Willie Springer

The Missouri Tigers (2-2, 0-1) face the #20 Kansas State Wildcats (4-0, 1-0) making this the third ranked team they face on the road over their past 4 games. The 2:30pm kickoff will mark the 97th all-time meeting between the programs and the 23rd at Bill Snyder Family Stadium since opening in 1968. Mizzou has won five straight over the Wildcats including a 38-28 victory last season in Columbia.

Looking at the Tigers:

Nearly two weeks ago at Oklahoma, for a quarter, the Tigers look to be playing their best football of the 2011 season. They may have blown out Western Illinois 69-0, but bettering the #1 team in the country was much more impressive, even if it was for a short time. The facts were that the Tigers did not adjust and got outplayed for the last three quarters. The Sooners, by not being dominant and just controlling the game, lost their #1 ranking. Now, Mizzou has to visit another ranked team before hosting a beatable Iowa State for the Homecoming Centennial.

If the Tigers can show the offensive balance they had against Oklahoma with 291 pass yards and 241 rush yards, they will have a good shot to beat a ranked team away from Columbia for the first time since 2009 when they won 52-42 over the #20 Illinois Fighting Illini. QB James Franklin was especially impressive with 394 total yards leading the Tigers offense to 532 total yards, the most ever for a Mizzou team in Norman, OK. Franklin also got a lot of help from TB Henry Josey, and what a job he’s done stepping in for all the injured. Josey’s 133 rush yards two weeks ago puts his Big 12 leading average at 133.25 yards per game. Franklin and Josey will have a challenge against the K-State rush defense, which is among the best in the country.

The Mizzou defense, which has allowed 87.0 rush yards per game, is also among the best in the nation at stopping the run. The Wildcats have one of the best rushing offenses in the nation, yet Missouri has only given up one rush of twenty-plus yards. Their past defense needs to improve and not get burned through the air like they did against Oklahoma for 448 yards plus Arizona State for 388 yards. Would not expect K-State to pass much.

Looking at the Wildcats:

The Wildcats got back into the Top 25 rankings after taking down the Baylor Bears last week in Manhattan. Down 35-26 at the end of the third quarter, QB Collin Klein’s rushing plus an interception from Bears’ QB Robert Griffin III to LB Arthur Brown with 5:26 left to play gave the Wildcats plenty of time to secure their second straight 4-0 start, the first time the program has done that since 2002 and 2003.

Bill Snyder’s Wildcats are all about running the ball. They have averaged 48.25 attempts plus 217.25 rush yards per game. Eastern Kentucky has been the only team to keep the Wildcats under 200 yards with 175 rush yards in the 10-7 K-State win on September 3. Their season-high 146 pass yards was last week against Baylor, and have only averaged 125.67 pass yards in the other 3 games.

It will be key for the Tigers to run the ball well themselves over the entire game. That will be tough against the Wildcats defense that has only average 24:41 minutes per game on the field. They do not get a lot of sacks or create many turnovers, but usually do not spend much time on the field since their offense is eating up the clock with the run game and opponents have only been able to convert 29% of third down conversions.

Staff picks:

Tom Ackerman: 28-24, MU

Ron Jacober: 28-24, MU

Scott Warmann: 25-24, KSU

Willie Springer: 27-14, MU

Copyright KMOX Radio


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