MU running back Ish Witter ran for a season-high 139 yards against Kentucky on Saturday. David Stephenson The Associated Press
MU running back Ish Witter ran for a season-high 139 yards against Kentucky on Saturday. David Stephenson The Associated Press

University of Missouri

Kentucky 40, Mizzou 34: Key moments, players and grades

By Aaron Reiss

areiss@kcstar.com

October 08, 2017 01:16 AM

UPDATED October 08, 2017 01:18 AM

Keys to the game

Key players

Missouri: Running back Ish Witter ran for a season-high 139 yards, in part because of a package Missouri frequently used that utilized tight ends and offensive lineman Alec Abeln as fullbacks who sometimes motioned to the offensive line. Kentucky had the country’s No. 3 rushing defense coming into the game, and the Tigers ran for 213 yards, the most the Wildcats have allowed this season.

Kentucky: Kicker Austin MacGinnis converted all four of his field-goal attempts, including a 53-yarder that gave the Wildcats the lead for good.

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access.

Key moment

This game was close until the end, but Missouri only got one chance at the end zone after referees took what Missouri believed to be too much time setting the ball down for the next play. J’Mon Moore hit the ground at the Kentucky 27-yard line with 21 seconds remaining. It appeared a Kentucky player knocked the ball out of Moore’s hands, and by the time another referee placed the ball at the 28-yard line for the Tigers, only 6 seconds remained. After Drew Lock spiked the ball, 3 seconds remained. So Mizzou only had one chance at getting the game-tying touchdown, and the Tigers didn’t convert.

The grades

Offense

B

After scoring three touchdowns combined in the team’s last three games, the Tigers reached the end zone four times Saturday. Lock completed passes for 48, 58, 50 and 75 yards, and Mizzou didn’t seem to miss Dimetrios Mason, the team’s third-leading receiver when Barry Odom dismissed him from the program during the bye week. But the Tigers couldn’t put away the game when faced with 1:48 remaining, starting a drive at their own 25 down six points.

Emanuel Hall speaks to his big performance in loss to Kentucky

Wide receiver Emanuel Hall took the place of Dimetrios Mason -- after Mason was kicked off Missouri football team; Hall responded with 129 receiving yards in loss at Kentucky on Oct. 7, 2017.

Aaron Reiss The Kansas City Star

Defense

C

Missouri continues to miss tackles. Kentucky running back Benny Snell went almost untouched during a 71-yard touchdown run, and Garrett Johnson weaved around the defense before speeding past it for a 64-yard receiving touchdown. Mizzou did hold Kentucky to two field goals after the Wildcats reached the red zone in two consecutive first-half drives, but one of those instances was more the fault of the Wildcats, who cost themselves a Snell touchdown because of an illegal formation penalty.

Special teams

C+

Sophomore kicker Tucker McCann sank punter Corey Fatony’s grade. McCann attempted four field goals Saturday. He missed the first from 38 yards and had his final attempt, from 45 yards, blocked after a high snap.