Missouri’s first taste of SEC football has been bitter. Kentucky says “Welcome to our world.”
The Tigers and Wildcats meet in Columbia Saturday. Not quite a marquee game but one thing is for sure: one of the teams will win its first league game. Missouri is 0-4 in the SEC and UK is 0-5.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel can sympathize with UK’s quarterback woes. His starter, James Franklin, is most likely out of action after suffering a sprained MCL. Freshman Corbin Berkstresser is the probable starter for Missouri. He has some experience, leading the Tigers to win over Arizona State earlier this season.
Saturday could mark the return of UK freshman quarterback Patrick Towles. UK head coach Joker Phillips says Towles is recovering from his high ankle sprain and practiced Wednesday. UK’s other freshman quarterback Jalen Whitlow is expected to split time with Towles Saturday. All this despite a solid effort from UK senior quarterback Morgan Newton last weekend in that 29-24 near-upset of 13th-ranked Georgia. Newton threw a touchdown and ran another in. Phillips says Newton could run some red zone plays Saturday.
Newton split time with Whitlow in that Georgia game and then replaced him when Whitlow was sidelined with a migraine.
Yes, the obvious joke is that UK’s season is enough to give anyone a crippling headache, but the Wildcats are trying to remain positive, despite the fact they’ll go a third straight year with a losing record and the second straight without a post-season appearance. It’s that time of year where we start talking about “playing for next year.”
“At times, they’re getting worked over but they’re also getting a lot of work,” Phillips said of the younger players who have seen a lot of time this season. “It’s helping them now and also [helping for] the future.”
The immediate future for UK: at Missouri, a home game against Vanderbilt (3-4) and Samford (5-3, 3-3 in Southern Conference) and the season wraps up at Tennessee (3-4).
Saturday’s game against Missouri is at noon and will be televised on ESPNU.
Photo courtesy: UKAthletics.com