On a cold and windy day in COMO, the Missouri Tigers played host to fellow Southeastern Conference East rival the Kentucky Wildcats in what was largely a defensive battle until the final quarter. While the Tigers staged a late surge to keep the game close, Kentucky ultimately prevailed by the score of 21-17. Several players from both teams are prospects for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the following three stood out for their play on Saturday.
Any NFL Draftnik has heard about presumed first-round pick Wildcat quarterback Will Levis who is continuing to impress in his senior season. The early goings of Saturday’s contest were not his finest moments but when the game was on the line and Kentucky needed to convert third downs, Levis’ arm proved invaluable. For the afternoon, the fifth-year senior completed 68% of his passes and threw three touchdowns while converting several key third downs through the air to help ensure the Kentucky victory.
With less-than-ideal weather for much of the game, the Wildcats relied on 2021 First-Team All-SEC running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. to the tune of 29 carries for 112 yards – his third 100-yard effort in only five games this season. Standing 5-11, 224-pounds, Rodriguez is a powerful rusher with nifty feet who has a penchant for wearing down a defense. The 2022 Team Captain and fifth-year senior accounted for nearly half of UK’s total yards on the day while outrushing the entire Tigers team.
When evaluating Missouri’s kickoff team, 6-5, 264-pound senior defensive end DJ Coleman stands out amongst the cover team by a considerable margin. The Atlanta native and former Jacksonville State Gamecock transferred to Mizzou for his final season of eligibility and has been a steady force as part of a defensive rotation that features several NFL prospects. Already this season, Coleman has set a new career-high with 3.5 sacks – all coming in the past four weeks and including 0.5 sacks against Levis on Saturday. The former FCS All-American led all Tiger defenders with a season-high nine total tackles in the game, including the half a sack and two tackles for loss.