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“Mizzou Made” for the 4th Quarter: UK-Missouri Preview

“Mizzou Made” is Gary Pinkel’s description of the Missouri Tiger football program. One of the slogan’s key components is player development. In recent history, few have done it better than the Missouri head coach. Pinkel’s teams have won five of the last eight divisional championships, a stretch than spans both the Big 12 and SEC. How the Tigers have done so has varied, but two constants have stood the test of time: Win the fourth quarter and a fundamentally strong, disruptive, and opportunistic defense.

Missouri comes to Commonwealth Stadium undefeated, ranked, and with a remarkable 11-game road win streak. Below is a preview of Saturday’s critical SEC matchup as well as a position group advantages and analysis for both teams:

OFFENSE

Kentucky’s currently ranked 11th in total and scoring offense. Missouri is 13th in scoring offense and last in both total and rushing productivity. UK averages 25 points per game, compared Mizzou’s 23.3.

Quarterback: Missouri

Maty Mauk’s statistics are not overwhelming. But consistent with the “Mizzou Made” mantra, Mauk’s 2014 fourth quarter QB rating led all SEC passers. Telling number.

In 2015, Mauk enters the Kentucky game completing 42-of-80 passes for 474 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions. His ability to extend plays and drives through pocket improvisation presents a familiar challenge to DJ Eliot’s defense. True freshman Drew Lock has also taken snaps. The rookie has impressed by completing 60% of his passes.

Kentucky’s Patrick Towles has been inconsistent. With completion percentages of 47, 72, and 33%, the Wildcat offense has yet to chain together two complete halves of football. Following the Florida debacle, UK’s junior quarterback’s Saturday performance has career implications. All eyes will be on Patrick Towles on Saturday. A bounce back, accurate, and composed game is obligatory.

Running Back: Kentucky

Boom Williams has established himself as a top-five SEC running back. In fact, Williams is currently the league’s fifth leading rusher averaging 107 yards per game. His 107 yards per game is exactly the number Missouri averages as a team. Mikel Horton and JoJo Kemp have also exemplified rushing success.

Missouri’s total rushing yards per game is good for last in the SEC. However, its 2014 thousand-yard rusher, Russell Hansbrough, has missed time due to injury. He is expected to return against Kentucky. His presence will automatically boost Mizzou’s inept running game.

Offensive Line: Kentucky

As I type this segment, I can feel the collective Huh? reader comments. No secret that Coach John Schlarman’s unit struggled against Florida. But, in reality, Kentucky is four spots ahead of Missouri in total offense. Much like its quarterback, the big guys up front will be called upon to execute at a higher level. Problem is, Missouri’s defense is ranked at the top of the league in total defense.

Missouri’s offensive line is led by center Evan Boehm. The All-SEC and All-American player has 43 consecutive starts and is the anchor of the Tiger offensive line. The Tigers had to replace key starters from last year’s SEC East championship team.

Wide Receiver: Kentucky

This article is becoming a copy-and-paste post. See above. Wildcat receivers have shown flashes of dominance. But against Florida, those flashes were overshadowed by drops and missed opportunities. However, collectively, UK’s receiving corps is deeper and more talented.

Missouri’s leading receiver is J’Mon Moore. Moore has 11 catches for 130 yards but only one touchdown. Youth is common for Tiger pass-catchers and has led to inconsistency and dropped passes.

Tight End/Fullback: Missouri

Sean Culkin is Maty Mauk’s security blanket. The veteran tight end has 11 catches on the season for 97 yards. Culkin is a drive extending receiver that is also strong at point of attack blocking. 

Kentucky’s tight ends have gone zero for September in catches. A number that perplexes the BBN. At some point, highly vaunted freshmen CJ Conrad and Darryl Long will have to be targeted.

DEFENSE

The Tigers are the nation’s seventh ranked defense and fourth in tackles for loss. In addition, Missouri is ranked number one in the following SEC defensive categories: Total, pass, scoring, and pass efficiency. The Tigers will play a 4-3 scheme that varies dependent upon down-distance and field placement. Its strength is, well, all over the field. There are no glaring weakness. Extremely well coached defense.

Defensive Line: Missouri

Missouri is Defensive Line U. The Tigers have recently selectively recruited, developed and produced NFL defensive linemen. However, it lost four potential starters from the 2014 unit that had 44 sacks on a defense that only blitzed 18% of the time. Shane Ray and Marcus Golden are now Sunday players. Rising star Harold Brantley was lost to the season from injuries sustained in a car wreck and DE Marcus Loud was dismissed from the team. This year’s unit is led by the SEC’s leader in tackles for loss, DE Charles Harris. Joining him at DE is Marcell Frazier. Both are disruptive and excellent edge pass rushers. In the middle, John Augustus and Rick Hatley are joined by the nation’s 2015 top ranted DT recruit, Terry Beckner. As a group, depth will be evident by a constant rotation of fresh defenders rotating in and out of the lineup.

Last week, UK’s Regie Meant was playing his best game as a Wildcat prior to leaving the game due to a shoulder injury. Replaced by C.J. Johnson, the senior then proceeded to pick up where Meant left off. Six tackles, a sack, and blocked kick provided energy. Nose tackles Melvin Lewis and Matt Elam tackle production has declined. However, Farrington Huguennin, playing as a fifth year defensive end, is expected to play. Seven tackles against the Gators was his second consecutive positive performance.

Linebacker: Missouri

Weak-side linebacker Kentrell Brothers is the SEC and nation’s leading tackler. He’s also intercepted two passes and blocked kicks. He and middle linebacker Michael Sherer combine to make one of the league’s most formidable linebacker duos. They are joined by Donavin Newsom.

Ryan Flannigan is expected to play in his first game of the 2015 season. Khalid Henderson filled in during his absence and has played three rock-solid football games. With Flannigan’s return, Josh Forrest will now have a capable backup to give the productive senior a breather. Jason Hatcher’s return from suspension provided necessary pass rush. Statistically, Henderson-Forrest have more tackles than Brothers-Sherer. Even with the nation’s leading tackler in Kentrell Brothers, this comparison was closer than you’d imagine.

Secondary: Missouri

Cornerback Aarion Penton is the Tiger’s third leading tackler. Joining him at corner is Kenya Dennis. The pair is considered an SEC top-three combination. Safeties Anthony Sherrils and Ian Simon are active and aggressive against the run. All four are sure, open field tacklers.

Can’t say it enough, veterans Cody Quinn and J.D. Harmon have impressed after being pushed in fall camp by a plethora of talented freshmen. Chris Westry is the position’s future star. Safeties Marcus McWilson and AJ Stamps have been consistent. McWilson and Stamps are catalysts for UK’s secondary improvement. Kentucky will have interception opportunities on Saturday.

Special teams: Kentucky

All-SEC kicker Austin MacGinnis has found his 2014 mojo. Austin scored all nine of UK’s points against Florida.  C.J. Johnson’s blocked field goal was a momentum-shifting play. Punter Landon Foster’s hang time and distance have at times put the coverage teams in precarious situations.

Mizzou has blocked kicks. A factor that has to be taken into consideration on Saturday. Tiger kicker Andrew Baggett has been consistent with an 80% FG percentage and 100% success rate on PATs. Both UK and Missouri are averaging right at eight yards per punt return.

What does all this mean?

Missouri’s defense is elite. In comparison to Florida, the Tigers are fundamentally stronger but won’t match the Gator’s collection of elite, future NFL talent. Statistically, Mizzou is better. Before the “well who have they played” questions surface, the same could have been said about Florida. Missouri’s defense will be the best coached and most fundamentally sound unit that the Wildcats will face in 2015.

Missouri’s offense hasn’t impressed. Coming off an ugly 9-6 home win over UCONN, expect Mizzou’s offense to look much different with the potential return of RB Russell Hansbrough. QB Maty Mauk is a stone-cold winner. 17-4 as a starter and his SEC best fourth quarter quarterback rating support that claim. Offensively, the Tigers will lull you to sleep. Their intent is to take the game into the fourth quarter and rely on defense to win. As a team, Missouri is comparable to boxer Floyd Mayweather.  They keep jabbing and striking points on the scorecard, but rarely win from a knock-out punch.

Kentucky’s offense hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in six quarters. Missouri is not the opponent in which to “get right.” The Wildcats will have their hands full on Saturday night. But, a potential 3-1 September record would exceed expectation. College football experts are expecting a baseball game type final score. If the game is close going into the fourth quarter, advantage Missouri. IF Kentucky scores early points and plays four quarters of efficient football, advantage goes the home team. Regardless of expectation, the truth of the matter is, UK has a legitimate chance to win a SEC home game against a ranked opponent. In fact, it’s favored to do so.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

27 Comments for “Mizzou Made” for the 4th Quarter: UK-Missouri Preview



  1. @BallBlog_Chad
    12:27 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    could be an ugly game … really need to hold on to the ball … still not sure why we’re favored, this is an upset to me if we win



  2. jopo53
    12:29 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    By the sounds of it, it looks like Towles is going to have a tough time bouncing back against the Mizzou defense. If that’s the case, put Drew in and see if he can add the much needed spark to the offense. We have to get rolling offensively in order to reach a bowl game this year.



  3. Jennifer Anniston's deodorant
    12:31 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    IN the name of the football gods can we catch a break? Why does Hansbrough have to come back just in time for this game. Hate to see players out but c’mon… Hargraves (or however you spell it) came back just in time to wreck havoc on our offense and now Hansbrough is back to try to do the same on our D. Let’s hope we contain the guy but talk about rotten timing.

  4. Guys, I haven’t been on the site this week much because I’ve been sick and in the hospital with a case of vertigo (at least that’s what the doc thinks). Meds make me drowsy too, so I would appreciate your prayers. I couldn’t even watch the UF game I was so dizzy then went to hospital the next day. I am better today than I was earlier this week though.

    That said, GO CATS AND BEAT MIZZOU!!!



  5. Laker Cat 18
    12:32 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    We’re favored because Connecticut is terrible. Mizzou tends to play down to their competition. I wouldn’t be shocked if they came out and hung 30+ on our defense, similar to what Louisiana did. I also won’t be shocked if we laid another dud on offense. Towles needs to run more. We are relying way too much on his arm. Boom is a great player, but we can’t go to him when things get tough because that’s what teams now expect.



  6. asdf
    12:43 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    Missouri is a better defense than Florida, but they lack the individual talent that Florida has. Florid hurt us on individual matchups where our skill level or inexperience could not match their athleticism. Missouri cannot match Florida’s athleticism, though, so I like our chances.



  7. Petrino's Motorcycle
    12:44 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    Mizzou is due for a breakout game, with their RB coming back look for this to be the game. UK seems to have their D all back but will it be enough. The tigers having one of the best defenses in the country, and UK having a panic stricken QB spells disaster for the kitty cats. Once again, maybe next year. LOL



    • Smells Like Bird Shit
      12:48 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

      Hey Petrino (aka cats paw/cat scat) its better than being 0-3, and on a 4 game losing streak (two of which were to SEC teams). 🙂

      Fucc boi….



    • Petrino's Motorcycle
      12:53 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

      0-3 yes looserville is, but the funny thing is UK still can’t beat them. How’d that game go last year when Looserville put in a backup QB from Lexington? oh yeah, he beat you. Bahahahaha



    • Smells Like Bird Shit
      1:11 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

      And lets remember: that UofL team lost 12 players to the NFL, and only won by 4. At home.

      Its at Commonwealth this year. And DeVante Parker isn’t walking through that door. 😉

      I’d be focusing on Samford, rather than trying to talk shit to us.



    • Booby Petrino
      2:14 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

      UK still can’t beat them? Louisville can’t win a game, so I like our chances.



  8. Dusten
    12:49 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    Having read this write-up by FM, I don’t know why in the hell we’re favored in this game. That being said, I trust FM’s analysis. Will be really excited for a win but am expecting a loss. Deja vu for the Missouri game.



  9. RICK
    12:52 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie, After reading this i don’t see how we can win and i hope like heck i am wrong. Let both quarterbacks play some, hit the tight ends and throw some 10 to 15 yard passes to the receivers and down the field once and a while mix in the run and hope for some luck and a win. GO BIG BLUE.



  10. ColoradoCat
    1:09 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    20-16 cats



  11. RickInTx
    1:10 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    Missouri’s stats look good until you realize they’ve slipped by Arkansas State who got trounced by USC (the west coast one), could only muster 9 points against UConn, and beat SE Missouri State (OVC) 34-3. I’m still concerned about our offense and Towles’ confidence/consistency, but Missouri has not faced a Power 5 team yet. I’m not convinced they would handle Vandy right now. I’m picking the Cats right now and hoping the offense can shake this slump.



  12. gobgblu37
    1:17 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    Cats 17 tiggers 14; Cats get three ints and return one for td!



  13. Just Say'n
    2:09 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    I don’t care if we win by 1 point; just win!



  14. SeniorCat
    3:16 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    I’m going to say a few things here for the rational UK fans on this site.

    First, I hope people realize that a lot of the negativity in these comment sections is coming from UL trolls and it should be ignored. However to those of you who call yourself UK fans and wear blue, these are for you;

    1) Whining and complaining this early in the season is acceptable for about an hour after the game on Saturday night. We are 2-1, 1-1 in the SEC. We have matched our win total from Stoops first year already.

    2) Shannon Dawson has made some great play calls but will make mistakes. Like our players, he is a young OC who is learning how to manage the game, make adjustments, and put together sustained drives while trying to utilize explosive players. Oh and to that point, we actually have explosive players for the first time since Joker’s first year. Guys like Pat, Boom, Dorian, Juice, and others are still very young. Those receivers you are complaining about have two to three years left. Just wait.

    3) We have an absolutely beautiful stadium which signifies the University’s commitment to football. Next year we will also have one of the best practice facilities in the nation, right here in Lexington.

    Bottom line, this team is young and will make mistakes. Stoops and Co. are changing this. If you are the type to stay home on Saturday because of one close loss, don’t come back. You don’t deserve to wear Kentucky blue, you don’t deserve to sit in that new stadium, and you don’t deserve to be a part of this fan base. Support your damn team through every win, every loss, every touchdown, and every fumble.

    Go Cats, see y’all Saturday.



    • Dude
      3:32 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

      Beautifully said. Well done, sir.



    • theWilkman
      3:50 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

      I’m in total agreement. The “fans” bringing all the negativity are either your typical UofL trolls, the type of fans that would find fault in anything even if we were 3-0, or the well-intentioned types calling for an 8+ win season and are now disillusioned. This 4th season has been ear-marked from the beginning as our breakout year- anything that happens this year is just a head start. So take heart and be encouraged by the talent and development of our young players, as well as the commitment of the University to the football program.



  15. OrangeJulias
    3:23 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    ^Finally

    Flannigan is back too so that can only help



  16. Old Cat
    3:42 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie has a great handle on things and I trust his thought out opinions and I thank him for his views and I find no fault with them.
    Not but, but however I keep feeling the shadow of the Joker era falling across the offense. Three games and not one pass to a tight end? This is a big part of the “Air Raid” but completely missing from our playbook so far. I would hate to see our season go into the tank because of loyalty to one player not that another player might do better but just to encourage me that effort is being made to shake things up and trying to find a combination that works.



    • SeniorCat
      3:51 pm September 24, 2015 Permalink

      I think we as fans sort of self proclaimed it as an air raid. Dawson from day one said they would utilize the run as well, this isn’t Hal Mumme. If Pat continues to struggle and we don’t see Barker against Eastern you might have some reason to complain but coming from a fellow student, all the kid has done since he has been here is keep me and a couple thousand people locked in the library for a few hours while he is out shooting pellet guns. Trust the staff.



  17. WholeLeeShit
    9:10 am September 25, 2015 Permalink

    I say lets keep running the same play over & over & over & over like we normally do and maybe Mizzou will catch on!