As Missouri prepares to host South Carolina on Saturday, the Tigers share a common thread with the Gamecocks: An inexperienced defense.
While we want to see Missouri play the perfectly balanced offensive and defensive game, it isn’t likely to happen this weekend, and it probably won’t happen this season.
Missouri’s defense will improve as the season progresses, but it will also improve enough for the Tigers to take victory from the jaws of defeat on Saturday, in what will be another high scoring affair, but not as high scoring as last week’s game.
Enough about the defense, though. Missouri’s offense will pull through enough for the next two games to at least take the Tigers to a record of 3-0, which is a better start than Missouri had a year ago.
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While we’ve all focused on Missouri’s weakness against non-conference opponent Missouri State, we seem to have lost sight on Missouri’s strengths on offense.
As mentioned earlier, Missouri and South Carolina share a common thread: An inexperienced defense. While Missouri allowed 43 points and 500 yards on defense, the ‘Cocks allowed 504 total yards on offense by NC State.
Neither Missouri or South Carolina has a defense that will stop the best offenses in the SEC, but they will match up almost equally on either side of the ball, in this game.
Missouri’s greatest strength will be its game on the ground. Last week, the Tigers gained 205 yards rushing, which was primarily on the legs of running back Damarea Crockett, but let’s not forget that the Tigers have three more capable backs to line-up behind Lock, in Ish Witter, Nate Strong, and Larry Rountree.
In last week’s performance, Rountree offered another spark to the offense, which surprised many Missouri fans. Against South Carolina, the Tigers’ running game will be the key to wearing down the Gamecocks’ defenders before halftime.
Last, but certainly not least, the Missouri offense has more experience returning this year than South Carolina has, especially at quarterback. While I think South Carolina’s Jake Bentley will be a top quarterback in the SEC in the next year or two, I don’t think he’s better than Lock, right now.