Saturday, September 15 -
Mizzou will face off against Arizona State on Saturday looking to get back on pace after falling to Georgia last week. The Tigers will also be seeking revenge after last season’s heartbreaking loss to the Sun Devils in Tempe.
Many Mizzou fans remember that game hinging on the foot of Grant Ressel, who missed a potential game-winning field goal as time expired. The Tigers would eventually fall in overtime, 37-30.
So how does Missouri prevent a horrifying repeat of last season?
For starters, Mizzou can’t afford to let last week’s poor finish snowball into a slow start. The Tigers fell behind by 14 in last year’s 4th quarter and had to play catch up ball.
While coach Gary Pinkel’s squad was able to put themselves in a position to win, the long climb back took a toll when the game went into overtime.
Mizzou got into trouble last week against Georgia by not having any threat of a running game in the second half. The predictable offensive scheme allowed the Bulldogs’ defensive line to pin its ears back and harass quarterback James Franklin.
For the defense to have a successful day, Mizzou defensive coordinator Dave Steckel will have to place an emphasis on stopping Arizona State’s No. 23 rushing attack led by halfback Cameron Marshall. It’s a task the Tigers will be forced to do without standout linebacker Zaviar Gooden.
Steckel will also have to try and limit the explosiveness of ASU receiver Chris Coyle, who already has 18 catches for 269 yards this season.
Offensively, Ned Yost must do a better job of mixing up the running game and the passing game. He has a tendency of leaning heavily towards either running the ball or passing the ball.
While the box score would indicate that Mizzou’s offense was very balanced in last week’s affair (41 passes and 39 runs), anybody watching the game noticed that it simply wasn’t the case.
The Tigers started off with runs on five of the first six plays then went almost exclusively airborne from the middle of the 2nd quarter through the beginning of the 4th quarter before going back to the ground game. Better balance will be the key to Mizzou’s success Saturday evening.
On paper, this could be an exciting matchup that should end in a Mizzou victory. If the Tigers sleepwalk into this game after last week’s tough loss, things could get a little trickier than expected. The showdown kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday at Faurot Field.