Nathalie Jones, 23 Sports

Friday, October 28—

This week, the Missouri Tigers look to gain redemption at Memorial Stadium after their embarrassing loss to Conference USA team Middle Tennessee. On their 105th homecoming, the Tigers suffered a 51-45 against the Blue Raiders. The spotlight after the game was on the Missouri defense, which looked completely defenseless against the Blue Raider offense.

Missouri needs an overhaul on defense for a chance to earn a win against the Kentucky Wildcats (4-3, 3-2 SEC). The Wildcats are on a hot streak, winning four of their last five games. Junior quarterback Stephen Johnson has led the team to their last four wins in the absence of starting quarterback Drew Barker. Despite the success, Johnson has struggled with turnovers. He has fumbled eight times, including five that were recovered by the defense, and has thrown two interceptions on the season. Sophomore running back Stanley “Boom” Williams has carried the Kentucky offensive attack this year with 639 yards rushing. On the defensive side of the Wildcats attack, sophomore inside linebacker Jordan Jones is a force to be reckoned with. Jones has recorded 67 tackles on the season so far, ranking him third in the Southeastern Conference for tackles. The Kentucky defense has the capability to stop the Missouri offensive attack, so it is really important that their offense steps up.

The Missouri Tigers have been going through a rough patch, continuing a three-game losing streak. Their performance against teams such as LSU, Florida and, specifically, Middle Tennessee, has been especially disappointing. In the games against Florida and LSU, Missouri’s offense had a complete breakdown. The receivers continuously dropped passes from sophomore quarterback Drew Lock. A lack of communication seems prevalent in the offense. However, in their homecoming game against the Blue Raiders it was the defense that lacked their usual confidence. Defensive stars such as Michael Scherer and Terry Beckner injured their ACLs, forcing them out for the season. These injuries revealed some major problems in the defense, which allowed 529 yards in their absence. For the Tigers to have a chance to win, the defense needs to adjust to playing without two of their biggest stars and the offense needs to bring their performance in practice to the playing field.

The Missouri Tigers will be looking for redemption from their losing streak, while the Kentucky Wildcats will be searching for a victory in their road to a possible bowl game.