OPPONENT Q&A: Missouri Tigers

Thursday, September 22, 2022

OPPONENT Q&A: Missouri Tigers

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Missouri
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A turning point game for the Tigers... both of them.

This Saturday is going to a game that Auburn fans may look back on and view as a turning point in the program’s history, and not in a Pat Dye “ain’t a damn thing you can do but go back and lay ‘em on the line again and again” type of way.

Auburn and Missouri might be the two worst teams in the league, and a loss puts Bryan Harsin squarely in the crosshairs of the firing gun. Nevermind that, though, let’s learn about Missouri from Rock M Nation’s Sammy Stava.

Are y’all excited to get a road conference win?

Other than the upcoming South Carolina game, this is probably Mizzou’s best chance at an SEC road win this season. Due to Auburn’s issues going on right now, this is certainly a “winnable” game for Missouri, no matter how badly Mizzou has played recently. That doesn’t mean they’ll get it done though. Having said that, I have no idea what to expect.

Missouri and Auburn have only met once in the regular season since the SEC expansion, there’s just not a ton of crossover between these two teams. However, Mizzou has a bunch of Auburn alums as part of the coaching staff in Drinkwitz, Al Pogue, Charlie Harbison, Curtis Luper, Ryan Russell, and Erik Link. What’s your impression of Drinkwitz through his first couple of seasons?

Missouri has just been a .500 program recently after their back-to-back SEC East titles. Not really bad, but not really good either. Just good enough to make bowl games here and there. Drinkwitz is undergoing a rebuild right now and he’s had bowl eligible records in his first two years as a head coach, so that’s at least respectable. He is an also an elite recruiter, as he’s produced the best recruiting classes in Mizzou Football history including five-star WR Luther Burden, so the fanbase needs to be patient with this process. At some point the recruiting needs to translate to better seasons, but he needs to have 100% of his recruited roster before I can make full judgments. Next season is make or break.

What happened against Kansas State?

Man, I don’t know. They just weren’t ready. Unprepared. QB Brady Cook was making his third career start on the road against a Power Five opponent, and it was a recipe for disaster. Just a game they need to totally forget about and move on, because I believe they are capable of playing a lot better football than that.

Auburn’s defense had trouble containing fast tailbacks last week, and the coverage has been suspect at times as well. Who does Missouri have that can exploit those deficiencies?

Missouri has some good running back depth led by Stanford running back transfer Nathaniel Peat. The problem is, Mizzou’s offensive line is the biggest weakness on the team that our running backs can’t generate any consistency. For example, Missouri has allowed the most tackles for loss among any Power Five team (26).

Defensively, who does Auburn need to avoid when they’ve got the ball?

Missouri’s defense has been a bright spot to start the season. Each unit has a Power Five transfer that can make a difference. On the defensive line, watch out for Oklahoma State transfer Jayden Jernigan. Among the linebacker group, Florida transfer Ty’Ron Hopper just might be their best player on the team. Just a stud. And in the secondary, Clemson transfer Joseph Charleston has made some big plays. Their not perfect, but Mizzou’s defense has the depth and experience that can give Auburn troubles.

What’s your outlook for the entire season for Missouri?

Before the season, I pegged Missouri at a 7-5 record. After what happened at Kansas State, I don’t know what to expect and this season could go downhill. Having said that, there are still winnable games on this schedule. If Mizzou wants to salvage bowl eligibility this season, this is a must win game got them. This might be the first must-win of Eli Drinkwitz’s career.

Keys for this game and a prediction?

Keys to the game for Mizzou is to take care of the ball and find some sort of improvement within the offensive line. They also need to score first. If those things can happen, Missouri wins a weird one. I’ll say 23-20 Mizzou on a GW FG as time expires by Harrison Mevis.

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