The road woes continued and were only magnified Saturday night for the Missouri football team.
With a 29-7 loss at Kentucky, the Tigers remain winless away from home this season, with road losses to Wyoming, Vanderbilt and the Wildcats. That's a far different story than at home, where Missouri (5-3) has yet to lose.
Making matters worse is the fact MU has been favored by double digits going into all three of its road contests. In those losses, the Tigers were outscored 87-52 combined.
The Tigers have a bye next Saturday before going on the road again to face No. 10 Georgia on Nov. 9.
“There are ways that you develop real confidence, and for whatever reason, when things didn't go really our way, I don't see the same group yet,” Odom said of his team transferring its success at home to the road. “I've got to find answers for that."
When it comes to playing Kentucky, home or away has mattered little the past five seasons. The Wildcats have won five straight in the series.
After the loss Saturday night, linebacker Nick Bolton said he can’t really sense why anything would be different on the road.
“We just have to play better for a longer period of time for four quarters, and we just haven’t done that at this point,” said Bolton, who recorded 12 tackles in the defeat. “I thought we came back here (after the loss to Vanderbilt last weekend) and executed well in practices. We just have to find ways to get wins on the road and play together as a unit and as a team.”
Safety Tyree Gillespie sat in the locker room in the first half after serving a suspension for a targeting penalty during the second half of last week's game. Gillespie recorded his first career forced fumble in the third quarter after being inserted into the lineup.
His absence from the defense before halftime made a noticeable impact, especially as Kentucky scored 22 of its points in the second quarter.
“We just need to go out there and have fun playing football and execute,” Gillespie said. “The confidence is still high and I believe in my boys. We just have to run and hit, and we didn’t do that in the first half.”
Gillespie said it was tough watching the game in the locker room before the break.
“It was difficult,” Gillespie said. “I thought we did a better job in the second half. It’s football — people are going to score and people are going to miss tackles — we just need to continue to hit and pick it up.”
Trailing 22-0 at the half, Missouri came out and scored in the third quarter on a 74-yard pass from quarterback Kelly Bryant to running back Tyler Badie.
But that proved to be Bryant’s last series of the game, as Odom pulled him for backup Taylor Powell due to injury concerns. Bryant suffered a mild hamstring injury in the second quarter after scrambling out of the pocket and appeared to feel lingering effects the rest of his outing.
After Kentucky punter Max Duffy ran for a first down early in the fourth, Lynn Bowden Jr. rushed 33 yards for its final touchdown, all but putting the game out of reach.
Missouri safety Joshuah Bledsoe, who recovered the fumble Gillespie forced, said every member of the team is accountable for turning things around.
Although blame could be pinned on the ineffective offense, Bledsoe said the defense is just as much on the hook for the result.
“We just have to keep fighting,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what happens on the other side of the ball. We have to keep going because if they don’t score, they don’t win.”
Odom’s opening statement pic.twitter.com/LV9PpayY0m
— Eric Blum (@ByEricBlum) October 27, 2019