The Missouri Tigers offense found its footing in the 23-10 victory over the then-No. 25 South Carolina Gamecocks.
Mizzou totaled 367 total yards on offense, including 143 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers did not commit a turnover, and the offensive line stepped up in a big way against the South Carolina pass-rush, allowing only one sack.
Now, at 4-4 (2-3 SEC), Mizzou welcomes the Kentucky Wildcats to town. A victory would tighten the grip that the Tigers have on third place in the SEC East standings, sending Kentucky into the bottom third of the standings.
Facing another opportunity at an upset, Mizzou’s offense is preparing to face Kentucky. Brady Cook and Barrett Banister spoke to the media about their preparation, while recapping last week’s victory.
Kentucky poses a rivalry, similar to Arkansas
Saturday’s game against Kentucky will not only pit two of the SEC East’s top-three teams against each other, but it will add to the rivalry that has been the Wildcats and Tigers.
The Last Five Years:
- 35-28 Kentucky (2021)
- 20-10 Missouri (2020)
- 29-7 Kentucky (2019)
- 15-14 Kentucky (2018)
- 40-34 Kentucky (2017)
Over these past five years, Kentucky holds a 4-1 record over Missouri with three of those victories coming by one possession. Each matchup featured physicality and a couple stirred some controversy.
“I think back (to) 2017, there was a (play) where J’Mon (Moore) got the ball hit out of his hand, 2018 was the untimed down play, 2019 was just a rain game and we didn’t play well,” Banister said. “The, 2020 (was) a physical game and 2021, (a) one possession game.”
Throughout each contest, despite the records, Missouri and Kentucky have battled. The intensity has brought comparisons to the Arkansas rivalry game.
“Yeah, I could see that,” Cook said when asked about the comparisons. “It’s always a tight game between these guys.”
The Tigers will have an opportunity to right the ship Saturday and pick up their second victory in the series since 2020, if their offense can continue the success.
Red Zone offense remains a cause for concern
Although the Tigers finished 4-5 on red zone attempts against South Carolina, only two of those resulted in touchdowns.
The Tigers now rank a disappointing 125th out of 131 FBS programs in red zone efficiency, sitting at an uninspiring 71%. The lack of success within the opponents’ 20-yard-line continues to be an area of concern for Mizzou.
“Obviously, red zone was still not very good,” Cook said. “We just have to score more touchdowns.”
Perhaps the most glaring missed opportunity on Saturday followed a fumble recovery in the red zone. Despite starting at the South Carolina 10-yard-line, the Tigers failed to put any points on the board after a missed chip-shot field goal from Harrison Mevis.
“It can’t happen and that’s on all of us,” Banister said. “We got to be able to run the ball better, we got to be able to pass the ball better and we got to punch it in.”
Banister nearing end of storied Mizzou career
Banister eclipsed the 1,000 receiving yard mark in the South Carolina game, finishing with two receptions for 28 yards.
“It’s kind of wild honestly,” Banister said. “I mean, you get to kind of the sunset, tail end, of your career and you look back on the stuff I’ve been lucky enough to do. I’ve had a lot of really good people around me ... but I’ll probably think about that a little more two months from now.”
The milestone occurred in what Banister called “one of his favorite places” to play—Williams-Brice Stadium. Outside of a possible bowl game, Banister will now only have one last road game at Neyland Stadium when the Tigers face the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers.
The accolades continue to pile on for the fifth-year wide receiver, who earned a nomination to the semifinalist list for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is known as college football’s premier award for community service.
This nomination comes on the back of a nomination onto the semifinalist list for the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Campbell Trophy, which is given to the country’s premier scholar-athlete.
These nominations come after Banister became the third Tiger ever to record a reception in five consecutive seasons with his three-catch performance against Louisiana Tech in week one.
The career of one of Mizzou’s most beloved and tenured players is quickly coming to an end, but his constant presence in the stat sheet as well as his work throughout the Columbia-area is making for quite the finale.