By LARRY VAUGHT
If you listen to Missouri coach Barry Odom, it’s hard to figure out how his team is a 7-point favorite over Kentucky in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference game.
“We’ve got a great Kentucky team coming in on Saturday. They’re 6-1 for a reason. They run the ball extremely well, they play great defense, and they’re very well coached,” Odom, who is friends with Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, said.
“Mark has done a good of job as anybody could do with the time he’s been given to build that program. He’s got his stamp all over it. He’s got a team that’s playing as good of football as anybody in the country.”
Kentucky is ranked 12th and has not allowed over 20 points in any game this season. It also has one of the nation’s best running backs in Benny Snell. Kentucky’s rushing offense ranks third in the conference and No. 22 in the country.
“I think each week you go into the things that the other team does really well and with Kentucky, obviously both of their tailbacks find ways to attack you,” Odom said. “Every week there’s a different tweak in what they do to have success.
“Benny is as good as there is in the country. He’s a strong, powerful guy that when it looks like there’s not anything there and you turn around and he’s broken off a way to get 20 yards.”
Kentucky’s defense ranks second in the SEC and 13th in the country. The Cats rank second nationally in points allowed per game with 12.6.
“Just looking down statistically, rushing defense in our league they’re second, total defense they’re second and scoring defense they’re No. 1. They do a great job on being aggressive and almost suffocating in coverage,” Odom said.
“They’re an older group and it looks like they’ve played together and it shows up in the way that they play. They’re as good of a defense as we’ve seen.”