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Three Keys For Kentucky To Get Back On Track Against Mizzou

Will Kentucky refocus and play well this week after a humbling loss at Georgia last week? This week the 5-1 Missouri Tigers come to Lexington to take on the 5-1 Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Here are three keys to a successful day for the Cats at home against the Tigers.

1. Devin Leary Must Play Better

Through three SEC games Leary’s numbers are not good. 34-74 for 402 yards. That is 45.9% completion percentage with 4-TD’s and 2-INT’s. Last Saturday against the top ranked Bulldogs Leary missed on a few wide-open routes and only had 38% completion percentage. This week at home Leary must begin to show why he was a top QB transfer in the offseason.

Look for OC Liam Coen to try to get Devin in a rhythm early with short to intermediate range passes to start the game. After mixing in some SEC leading rusher Ray Davis, expect to see some shots downfield off of the play-action. Don’t be surprised if we see TE‘s Dingle and Kattus get involved over the middle.

It is going to be imperative that Leary and the Cats match the play of Missouri QB Brady Cook and his Tigers. Cook has been one the SEC best through six games. WR Tayvion Robinson, Barion Brown and Dane Key must be able to make tough catches on a tough man-press Missouri defense.

2. Refrain From Bad Self-Inflicted Penalties

This season so far, the Wildcats have had trouble with holding on well designed and executed run plays. From TE Kattus to OG Jager Burton, Kentucky has stalled out on good drives because of getting behind on the chains with holding penalties instead of deep driving run plays. These are drive killers against good teams and have kept the Cats just outside of scoring chances several times.

Another issue has been 15-yard personal foul penalties, especially against Georgia where 2 late personal fouls negated a 3rd down stop on defense and a scoring drive on offense. These have to be eliminated versus a good Missouri team to get a win at home this week. OG Burton should be on thin ice if he doesn’t play without hurting his team.

3. Brad White’s Defense Must Rebound Against a Good Offense

Last week Georgia lit up White’s defense for over 600 yards and 51 points on offense. That is very uncharacteristic of a Brad White defense. His defense is still 6th in the conference even after that performance. Against the Bulldogs, they played off the receivers too far on the outside and didn’t blitz near as much as normally do.

This week the Kentucky defense must get back to their identity because this Tigers offense is one of the leaders in all of college football. Former 5-star recruit WR Luther Burden is the real deal and is leading the country in receiving with 793 yards and five touchdowns. His QB Cook is fifth in the country in passing yards with 1879 and has 13 touchdowns to go with only 2 interceptions.

The Tigers are definitely going to be a challenge this week for White and the Wildcats. If Kentucky is to secure a win the defense must play fast and hard-nosed. They must find a way to bring pressure on Cook and play much tighter coverage against Burden.


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