Rain pelted down on the proceedings, wind whipped through Kroger Field, and Missouri suffered yet another embarrassing loss, this time 29-7 to Kentucky.
Coupled with the previous week’s brutal loss at Vanderbilt, and Missouri (5-3, 2-2 in SEC) has lost all its momentum from a five-game win streak, and then some. This season still has one big month, a four-game November that includes some of the season’s most important games, but it’s looking like this will be a season where Tiger fans will wonder what might have been.
Missouri had eight straight games to open the season in which it was a big favorite, and they still only went 5-3. The loss to Kentucky (4-4, 2-4 SEC) was Missouri’s third loss this season when favored by 10 points or more. College football is a wild and chaotic sport, but wins by double-digit underdogs are usually pretty rare.
Had Missouri simply beaten the teams it was supposed to beat by a significant margin, the Tigers would be looking at a likely 9- or 10-win season, and possibly something even more.
Instead, it is trending toward a lost season, confusion and frustration setting in during the rainy Kentucky night. The Wildcats simply dominated the Tigers. They are fairly one-dimensional, as due to injuries Kentucky has been using a wide receiver at quarterback. But Lynn Bowden was the more effective quarterback Saturday night, running for 204 yards.
I’ll spare you the line-by-line breakdown, but Kentucky outplayed Missouri in pretty much every aspect.
Kelly Bryant, who was already wearing a knee brace, injured the hamstring in his other leg on a run in the first half. It was that kind of night. Bryant struggled, and he was eventually lifted in favor of backup Taylor Powell, with head coach Barry Odom citing Bryant’s hamstring injury.
The Wildcats led 22-0 at the half. They kept their edge in the second half, and even converted a fake punt run for a big gain when Missouri didn’t seem to be paying especially close attention to the Kentucky punter.
It was Kentucky’s fifth straight win over the Tigers. Mark Stoops has his program in a better place, as they rolled over Missouri in an obvious rebuilding year for Kentucky.
But I’m sure you’re tired of reading about Missouri’s disaster Saturday. The question is, now what? The Tigers get a bye, which can’t hurt, and then Nov. 9 they travel to Georgia to take on the top-10 Bulldogs. That will be the toughest test of the season for Missouri. That’s followed by a home game with Florida, another very good team, meaning the Tigers could find themselves 5-5 heading into the Nov. 23 Tennessee game.
If somehow Missouri pulls out the win at Georgia, it’s absolutely a season-saver. But based on the last two games, it’s hard to imagine that right now.