Mizzou football to play ranked FCS opponent, but one looking to improve.
The Mizzou football team did quite well last weekend against West Virginia.
After an opening week loss at Wyoming, the Tigers got back in their groove and thumped the Mountaineers from the start. This week, Mizzou will look to do the same.
The Mizzou football team welcomes in Southeast Missouri State, an in-state game that looks likely to favor the home team.
Mizzou is playing a ranked team from the FCS, coming in at No. 20 in the coaches poll, but SEMO fell last week to fellow ranked opponent Montana State by giving up 28 third-quarter points. Mizzou is likely to do plenty of damage if the Bobcats could achieve that. But that’s what this week is about.
Here’s a look at SEMO:
This is the fourth meeting between the two schools, and Missouri has won all three of the prior contests. And they weren’t close.
Mizzou has outscored SEMO 106-6, including a 34-3 drubbing in 2015, the last time they played. SEMO has yet to score a touchdown in this series, but if the Redhawks want to break that trend, it looks like it will come from the rushing game.
On offense, SEMO is led by two runners in Geno Hess and Mark Robinson. Hess leads the team with 83.5 yards a game with an average of 6.4 yards a carry. Robinson is right behind him with 52 yards a game at a rate of 4.3 yards per carry.
Quarterback Daniel Santacaterina tries to beat teams through the air, but he can run it if needed. Santacaterina has two rushing scores to go with two passing.
When he throws the ball, the redshirt senior is looking for Kristian Wilkerson, who leads the team with 12 catches in two games and a pair of TDs.
SEMO hasn’t done a great job of causing turnovers, which is a plus for Mizzou. The Tigers gave the ball up three times so far this year, all in Week 1. SEMO’s Marcus Lucas is the only player with a turnover for the Redhawks, collecting an interception in their first game.
The Redhawks have given up 26 points and 38 points in each of their two outings. Mizzou should be able to easily top both of those totals as the teams meet at Faurot Field. If SEMO is going to step up, most of the leadership will come from senior inside linebacker Zach Hall. The Ohio Valley preseason Defensive Player of the Year and a preseason All-American selection already has 29 tackles on the year, including 14 solo. He’ll need some help as Mizzou will look to run down the middle of the SEMO 3-4 defense.
For Missouri, this will be a good time for a player to stand out, just as Nick Bolton did in last week’s game. Perhaps a young safety or pass rusher can make a statement as the defense looks to make a jump week to week.
Saturday’s game will be a good opportunity for Mizzou to establish more of a run game for down the road. This will give the Tigers plenty of chances to go deep downfield behind Kelly Bryant, especially if he gets more comfortable as the season continues. His familiarity with the throws on 20-yards plus could go a long with if the Tigers establish that ground game. SEMO will be a perfect opponent to do that against. And a little confidence builder as Mizzou moves into conference play next week.