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Missouri falls to 1-4 with 40-34 loss to Kentucky

The Tigers were better, there’s no question about that. Just not good enough.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri is back to being the team that outgains teams but figures out how to lose. That’s technically progress after the last couple of games, but it’s no less frustrating. The Tigers outgained host Kentucky, 568-486, on Saturday night in Lexington, but blown opportunities and a couple of awful field goal snaps did the Tigers in all the same.

It’s really, really hard to win when you forget how.

There was no questioning the Tigers’ effort in this one. The individual contributions were stellar:

  • Drew Lock completed 22 of 42 passes for 355 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks.
  • Ish Witter and Damarea Crockett rushed 29 times for 213 yards, and Witter caught three passes for 24 yards as well.
  • Emanuel Hall, starting in replacement of the dismissed Dimetrios Mason, caught four passes for 129 yards and a touchdown.
  • J’Mon Moore and Johnathon Johnson added 13 catches and 183 yards
  • Terez Hall made 10 solo tackles, two assists, and 2.5 tackles for loss and nearly picked off a pass late in the first half.

But Kentucky made plays, too. Stephen Johnson threw for 298 yards, Benny Snell Jr. rushed for 117, and Garrett Johnson caught seven balls for 111. Though the Tigers ended up showing well, they had to fall behind 13-0 before they could get started.

While close-game records tend to even out over time, there’s no questioning that Kentucky’s on a nice close-game roll at the moment. They made the little plays necessary, mainly in special teams. And they got help.

Kentucky’s Austin MacGinnis made four of four field goals, while Missouri’s Tucker McCann twice fell victim to bad snaps and poor timing. He missed a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter when a James Workman III was a little off and threw off the timing. And he had a fourth-quarter attempt blocked because of a really bad snap.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats recovered both of the game’s fumbles (Missouri has now fumbled nine times and lost a hilariously unlucky eight of them), and let’s just say they got the benefit of both some iffy clock management from Missouri in the last minute and some downright horrendous ball management from the officials.

A Kentucky player knocked the ball away as the clock was running out, and the official couldn’t have sauntered any slower in gathering it. (And yes, Missouri’s failure to get out of bounds kick-started that ridiculousness.)

Two missed field goals, two lost fumbles, and 10 seconds lost for no good reason in a six-point loss. Sigh.