Danny Shin, 23 Sports


Saturday, September 26–


The 25th ranked Missouri Tigers suffered their first defeat of the 2015 season on Saturday evening in Lexington, Kentucky, at the hands of their SEC East rivals, 21-13. Inconsistency and injuries plagued the Tigers, and with the loss Mizzou fell to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in SEC play.


Kicker Andrew Baggett’s 24-yard field goal with three minutes left cut Kentucky’s lead to eight points, but the Tigers comeback stalled right there. Several first-down runs from Jojo Kemp on the next drive allowed the Wildcats to run out the clock and improve to 3-1(2-1) on the season.


Missouri also lost its streak of 11 consecutive wins on the road, the longest winning streak in the SEC and school history. Before Saturday, the last time the Tigers went down on an opponent’s turf was in a season-ending 30-point blowout at Texas A&M in 2012.


The injuries continued to pile up for Missouri as four key starters were ruled out throughout the course of the game – two on each side of the ball. Senior linebacker and leading tackler Kentrell Brothers left with a sprained ankle on the final play of the third quarter and senior safety Ian Simon suffered a head injury earlier in the half. Brothers entered day with the an FBS-leading 42 tackles and Simon is the most experienced player in the Tigers’ secondary.


Those losses contributed to the Wildcats putting up 369 total yards against the nation’s fourth-ranked defense. Junior quarterback Patrick Towles completed 22 of 27 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns, including a 24-yard strike to tight end C.J. Conrad in the third quarter and the 5-yard clincher to Dorian Baker with 6:20 remaining in regulation.


A week after scoring just nine points against Connecticut, Missouri’s offense struggled once again. Quarterback Maty Mauk did lead an 80-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter to put the Tigers ahead early, but he never recaptured that form. The redshirt junior connected on just 15 of 30 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown.


It was hardly his worst outing as a Tiger, but Mauk’s performance did little to silence more calls for freshman quarterback Drew Lock to get more snaps. Lock only played one series in the second quarter and was of 3/5 for 47 yards.


Outside of Mauk’s 49 yards on the ground, most of them on scrambles, Missouri’s running game also struggled. Starting tailback Russell Hansbrough returned from an ankle injury but struggled to get going, rushing for only 11 yards on six carries. The Tigers finished with 111 yards on 33 carries.


In terms of injuries, right tackle Nate Crawford and tight end Sean Culkin went down with a sprained ankle and sprained knee, respectively.


Missouri will begin the uphill climb towards the top of the SEC East next Saturday, Oct. 3, when it hosts a South Carolina team that is also winless in conference play this season, including a 26-22 loss to Kentucky at home two weeks ago.


For more info on the team, follow @MizzouFootball on Twitter and check out mutigers.com, as well as staying tuned into mutv.missouri.edu.

Photo courtesy of foxsports.com