Friday, September 14, 2007

Mizzou-WMU Preview

Best. Weather. For. A. Home. Opener. Ever. Can't wait to hear the rationale for why only 52,000 showed up this time. After years of "It was too cold" or "It was too hot" or "There was a threat of rain," this time it will be "It was too nice. I made other plans." Good times. Anyway...

MU QB vs WMU Defense

The Broncos intercepted 24 passes a year ago—not exactly the team you want to see when your QB’s within striking distance of the all-time ‘consecutive passes without an INT’ record. However...the Broncs have been far from impressive so far against West Virginia and Indiana, and Chase Chase Daniel. Edge: Mizzou.


Tony Temple seemed to figure something out in the second quarter against Ole Miss last year. Maybe it was just that the O-line started blocking better, but he was actually fast and elusive. Meanwhile, WMU is missing last year’s MAC Defensive Player of the Year, Ameer Ismail. In two games, they’ve given up 537 rushing yards in two games. Granted, one of those games was against Steve Slaton and Pat White, but...Edge: Mizzou.


I don’t think we need to go into detail here. Edge: Mizzou.


Ole Miss didn’t generate much of a pass rush on Chase Daniel last week, and Chase was able to go through his progressions a lot better than he could against Illinois (when Mizzou only gained about 425 yards). Not only that, but Mizzou also put up over 200 yards rushing. That gives me hope that they’re bouncing back from the atrocious effort against the Illini. Edge: Mizzou.

WMU QB vs MU Defense

Seth Adams threw for an insane amount of yards against Mizzou. Assuming Mizzou gets an early lead here, Tim Hiller—a talented-but-turnover-prone sophomore—will have plenty of opportunity to do the same. Mizzou only needs to make a few stops, and I’m sure they will, but Hiller will likely put up a lot more passing yards than we would like. Edge: WMU.


Van Alexander hasn’t been much of a playmaker so far, but Sean Weatherspoon and Brock Christopher have been decent. Oh yeah, and Western Michigan has run for 62 yards in two games. Figured I should mention that. Edge: Mizzou.


This is the matchup that will likely determine whether this is an easy win for Mizzou or a game that is a little too close for comfort. As Dave Matter pointed out the other day, WMU’s Jamarko Simmons has a sickening 41 catches, 474 yards, and 4 TD’s in his last three (!!) games. For those of you still having nightmares of Hank Baskett, he’s not nearly as explosive as Baskett—those totals above only equal out to about 11.6 yards per catch. However, Darnell Terrell and Hardy Ricks have yet to appear in 100% game shape after August injuries, and they’ve been far from impressive so far. If MU has some semblance of a pass rush, the secondary should at the very least be able to shut everybody else down and wait for Simmons to cramp up from overactivity. If they don’t get pressure on Hiller, however...yikes. Edge: WMU.


The moveable force! The resistable object! Western Michigan gave up 8 sacks to Indiana. Missouri only managed one against Ole Miss. SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE!!! Edge: Push.

MU Special Teams vs WMU Special Teams

Jeremy Maclin is a big play threat every time he touches the ball, Adam Crossett punted relatively well last weekend, the blocking and coverage seemed solid, and although Jeff Wolfert missed his second FG of the season, I’m not worried about him. In other words, I have some confidence in this unit. However, WMU’s no slouch. The kicking game’s relatively mediocre, and I’m not sure about the coverage, but they have a gamebreaker in kick returner Brandon West, who returned a kickoff for a TD last week against Indiana. For now, I’ll give a cautious Edge: Mizzou.

MU Coaching vs WMU Coaching

WMU’s running game is non-existent right now (though that could always change against Mizzou), and their stud WR isn’t a major big-play threat. Sounds like we might be running into a team even more finesse-oriented than we are. Like when an opponent attempts a bubble screen against us and we blow it up, we seem pretty solid in preparing for a team similar to us. Pinkel was angry about the missed tackles last week—he predictably saw that as a bigger problem than vanilla defensive schemes—and I think this team responds well this week. A Cubit-coached team will always have some tricks up its sleeve, but I’m thinking Edge: Mizzou.


For once, I give the edge in this random category to Mizzou. It’s the home opener, they’ll likely be playing with a chip on their shoulder after another shaky second half last week, and parents will be in town for this one. Mizzou whooped Ole Miss when my parents were in attendance last year, so we’ll say that’s a good omen. Edge: Mizzou.

(I won’t mention that my parents were also in attendance when Kirk Farmer broke his leg in 1999.)


That’s an 8-2-1 advantage for Mizzou. We should win this game easily, and I really want to predict something like 51-7. However, every time I get ready to pull the trigger on that one, I reel myself in with a reminder that the defense really is probably worse than I want to think it is. WMU will need a couple turnovers to have a chance, and (KNOCK ON WOOD...STAT!) Chase Daniel doesn’t turn the ball over. (Wow, that’s a Mike Kelly-level jinx right there.) I’m attempting to be cocky this week...we’ll go with 48-20.