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Missouri-Mississippi football preview

  • Published Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at 7:13 a.m.
  • Updated Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at 4:22 p.m.

When/where: 6:45 p.m. Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.

TV/radio: ESPN; KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)

The series: Missouri leads 5-1

The line: Missoury by 2 1/2

What’s at stake

For Missouri, a spot in the SEC championship game. It must win its final two games, at Mississippi and at home against Texas A&M, to win the SEC East outright and earn a berth in the conference title game Dec. 7 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. If the Tigers lose either game, South Carolina, which handed Missouri its only loss in double overtime, plays for the SEC title.

Cheers if …

Missouri quarterback James Franklin is sharp. Franklin hasn’t started the Tigers’ last four games because of a sprained shoulder, but he resumed throwing three weeks ago and got in some extra work during the bye week. Through the first six games, Franklin had completed 67.7 percent of his passes. If he’s accurate and has velocity on his throws, Missouri will be tough to stop.

Jeers if …

Missouri struggles to get to Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace. When Wallace has time to throw, he’s been lethal. After managing just two sacks in three of four previous games, the Tigers racked up seven sacks Nov. 9 at Kentucky. A similar performance could put a serious damper on The Grove’s party atmosphere.

Three things about Mississippi

1 The Rebels are rolling right now on offense. Last week against Troy, Mississippi racked up a school-record 751 yards, which is the fifth-most in SEC history. Coach Hugh Freeze’s offense has topped 500 yards in four straight games.

2 Mississippi’s defense has also improved, allowing 389 yards or fewer in the last four games. The Rebels, who are in the midst of a six-game homestand, outgained LSU 525-388 on Oct. 16 and nearly knocked off Texas A&M.

3 The Rebels are young, having played 12 true freshmen this season, which ranks as the 11th-most among FBS programs. Six true freshmen have started this season for Mississippi.

Key matchup

Missouri’s wide receivers vs. Mississippi’s secondary: The Tigers are banged up on the outside with senior L’Damian Washington (toe) and sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham (ankle) both dealing with nagging injuries. Against a secondary that has allowed only nine passing touchdowns in 10 games led by junior free safety Cody Prewitt, who is tied for the SEC lead with four interceptions, Missouri needs to win those downfield battles outside for Franklin.

Tod Palmer’s pick: Missouri 31-20

Mississippi has won four straight games, including a victory against LSU, since a three-game slide with losses to Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M. The Rebels are a dangerous team, especially at home. Of course, Missouri has so much to play for and has a more experienced team. Franklin’s return also provides a psychological edge.

MISSOURI (9-1, 5-1 SEC)

Date Opponent Result/time
Aug. 31Murray StateW, 58-14
Sept. 7ToledoW, 38-23
Sept. 21at IndianaW, 45-28
Sept. 28Arkansas StateW, 41-19
Oct. 5at VanderbiltW, 51-28
Oct. 12at GeorgiaW, 41-26
Oct. 19FloridaW, 36-17
Oct. 26South CarolinaL, 27-24 (2OT)
Nov. 2TennesseeW, 31-3
Nov. 9at KentuckyW, 48-17
Saturdayat Mississippi6:45 p.m.
Nov. 30Texas A&M6:45 p.m.

MISSISSIPPI (7-3, 3-3 SEC)

Date Opponent Result/time
Aug. 29at VanderbiltW, 39-35
Sept. 7Southeast MissouriW, 31-13
Sept. 14at TexasW, 44-23
Sept. 28at AlabamaL, 25-0
Oct. 5at AuburnL, 30-22
Oct. 12Texas A&ML, 41-38
Oct. 19LSUW, 27-24
Oct. 26IdahoW, 59-14
Nov. 9ArkansasW, 34-24
Nov. 16TroyW, 51-21
SaturdayMissouri6:45 p.m.
Nov. 28at Mississippi State6:30 p.m.

MISSOURI OFFENSE

P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
WR15Dorial Green-Beckham6-6225So.
WR2L’Damian Washington6-4205Sr.
LT68Justin Britt6-6315Sr.
LG61Max Copeland6-3300Sr.
C77Evan Boehm6-3315So.
RG60Connor McGovern6-4310So.
RT65Mitch Morse6-6305Jr.
TE81Eric Waters6-5245Sr.
WR85Marcus Lucas6-5220Sr.
QB1James Franklin6-2230Sr.
TB20Henry Josey5-10190Jr.
K99Andrew Baggett6-1215So.

MISSOURI DEFENSE

P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
DE52Michael Sam6-2255Sr.
DT89Matt Hoch6-5295Jr.
NG96Lucas Vincent6-2305Jr.
DE47Kony Ealy6-5275Jr.
LB10Kentrell Brothers6-1240So.
LB48Andrew Wilson6-3240Sr.
LB8Donovan Bonner6-1245Sr.
CB31E.J. Gaines5-11195Sr.
FS17Matt White6-0195Sr.
SS9Braylon Webb6-0205Jr.
CB7Randy Ponder5-10195Sr.
P92Christian Brinser6-2200Jr.

MISSISSIPPI OFFENSE

P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
WR12Donte Moncrief6-3226Jr.
LT78Laremy Tunsil6-5315Fr.
LG68Justin Bell6-3345So.
C56Evan Swindall6-4301Sr.
RG74Jared Duke6-7377Sr.
RT71Pierce Burton6-6290Sr.
TE34Nicholas Parker6-0239Jr.
WR1Laquon Treadwell6-3215Fr.
WR85Ja-Mes Logan6-3183Sr.
QB14Bo Wallace6-4209Jr.
RB3Jeff Scott5-7162Sr.
K96Andrew Ritter6-3216Sr.

MISSISSIPPI DEFENSE

P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
DE95Bryon Bennett6-2270Jr.
DT5Robert Nkemdiche6-5294Fr.
NT56Woodrow Hamilton6-3300So.
DE55Cameron Whigham6-3255Sr.
LB14Sederius Bryant5-9215Jr.
LB38Mike Marry6-3250Sr.
LB12Tony Conner6-1210Fr.
CB21Senquez Golson5-9193Jr.
SS7Trae Elston6-0190So.
FS25Cody Prewitt6-2220Jr.
CB28Mike Hilton5-8182So.

Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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