route to big gains. That cannot happen against Missouri, which enters the game ninth in the SEC in rushing and 13th in the league in passing. Kentucky needs to keep the Tigers in second- and third-and-long situations where sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk (No. 7, 6-0, 195, 52% comp, 16 TD, 9 INT) has to beat them. A key matchup is whoever draws the coverage assignment on senior wide receiver Bud Sasser (No. 21, 6-2, 220, 40 receptions, 551 yards, 6 TD). He's a physical target who enters the game second in the SEC in catches.
Senior defensive end Bud Dupree has 20 career sacks, needing six more to tie Oliver Barnett (1986-89) for the most in school history. Dupree currently leads all active SEC players in sacks… Senior wide receivers Demarco Robinson and Javess Blue have 919 and 903 career receiving yards, respectively. They can become the 23rd and 24th players in school history with 1,000-plus receiving yards.
ON THIS DAY IN UK HISTORY:
Saturday marks the 17th time in program history that Kentucky has played on Nov. 1 with the Wildcats holding a 5-11 record all-time on games played on this date. On Nov. 1, 1997, Kentucky attempted 67 passes in a 63-28 loss to LSU, which still stands as the most attempted in a game in program history. UK also ran 95 plays against the Tigers that day, which is the second-most plays in a game in program history.
• The Wildcats are off to a 5-3 start to the season, which is their best start to a season since 2008. UK’s win over ULM marked only the seventh time since 1950 that UK has won five of its first six games.
• Gary Pinkel has guided Missouri to eight or more wins in seven of the last eight years.
• The Cats and Tigers met in the 1965 and 1968 season openers with UK winning 7-0 and 12-6.
• Kentucky has scored 253 points this season, already more than any of the previous three seasons.
• After having just three interceptions last season, Kentucky has 13 in its first eight games in 2014, which ranks fifth nationally and second in the SEC. The 13 picks are the most by UK in one season since 2011.