Bowden, Cats need a passing attack v. Mizzou

Published 1:10 pm Thursday, October 24, 2019

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from watching Kentucky play football this year, it’s that this is not the same team from one short year ago.

Losing Josh Allen and Benny Snell seems to have hurt the Wildcats more than anticipated. What’s worse, not only did starting quarterback “Touchdown” Terry Wilson go down for the season with a knee injury, back-up quarterback Sawyer Smith also went down with compound injuries. Now, Kash Daniel has joined the growing list of injured Wildcats as well.

Kentucky has been relying on the athleticism and decision-making of standout Lynn Bowden to navigate them through the choppy waters they have found themselves in as of late. Bowden completed only 2-of-15 passes for 17 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions against Georgia last week.

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Although he was unable to move the ball through the air, Bowden was able to find success on the ground, totaling 99 yards on 17 carries.

However, it is obvious that Kentucky can’t rely on Bowden at the quarterback position to win games in the SEC this season. Although the Cats held off the mighty Bulldogs for one half, Georgia was able to punch in multiple touchdowns in the second half allowing them to secure a 21-point victory.

This week, Kentucky seems to have a much more manageable opponent in the Missouri Tigers. After falling to the Vanderbilt Commodores last week, Missouri exposed a few of their weaknesses that Kentucky will attempt to exploit.

The Tigers have shown flashes of an explosive offense behind the legs and arm of Clemson transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant. Missouri’s defense has been playing as well as most of the upper-tier teams in the NCAA this season, allowing only 270 yards-per-game, which ranks seventh in the nation for total yards allowed per game.

With Bowden one yard shy of back-to-back 100 yard rushing games starting from the quarterback position in the last two games, expect the Cats to run the ball — a lot. Without a pass-first quarterback as an option, Kentucky may end up being too one dimensional on offense, especially with Missouri’s defense playing as well as they have been.

If, somehow, the Cats are able to find success through the air, they may very well be able to pull an upset of Missouri. The most beneficial aspect of winning the game against the Tigers is that Kentucky would be going into their second bye week of the season with a victory.

This season is the first year that the NCAA has had two bye weeks in the same season. Teams like Kentucky, who are suffering with a lot of injuries at crucial positions, will greatly benefit from this new system. Although the Cats won’t be getting Terry Wilson back, it may provide Troy transfer quarterback Sawyer Smith the time he needs to get healthy and get back under center.

If Kentucky is able to defeat Missouri, it would put them at 4-4 (2-4) on the season. However, with the Missouri defense giving up just under 114 yards-per-game on the ground, it looks like the Cats are in for a very long day. Kentucky will absolutely have to find a way to move the ball through the air, or they will be going into the bye week with another loss in SEC play.