Missouri’s Maty Mauk and Kentucky’s Patrick Towles are both struggling to put it mildly.
Contain Mauk: If there has been a consistent shortcoming from Kentucky’s defense through three games it may be the inability to contain a scrambling quarterback.
The struggling offense will receive some help in its Southeastern Conference opener at Kentucky this week with the potential return of senior running back Russell Hansbrough, who had been out with an ankle injury. Because I’m not sure trying too hard accounts much for the problems there.
Kentucky’s other running backs have benefited as well as the ground game seeks to balance the pass-oriented Air Raid scheme now run by offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.
TOP TIGERS TACKLER: Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers leads the nation with 42 tackles, including three for loss. “Good for him, he’s the man. (I’m) not at all (surprised he’s starting so early in his career)”.
“Everybody on that team wanted that game with everything we had, and I think sometimes we got a little tight because of that”, he said. Mizzou overcame a seven-point halftime deficit at Arkansas State the previous week to earn a 27-20 win that extended its school-record road win streak to 11 games, the third-longest streak now behind Ohio State and Florida State.
Gary Pinkel’s Mizzou football team will begin its SEC Eastern Division title defense Saturday evening at upstart Kentucky to face Mark Stoops’ Wildcats at the new Commonwealth Stadium (61,000 capacity).
For the most part, the Cats went out to the Tim Couch practice fields and did what they needed to do to get better…to clean things up…and prepare for a top-25 opponent. “We need to have a sense of urgency to get it done”. The Tigers average slightly more than 3 yards per rush, ranked 122nd, and one-fifth of their carries have been for no gain or for a loss. “And in this one, he drove us in field goal range, we missed the field goal”, Pinkel said.
Hansbrough said not playing against UConn was hard but necessary. “It’s not just about me”, he said”. “That told me a lot about how they feel about him and his ability to keep a cool head”. Kentucky surrendered just 120 rushing yards and 3.24 yards per carry last week against Florida, however. Us as a team, we’re going to stay behind him, because that’s our main quarterback right now.
No. 25 Missouri and Kentucky are looking to prove their offenses are better than the nine points they each scored in their last games.
Mauk said he also realizes there’s much he can improve upon.
With Drew Lock seeing more time a week ago, many have wondered if Pinkel would be willing to let the true freshman take the reins on a sputtering offense. That’s something we’ve got to work through. Lock, however, didn’t seem to provide many answers against UCONN, failing to lead either of his two series’ to scores.