October 8, 2017 / 4:08 AM / 13 days ago

Preview: Missouri at Kentucky

Kentucky hopes to keep its SEC East title hopes alive when it hosts struggling Missouri on Saturday. The Wildcats have won their last two meetings with the Tigers, including a 35-21 road victory a year ago.

The Wildcats’ division title hopes took a hit with a heartbreaking 28-27 loss to Florida on Sept. 23, but they have a favorable schedule over the next five weeks. If Kentucky can run the table during that stretch, its Nov. 18 contest at Georgia could have title implications. Missouri is making its first road trip of the season and hopes to have more luck than it has had at home. The Tigers have had two weeks to try to figure things out since being routed 51-14 by Auburn for their third straight loss - a slide during which they’ve been outscored 117-30.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network. LINE: Kentucky -10

ABOUT MISSOURI (1-3, 0-2 SEC): The Tigers average 445.2 total yards per game, although that total is skewed by a record-setting effort in a season-opening win over Missouri State. The offense has mostly sputtered since then despite returning most of the key players to a unit than came on strong at the end of last season, including quarterback Drew Lock. However, the Tigers’ biggest concerns are on defense, as they’ve allowed 452.5 total yards and 40 points per contest.

ABOUT KENTUCKY (4-1, 1-1): The Wildcats have the third-best run defense in the nation, allowing just 74 yards per game after limiting Eastern Michigan to 13 last week. They’ve also been opportunistic, ranking third in the SEC and 11th in the nation with a plus-7 turnover margin. Running back Benny Snell Jr. is Kentucky’s biggest threat on offense, and he could be in line for a big performance against a Missouri defense that allows 194.8 rushing yards per game.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Kentucky WR Garrett Johnson has 127 career receptions and needs two to move into the top 10 on the school’s all-time list.

2. Missouri WR J’Mon Moore has caught a pass in 21 straight games, the fourth-longest active streak in the SEC.

3. Kentucky K Austin MacGinnis (298) needs eight points to pass Lones Seiber as the leading scorer in program history.

PREDICTION: Kentucky 30, Missouri 23

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