Missouri hosts Kentucky in battle of teams heading in opposite directions

Missouri head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, right, talks to quarterback Brady Cook (12) during the...
Missouri head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, right, talks to quarterback Brady Cook (12) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr.)(Artie Walker Jr. | AP)
Published: Nov. 5, 2022 at 7:19 AM CDT
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(AP) - Kentucky (5-3, 2-3 SEC) at Missouri (4-4, 2-3), 11 a.m. CT (SECN)

Line: Kentucky by 1 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Kentucky leads 8-4.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Kentucky has lost three of four, including last week’s 44-6 drubbing at Tennessee, and still need one more win to become bowl-eligible. The Tigers won their second straight, beating then-No. 25 South Carolina on the road, after opening SEC play with three losses. After the most recent win, Missouri extended defensive coordinator Blake Baker.

READ MORE: Missouri extends defensive coordinator Blake Baker through 2025 season

KEY MATCHUP

Kentucky QB Will Levis against the Missouri pass defense. The potential first-round NFL draft pick was just 16 of 27 for 98 yards with three interceptions last week against a Tennessee pass defense that ranked among the worst in the SEC. Levis will need to fare much better against the Tigers, who are among the league’s best and allowing just 195.3 yards per game through the air.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kentucky: RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. was one of the few bright spots against Tennessee, running 15 times for 64 yards and a touchdown. That came after he ran for 197 yards and two scores in a win over then-No. 16 Mississippi State and 126 yards in a loss to South Carolina.

Missouri: DB Jaylon Carlies has produced turnovers each of the past two games, picking off a pass against Vanderbilt and forcing a fumble at South Carolina. He also had 13 tackles and a sack against top-ranked Georgia.

FACTS & FIGURES

Kentucky has won six of the past seven meetings, though the Tigers won in Columbia two years ago. Four of the seven have been decided by one possession. The Wildcats are trying to become bowl-eligible for the seventh straight season.

Rodriguez has scored the Wildcats’ last three touchdowns. He needs 135 yards rushing to pass Moe Williams (3,333) for third in school history. Kentucky WRs Barion Brown and Dane Key have caught a pass in every game of their freshman seasons.

Wildcats LB DeAndre Square needs one tackle to reach 300 for his career.

Missouri’s Isaiah McGuire was the SEC’s defensive lineman of the week after having two sacks and three tackles for loss against South Carolina. The Tigers had four sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss while holding the Gamecocks to 203 yards of total offense.

Missouri WR Dominic Lovett had a career-best 10 catches for 148 yards last week. It was the most by a Tigers wide receiver since Jonathan Johnson had 185 yards receiving in the 2018 Liberty Bowl against Oklahoma State.