It's kind of funny to step back and take a look at Missouri's current series records with its SEC East rivals.
- Tennessee (3-2 overall, 3-2 since the SEC move)
- South Carolina (4-3, 2-3)
- Vanderbilt (3-3-1, 3-2)
- Florida (3-3, 2-3)
- Kentucky (3-4, 3-2)
- Georgia (1-5, 1-4)
Mizzou is at or very close to .500 against five of six foes, but the Tigers have better all-time records against Tennessee, South Carolina, and Florida (combined: 18 SEC title game appearances) than they do against Kentucky (none). Not necessarily the way that's supposed to work.
Mizzou's two meetings with Kentucky before the move to the SEC were ill-timed. They hosted the Wildcats in 1965 and visited Lexington in 1968, and in both cacses, the matchups were season openers. This was during the Charley Bradshaw era; Bradshaw was a member of the Bear Bryant coaching tree, and his old-school discipline and conditioning techniques meant that his teams were usually pretty good in September and completely out of steam by November. The 1965 team reached sixth in the nation early in the year but finished 6-4. The 1968 team started 2-2, then lost five of six to finish.
Kentucky won 7-0 in Columbia and 12-6 in Lexington, meaning the Tigers had to wait until 2012 to log their first win over the Wildcats. That game was memorable mostly for an injured James Franklin coming off of the bench to mainly hand the ball off after starting quarterback Corbin Berkstresser had mostly lost the plot. Franklin went 6-for-9 for all of 16 yards, but his presence steadied the Tigers enough for them to ease to a 33-10 win.
The next year, however, was memorable for more exciting reasons.
We'll all remember where we were the day DGB realized he's 6'6, 225, with ridiculous ups and ball skills.— ROCK M NATION (@RockMNation) November 9, 2013
Let’s set the table.
When Mizzou went to Lexington in 2013, the Tigers were ninth in the country and two weeks removed from the gut-wrenching 27-24 home loss to South Carolina. They had rebounded with an easy 31-3 pummeling of Tennessee, but this was Maty Mauk’s first official road trip as the team’s starting quarterback. (Franklin had gotten hurt a month earlier and was due to return before Missouri’s trip to Ole Miss the next week.)
Kentucky wasn’t a good team — the Wildcats would finish 2-10 with wins over only winless Miami (Ohio) and FCS Alabama State. Still, this was a nerve wracking road trip because, well, it was a road trip, and Missouri had no margin for error in the SEC East race.
The game started about as poorly as possible: Mizzou punted, Kentucky drove for a field goal, and Marcus Murphy fumbled the ensuing kickoff return near midfield. Mizzou held, and though the Tigers would quickly punt again, a 35-yard pass from Maty Mauk to Dorial Green-Beckham flipped the field. Once Kentucky punted, a 27-yard Murphy run set up an eight-yard DGB touchdown catch. 7-3, Mizzou.
The first quarter was labor-intensive; the second was nearly perfect. Levi Copelin blocked a Landon Foster punt on the first play of the period, and Henry Josey scored to make it 14-3 on the next snap. Kentucky punted again, and DGB scored again. Kentucky punted again, and Josey scored again. Down 3-0 after about 13 minutes, Mizzou went into halftime up 28-3.
But let’s back up. “DGB scored” doesn’t adequately describe what he was actually doing to the Kentucky defense.
High-pointing a lob. Dragging would-be tacklers for a first down. Posting up in traffic. Literally reaching around a defender on an underthrown ball. Faking a fade and scoring on an easy slant route. This was the entire collection of what a big, blue-chip receiver is supposed to do.
Kentucky scored to start the second half, then forced a quick three-and-out, but the Wildcats' Raymond Sanders fumbled at the end of a long reception, and Darvin Ruise recovered. Two plays later, Green-Beckham scored his third touchdown to make it 35-10. UK scored again, but Mizzou was perfectly willing to engage in a track meet at this point. DGB's fourth TD made it 41-17, and after another UK punt, Josey put a capper on the affair with an 86-yard scamper.
Josey finished with 135 rushing and receiving yards and three touchdowns, and he was completely overshadowed by DGB's ridiculous four-touchdown day.
Mizzou would clinch the SEC East title with wins over ranked Ole Miss and Texas A&M teams, but a superhuman individual effort made this game even more memorable than the one against a much better Rebel squad the next week.