Missouri looks to battle UK football after bye week


Benny Snell Jr. The University of Kentucky football team beat Missouri 35-21 at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday, October 29, 2016. Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

The University of Missouri Tigers are ready to take on the University of Kentucky Wildcats as they visit Lexington in their road opener this Saturday.

Mizzou is coming off a bye week and are 1-3 so far this season. Their recent action comes from a 51-14 loss to fellow SEC school Auburn.

The key to the Tigers’ offense so far has been their big-play ability through the air; they’re averaging 15.93 yards per pass completion, which is the ninth-best nationally. Their passing offense also ranks second in the SEC, as they’re averaging 278.8 yards through the air per game.

Mizzou’s key pieces to their offense are the explosive running back and wide receiver pair, sophomores Damarea Crockett and Johnathon Johnson.

In their last game against Auburn, Memphis native Johnson had a career high 10 catches that were good for 85 yards. He’s the first Mizzou receiver with 10+ catches in a single game since Bud Sasser racked in 12 catches against Indiana in 2012.

Crockett, standout running back from Little Rock, Arkansas, ran for a Mizzou freshman record of 1,062 yards last year, and led all freshmen nationally in yards per game/carry. He currently ranks fourth in the SEC in total rushing yards per game (93.8) and yards per carry (6.36). The RB has 375 yards total and two TD’s through this season’s four games.

To add to his statistics, Crockett is one of just 10 active players in the FBS to have two separate games of 200+ yards on the ground in his career.

Mizzou’s quarterback, junior Drew Lock, has thrown for 5,846 total career yards, sixth in school history. Lock and the Tiger receivers have earned six plays of 50+ yards this season.

The Tigers’ offensive strategy under offensive coordinator Josh Heupel uses the entire field horizontally and vertically, which means utilizing their big, strong-blocking tight ends Albert Okwuegbunam, Kendall Blanton, and Jason Reese.

J’Mon Moore, a senior WR from Missouri City, Texas, has caught a pass in 21 consecutive games dating back to 2015.

The Tigers have many standout athletes on the defensive side of the ball as well.

Senior DE Marcell Frazier and junior DT Terry Beckner, Jr. earned preseason All-SEC honors from the league’s coaches. Frazier has nine tackles with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss this season. Beckner has 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks through the first four weeks of play.

Sophomore linebacker Cale Garrett has been holding his own in the middle of the field this season as he leads the Tigers with 30 total tackles.

Terez Hall, a junior linebacker, made his first career start versus Missouri State and has been one of the Tigers’ top defenders. He is now second on the team with 24 tackles, four of them for a loss.

A familiar face to frequent SEC football watchers, senior defensive back Anthony Sherrils leads all active Mizzou players in career games played (42) and is tied for second on the team with 24 tackles.

The Tigers will seek to tie up the current 4-3 all-time series against the Wildcats this Saturday, Oct. 7 at Kroger Field.