TIGERS FALL TO 2-6 FOLLOWING 35-21 LOSS TO KENTUCKY
On Saturday, the Kentucky Wildcats (5-3, 4-2) came into Faurot Field and defeated the Missouri Tigers (2-6, 0-4) by the final score of 35-21.
By Charlie Clarke
In its SEC championship runs, Missouri football prided itself on a strong defense that produced NFL-caliber defensive linemen.
As the 2013 and 2014 campaigns fade into the distant memories of Tiger fans across Missouri, so do images of Mizzou’s recently strong defensive units. The Tiger D has been torn up in 2016 to the tune of over 440 yards per game.
The unimpressive trend continued today in a matchup where Kentucky exploited Missouri’s defense for 582 yards, defeating a shorthanded Mizzou squad 35-21 at Faurot Field.
The sparse crowd of 50,234 watched Kentucky’s “Killer B’s” dominate the Tigers. With LB Michael Scherer and DL Terry Beckner Jr. out for the year, the Wildcats planned on running wild over Missouri. Behind a dominant offensive line, UK rushed for 377 yards and 3 touchdowns.
“We didn’t tackle very well on defense. We’re not very good tacklers,” head coach Barry Odom said. “I need to find a way to get that fixed. I’ve got to get them playing better.”
The monstrous duo of Boom Williams and Benny Snell Jr. erupted to average a combined 6.56 yards per carry. Snell rushed for 192 yards on 38 carries and Williams posted 19 yards on 182 carries.
Kentucky QB Stephen Johnson finished 14-23 with 208 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Mizzou’s defensive struggles may be caused by an anemic offense that can’t seem to stay on the field. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel’s up-tempo system has failed miserably in SEC play. Missouri constantly finds themselves on the wrong side of the time of possession battle, losing this one 39:36 to 20:24.
The Mizzou running game, which has been Missouri’s only bright spot in recent weeks, wasn’t impressive. Eight Mizzou rushers averaged just 4.2 yards per carry. Damarea Crockett finished with 55 yards on 13 attempts. Ish Witter totaled just 11 yards in his five carries.
A pair of late scores while the game was in Kentucky’s hands made the loss appear slightly less lopsided than it really was.
Not much is going right for Missouri football, another trend that continued today. The loss to Kentucky marks Mizzou’s 10th consecutive SEC loss. Following Kentucky’s 35-point output, MU’s defense has now allowed an average of 36.25 points per game against SEC opponents. Missouri hasn’t beaten an SEC opponent since Oct. 1, 2015 against South Carolina.
The 2-6 Tigers will try to turn things around on the road next week against a Gamecocks team that accounted for Mizzou’s only SEC victory last season. South Carolina will put its 3-4 record on the line tonight against 18th ranked Tennessee at home.