Missouri has never beaten Kentucky in the Barry Odom or Drew Lock era. They also haven’t beaten a ranked team. However, both of those scenarios can change when the Tigers host the Wildcats Saturday afternoon at Faurot Field, creating a huge opportunity for the third-year head coach and senior quarterback. Add in that former Clemson quarterback and graduate transfer Kelly Bryant will be visiting Columbia this weekend, this is arguably the biggest game for Missouri, not just for this season, but for the program’s future going forward.
After a 65-33 Homecoming win over Memphis, senior offensive linemen Kevin Pendleton said “It’s a confidence booster, and it proves that, you know, hey maybe the coaches actually do know what they’re talking about.”
Kevin Pendleton on the win over Memphis: “It’s a confidence booster, and it proves that, you know, hey maybe the coaches actually do know what they’re talking about.” #Mizzou @550KTRS pic.twitter.com/4EKXswwV3E
— Sammy Stava (@StavaonSTL) October 23, 2018
Missouri improved to 4-3 on the season after that victory, finishing the non-conference schedule undefeated for the first time under Barry Odom with some solid wins over Purdue and Memphis. Though Odom and Lock are still searching for that signature, program-changing win over a ranked opponent, and Kentucky certainly is that.
Kentucky (6-1) comes in ranked No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the coaches’ poll heading into Saturday’s contest with 4-3 Missouri. “They’re 6-1 for a reason,” Barry Odom said. The Wildcats’ only loss so far this season came against Texas A&M on the road, 20-14 in overtime. “Benny Snell is as good as anyone in the country,” Odom added. The Kentucky running back has rushed for over 100 yards in four of seven games. He had a season-low 60 rush yards in their only loss of the season.
Containing Benny Snell would be huge for Missouri’s chances at a win, who come in with the 34th ranked rushing defense in the country, matching up against the Wildcats’ 17th ranked rushing offense.
Coming off a 14-7 win Saturday night over Vanderbilt, Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson only passed for 18 passing yards. The Wildcats’ come in with the 123rd ranked passing offense in the country, matching up against Missouri’s 121st ranked passing defense in the country, as something will have to give there in both teams’ weaknesses.
Kentucky also boasts the second ranked scoring defense allowing only 12.9 points per game, which trails Fresno State in the FBS. “They kind of have it all going right now,” Odom said of the Wildcats.
Perhaps can be said the same about Missouri if they can put together a second half run just like last season. Odom is currently 9-4 in the second half of the season as the head coach, but more needs to be done.
Vegas still thinks highly of this Missouri team, who perhaps surprisingly opened up as a seven-point favorite. Don’t tell that to Drew Lock though, as he said “I don’t know how that works, and it’s really not something I think about.”
He shouldn’t, and the team shouldn’t, because they need to go out and take care of their own business in a game they absolutely can win.
Saturday is massive for Barry Odom and Drew Lock.