Grades from the Missouri Tigers’ football loss at Kentucky and looking ahead to SEMO

The grades are in from Missouri’s 35-28 loss at Kentucky on Saturday night.


Fumble!: Kentucky was having its way with the Tigers throughout most of the first half. Leading 21-7, the Wildcats threatened to blow the game open when running back Chris Rodriguez barreled toward the end zone. But at the 2, Missouri’s Jaylon Carlies got his helmet on the ball, creating a fumble that teammate Chad Bailey recovered for a touchback. The play changed the game’s momentum.


Offense: B. Missouri had trouble establishing Tyler Badie and the running game early and that helped Kentucky climb to a two-touchdown lead. But in comeback mode, quarterback Connor Bazelak was very good. He completed 34 of 51 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns. The Missouri scoring drives went 75 or 80 yards and the Tigers finished with 398 total yards. Two of Daniel Parker’s three receptions went for scores with Badie and Keke Chism also getting touchdowns. Bazelak was gimpy on the final possession but declared himself fit in a postgame interview.

Defense: D. For the second straight game, Missouri’s defense came up with big plays, the fumble recovery and Carlies’ first-half interception, but there was no answer for Rodriguez, who finished with 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson. The Tigers got pushed around up front as Kentucky rushed for 340 yards and piled up 519 yards of total offense.

Special teams: A. Punter Grant McKinniss, competing against his former team, put four of five boots inside the 20. All of Sean Koetting’s kickoffs went into the end zone for touchbacks. Special teams also turned in one of the game’s biggest plays. Blaze Alldredge gave Missouri a final possession with a chance to at least tie the game when he came up the middle and blocked a field-goal attempt in the final two minutes. The Tigers picked up one first down but the drive stalled, sealing the outcome.


The Tigers meet Southeast Missouri State on Saturday at Faurot Field for an 11 a.m. kickoff. The game is on the SEC Network on the SEC+ channel. SEMO is 0-2 after meeting two ranked FCS opponents.