Following a big overtime win last weekend, the Missouri Tigers (4-4, 2-3) are hoping to put together their first win streak of the season if they can knock off the Baylor Bears (4-3, 1-3). The Saturday evening 6:00pm kickoff at Floyd Casey Stadium will mark the 14th all-time meeting between these programs with the Tigers owning a 10-3 advantage, including a 4-1 record when playing at Waco. However, Baylor won the last meeting, a 40-32 victory in 2009 at Columbia.
Looking at the Tigers:
The season appeared lost entering the fourth quarter down 11 points in College Station last Saturday afternoon, yet the Tigers dug in and clawed their way back to shock the now unranked Texas A&M Aggies. Now, if they can beat the Bears down in Waco and other dominoes fall into place within the Big 12, the Tigers could find themselves in a third-place tie before they host the Texas Longhorns.
Last Saturday also marked the fourth time the Tigers were able to score 30 or more point in a game this season. They will probably have to exceed that mark on Saturday night if they plan on winning since all the games between the Tigers and Bears in Waco average 63.4 combined points per game. Points in general are good, but Big 12 leading rusher Henry Josey (who is 561 yards shy of Devin West’s single-season rush record) and James Franklin will have to make sure their offense get touchdowns rather than field goals this weekend since they may be without Grant Ressel once more. Plus, wide receiver Jerrell Jackson and center Travis Ruth are still questionable.
Going up against another team that is amongst the nation’s elite in offense, the Mizzou defense will once again have to limit the damage for four quarters. If they can force the takeaways, make them attempt field goals, and prevent big plays, then they should be in fine shape. Baylor averages 560.00 yards of offense per game, but sometimes has trouble in the red zone. The Bears do not allow a lot of sacks, yet that is mostly due to QB Robert Griffin’s ability to avoid pass rushers and quickly get rid of the ball.
Looking at the Bears:
Taking down Baylor will be no easy task as the Bears are hungry for a win after losing two straight. They began the season winning four out of five including a classic 50-48 shootout with TCU in early September, but two blowout losses to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State has put them back in the cellar of the Big 12 where they have been for the most part since the conference began in 1996. This weekend also is Baylor’s 80th Homecoming Game marking the 102nd anniversary of the first Homecoming in 1909. Like others, Baylor claims they invented the celebration. The Bears are 36-39-4 in Homecoming contests, including a 4-11 record in the Big 12 era.
The Baylor offense is very talented offense averaging 41.6 points, 356.3 pass yards, and 203.7 rush yards per game. They have only scored less than 25 points once this season, and that was last weekend against the #3 Cowboys. They would have scored more in the game, but 6 turnovers (3 fumbles, 2 interceptions, and one on downs) inside OSU territory eventually led to the 59-24 beating. The key to limiting their success is not letting ‘RG3’ (Robert Griffin III) go wild. His favorite target is Kendall Wright who is among conference leaders with 66 receptions, 874 receiving yards, and 9 touchdowns.
Baylor’s defense needs their offense to score points. Since they allow 450.29 yards and 36.43 points per game, including 114 total points over the past 2 games. At times, they can be overly aggressive and allow a big play. They can be stingy against the run, yet not many teams have had success slowing down Henry Josey. If the Bears force some turnovers, they will hold a significant advantage with the way their offense moves the ball. Mizzou can really dictate the game if they are able to run the ball with success.
Tom Ackerman (3-1): 40-34, MU
Ron Jacober: (3-1): 31-21, MU
Scott Warmann (5-1): 38-24, BU
Willie Springer (4-3): 45-31, MU
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