Missouri’s 34-24 victory over Central Michigan in its season opener last Saturday was highlighted in part by the 9 sacks that the Tigers defense recorded in the game.

Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz was pleased with those numbers but acknowledged that his team had to bring extra rushers to get to the quarterback, something that could prove to be risky this Saturday in the Tigers’ SEC opener at Kentucky.

“We were able to get some pressure, but it was not typically through our front 4,” said Drinkwitz on Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference. “We were having to add on rushers, and that causes problems on your back end. … (Kentucky does) a good job of putting you in conflict.”

Leading the way for Missouri defense in the sack department was senior linebacker Blaze Alldredge, who transferred to the Tigers from Rice last spring.

The 6-2, 220-pounder had 3.5 sacks in the win to go along with 10 tackles and 6 tackles for loss.

In recruiting Alldredge, Drinkwitz said Wednesday that they told the former Owl that he would have the opportunity to fill the vacancy left by former Tigers star linebacker Nick Bolton, who was a second-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2021 NFL Draft.

“We knew we needed a transfer linebacker,” Drinkwitz said. “… As soon as we evaluated the tape, we knew he was somebody we wanted. … We were able to do that and we’re really glad we did. … We sold him on replacing Nick Bolton. I don’t know that we sold him on being Nick Bolton. He has to be Blaze Alldredge in our defense. … He’s doing a nice job of that so far.”