Date: Saturday, October 20th
Kickoff Time: 3:30pm CT
Location: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium (Columbia, MO)
Watch: SEC Network/WatchESPN
Line: Missouri -10
What more can you say? Memphis already matched their loss total from last year, and all three have been frustrating for different reasons. All the Tigers had to do is score once against UCF to win the game, but they couldn’t quite get that done. Now, they head to SEC territory to face another Tigers team. Will Memphis be up to the task?
It’s difficult to justify winning this game after last week, but I still like what Memphis can do against Missouri. The home team can score points, but their defense is suspect at best. That actually could describe both teams, but we’re talking about Missouri. Memphis might go away from Darrell Henderson more this week, but not because of anything their star back is doing. Missouri is allowing 300.7 passing yards per game, which could get Brady White and the receivers going early. Damonte Coxie could be poised for a big game against a pass defense, and any success will be welcomed by Henderson.
Memphis’ star has already eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark on the ground, and is the leading rusher in the country. Missouri’s front seven is tough and don’t let anyone push them around. The Tigers are allowing just 120.2 yards on the ground, so it might not be Henderson’s best game.
One big question I will be interested to have answered: will Missouri kick to Tony Pollard? There’s no doubt that the Tigers know about Pollard and his skill as a returner, but they might kick to him. Whether you call it arrogance or confidence, an SEC team might believe that they can cover Pollard. If they do decide to kick to him, let the fun begin. If not, it’s not anything new we haven’t seen this year.
Who are these other Tigers?
Well, there were many who thought Missouri would be a contender in the SEC East, but they’ve started the year 0-3 in SEC play. It seems that this team is still solid offensively, but can’t get their defense on the same page. That being said, their three losses have come to Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. Hardly something to be ashamed of, and probably tells us more about how tough their schedule has been.
Drew Lock will be the biggest name to remember for Missouri. He’s an NFL prospect that scouts will be watching all year, and has the ability to torch a secondary. Memphis has been strong in pass defense this year, but this will be a completely new test for them. Larry Roundtree III and Damarea Crockett will also present challenges running the ball. Can Memphis hang in a shootout? I think they can, but Missouri’s offense is so good that I don’t really want to see that.
Both teams can play offense, and both teams struggle on defense. That equation adds up to a shootout, right? Memphis may not want to entertain that idea, but that’s really the only way they know how to win. Last week’s disappointment will certainly motivate them, but it might not be enough to beat an SEC team. An upset here would be a huge turning point for this team.
Missouri 38 Memphis 30