Key play: Missouri trailed 3-0 before redshirt freshman Maty Mauk hooked up with sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham on an 8-yard fade pass for a touchdown.
Key stat: Kentucky went zero for five on third downs and sputtered on offense after a promising opening drive.
Key play: On the first play, Levi Copelin blocked a Landon Foster punt at the Kentucky 4. It was the second straight botched punt for the Wildcats and led to a Henry Josey TD run one play later for a 14-3 lead.
Key stat: Despite an advantage in time of possession (16:14), Kentucky trailed 28-3 at halftime.
Key play: Kentucky, after pulling within 28-10, got out of the shadow of its own end zone with a 40-yard pass from quarterback Jalen Whitlow before Missouri senior linebacker Andrew Wilson punched the ball out for a fumble.
Key stat: Missouri was outgained 204-60 and outscored 14-7 in the quarter.
Key play: Once again, the key play was the first, a 7-yard touchdown on a slant route from Mauk to Green-Beckham, his record-breaking fourth of the game.
Key stat: Senior quarterback James Franklin returned for two series. He handed off the ball on all five snaps, including three on his second drive behind a second-string line.
Player of the game: Dorial Green-Beckham, who set a Missouri record with four touchdown catches. Green-Beckham shrugged off a pass interference penalty for the third time this season, snagging an 8-yard fade in the first quarter over Nate Willis, and added three more touchdowns, twice leaping over Kentucky defensive backs — Willis (again) and Eric Dixon. Green-Beckham also converted a third-and-10 with a tackle-breaking tunnel screen and had a one-handed 35-yard catch in the first quarter. He finished with seven catches for 100 yards.
Reason to hope: Redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk played his best game. He still had a few errant throws, but Mauk was more efficient than he’d been as a passer in three previous starts, completing 17 of 28 throws for 203 yards with five touchdowns, tying Chase Daniel’s single-game record, and no interceptions. Senior James Franklin looks like he’s set to return, but confidence should be soaring in Mauk.
Reason to mope: Marcus Murphy hasn’t been as dangerous in the return game this season, but he has showed flashes of breaking out in recent weeks. Muprhy averaged more than 30 yards on his first two kickoff returns, but fumbled the first and later fumbled a punt return.
Looking ahead: Missouri hits its second bye week of the season at 9-1 with the SEC East title in its sights. The Tigers get to rest (and probably get Franklin back) before wrapping up the season at Mississippi and against Texas A&M at home.
Tod Palmer, email@example.com
|B+||Offense||Quarterback Maty Mauk played his most complete game and looked more comfortable and efficient as a passer than during his previous three starts. Missouri struggled to get the run game established but still topped 200 yards thanks to junior Henry Josey’s 86-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.|
|A-||Defense||Missouri’s defense was on the field for 79 plays, surrendering 369 total yards and only 4.7 yards per snap. The Tigers got a critical turnover at a critical time, racked up seven sacks and limited Kentucky to a 33 percent third-down conversion rate. Overall, a pretty great day at the office for Dave Steckel’s crew.|
|B-||Special teams||Sophomore Andrew Baggett was terrific on kickoffs, junior punter Christian Brinser was fantastic, including a 61-yard bomb, and the kickoff return showed more life than it had this season. Still, Baggett also missed an extra point and Marcus Murphy put two balls on the ground in the return game.|
|A-||Coaching||The game plan worked well. Of course, putting quarterback James Franklin on the field for two meaningless fourth-quarter drives, including one with the second-string offensive line, was curious. it’s hard to see the value in handing off five times in front of a stadium that was one-quarter filled.|