Mizzou football plays Troy on Saturday with a chance to end its bye-week issues.
The Mizzou football team is back after a week off and the Tigers are ready to get back on the field.
They can end all of their past post-bye-week issues by playing a complete game against a Troy Trojans team they will be favored to beat by more than three touchdowns.
But it’s a Troy team that is used to this role, and has played the part well with two wins the past two years.
Troy defeated No. 18 LSU in 2017 24-21. The Trojans followed that up with an upset victory over Nebraska 24-19 in 2018.
Can they do the same in 2019?
Here’s a look at what the Tigers are up against this week.
The Troy offense can score points.
Troy hasn’t scored less than 35 points all year. The Trojans put up 42 points once and 43 points twice. They are doing this behind a confident quarterback in Kaleb Barker.
The senior has passed for 1,367 yards and 13 TDs so far this season. He can beat teams with his legs, too. Barker has 60 yards on the ground with a score. He has been sacked eight times this year.
Running back D.K. Billingsley averages 5.2 yards a carry. He gets a little more than 15 touches a game and can deliver when asked.
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Outside is where the Trojans excel.
Wide receivers Kaylon Geiger, Reggie Todd and Luke Whittemore are a trio that can stretch the field. They will test Mizzou’s secondary more than any of the other nonconference opponents have.
WRs Khalil McClain and Tray Eafford also add in the mix, each with more than 10 yards a reception.
Troy doesn’t use the tight ends too often, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Tigers deploy their three safeties in this game.
Mizzou’s elite defense is going to go up against an effective offense. Basically, all of Missouri’s first-quarter and first-half success, and the defensive efficiency so far this season, will be put to the test Saturday.
Troy is confident, and it is comfortable. This will be fun to watch.
Still, it’s a team that couldn’t beat Arkansas State last week. The Trojans have struggled on defense, and it’s Kelly Bryant’s turn to take advantage of it.
The strength of the defense is the defensive line, where senior Travis Sailo has multiple sacks. With Mizzou’s O-Line back to 100 percent, it should be a good matchup for the Tigers before they head back to conference play.
Troy’s leading tackler is Carlton Martial. The sophomore has 43 tackles on the season to go along with an interception and a forced fumble. He has done a good job leading the team against the run. As coach Barry Odom said, he makes plays all over the field.
But in the air is where Troy has given teams their success.
Will Sunderland is the only Trojan in the secondary with an interception and also the only defensive back with two pass deflections. The safeties haven’t affected the play too much this season. TJ Harris leads the back end with 17 tackles.
The Trojans give up big plays, and I can see Albert Okwuegbunam having a big day attacking Troy where it hurts.
Mizzou football hasn’t had any success with extra time to prepare under Odom. He knows this and has welcomed the questions since the South Carolina win. Odom changed up some of what the Tigers have done over the past few years during their bye weeks, hoping that will help. It should.
We’ll see about that Saturday afternoon.