The Kentucky Wildcats were pounded 48-17 by the Missouri Tigers on Saturday. Coming into the game, Missouri figured to have a big advantage in talent and experience, but it was early mistakes by the Wildcats that opened the game up for the Tigers.
Things started off well for Kentucky, as the Wildcats forced Missouri to punt on its first series. The Wildcats then marched 76 yards, inside the Missouri 10 yard line before settling for a field goal.
That was the first of a series of mistakes that would allow Missouri to take control of the game. If Kentucky had been able to score a touchdown, they could have set a tone and let Missouri know that they were in for a fight. Instead, on this day, they settled for a Joe Mansour field goal from 21 yards out.
Missouri also punted on its second series of the game, but Kentucky could do nothing with the possession. And when Landon Foster got off a 13-yard punt, the entire tone of the game changed.
Missouri needed just 51 seconds to go 39 yards, concluding with an eight-yard scoring pass from Maty Mauk to Dorial Green-Beckham, and giving Missouri a lead they would never give up.
On Kentucky’s next possession, things got worse. The Wildcats were forced to punt, and this time, Foster’s punt was blocked. This time, it took Missouri only one play to score, when Henry Josey scored from four yards out to make it 14-3.
Even when it appeared that Kentucky had done something good, it didn’t work. In the second half, Kentucky punted and Missouri fumbled on the return, with the Wildcats scoring inside the Missouri 10 yard line. But Kentucky was called for an illegal formation, negating the turnover.
These are the types of mistakes that Mark Stoops is trying to correct as he attempts to build the Kentucky program. While the Wildcats continue to play hard in each game, they don’t always play smart. And if this program is going to turn around, those are the types of mistakes that the Big Blue must fix.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.