• When/where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
• TV/radio: ESPNU, KMBZ (980 AM and 98.1 FM)
• The series: Kentucky leads 2-0
• The line: Missouri by 13
What’s at stake
For Missouri, self respect. The Tigers are coming off a bye week, so they should be well rested and ready for the struggling Wildcats. A loss would put Missouri on course to finish dead last in the SEC East, something few thought possible before the season. With a win, Kentucky can put itself in position to avoid a third straight last-place finish in the division.
Cheers if …
Missouri’s offense shows significant improvement. That, obviously, will start with quarterback Corbin Berkstresser, who must be more accurate and do a better job of getting rid of the ball. Bonus points if the Tigers find plenty of touches for dangerous running backs Kendial Lawrence and Marcus Murphy.
Jeers if …
Missouri loses. Period. A home loss to a struggling Kentucky team starting a true freshman quarterback would be a disaster and effectively turn fans’ attention toward basketball season.
Three things about Kentucky
1 Talk about injury problems. The Wildcats have had four different quarterbacks throw a pass this season.
2 Much like Missouri, Kentucky has played a very difficult schedule. Kentucky’s opponents are a combined 47-10 this season.
3 Kentucky’s youth movement is real. The Wildcats have played 14 true freshmen this season, and 55 of their 80 recruited scholarship players are freshmen or sophomores.
Missouri’s defensive line vs. Kentucky’s offensive line: It’s up to defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and ends Michael Sam, Brad Madison and Kony Ealy to help contain the running game and, more importantly, rattle true freshman quarterback Jalen Whitlow. If these guys don’t get blocked, Kentucky doesn’t move the ball.
Terez A. Paylor’s pick: Missouri 30-13
Missouri has had two weeks to prepare for this game, and with Kentucky’s hopes for a bowl bid already down the tubes, it’s hard to imagine the Wildcats mustering the kind of effort needed to topple the Tigers.