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Missouri-Arkansas State football preview

When/where: 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Columbia

TV/radio: KSMO (Ch. 62); KMBZ (980 AM, 98.l FM)

The series: Missouri leads 2-0

The line: Missouri by 21

MISSOURI (3-0, 0-0 SEC)

What’s at stake

A perfect 4-0 nonconference record and lots of momentum entering Southeastern Conference play. After venturing into Big Ten country and dominating Indiana, a hiccup against Arkansas State would be unconscionable. Gary Pinkel also can pass Dan Devine for sole possession of second place in MU coaching victories.

Cheers if ...

We see a lot of Maty Mauk in the second half. Quarterback James Franklin is Missouri’s most important player. If he’s healthy, the Tigers’ possibilities are limitless. If he gets hurt, well, remember last season? If Missouri gets a big lead, giving Mauk some much-needed experience and keeping Franklin safe from harm on the sideline would be ideal. Plus, it would mean the Tigers are in blowout mode.

Jeers if ...

Missouri’s defense doesn’t dominate early. The Tigers got off to slow starts defensively against Murray State and Toledo. But against Indiana, Missouri started both halves strong and gave the offense a chance to grab or extend the lead. That ought to be the goal every week, and a focused Tigers defense should help salt this one away early.

Three things about Arkansas State

1 The Red Wolves are on their fourth coach in four seasons. When Steve Roberts’ nine-year tenure ended in 2010, offensive coordinator Hugh Freeze took over, guiding Arkansas State to a 10-2 record before leaving for Mississippi. Freeze’s successor, Gus Malzahn, went 10-3 in his only season before returning to Auburn. Former Boise State and Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin now leads the Red Wolves.

2 The right side of Arkansas State’s offensive line is undersized with senior guard Cliff Mitchell (6-5, 284) and freshman tackle Colton Jackson (6-4, 276). Memphis registered a whopping seven sacks in last week’s win, so Missouri ought to feast on pressuring the quarterback.

3 Arkansas State’s offense boasts two talented transfers, former Tennessee running back David Oku and Utah State transfer Adam Kennedy at quarterback. Oku rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a junior and leads the Red Wolves again, while Kennedy boasts a QB efficiency rating of 125.48.

Key matchup

Missouri’s offensive line vs. Arkansas State’s defensive line: Senior nose tackle Ryan Carrethers anchors the defensive line. He’s an athletic freak with NFL talent and already has recorded three sacks and four tackles for a loss. Containing Carrethers will be critical for Missouri’s offense, which ranks seventh in the nation in total offense at 567 yards per game.

Date Opponent Result/time
Aug. 31 Murray State W, 58-14
Sept. 7 Toledo W, 38-23
Sept. 21 at Indiana W, 45-28
Saturday Arkansas State 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Vanderbilt 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Georgia TBA
Oct. 19 Florida TBA
Oct. 26 South Carolina TBA
Nov. 2 Tennessee TBA
Nov. 9 at Kentucky TBA
Nov. 23 at Mississippi TBA
Nov. 30 Texas A&M TBA

ARK. STATE (2-2, 1-0 Sun Belt)

Date Opponent Result/time
Aug. 31 Arkansas-Pine Bluff W, 62-11
Sept. 7 at Auburn L, 38-9
Sept. 12 Troy W, 41-34
Sept. 21 at Memphis L, 31-7
Saturday at Missouri 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 Idaho 6 p.m.
Oct. 22 Louisiana-Lafayette 7 p.m.
Nov. 2 at South Alabama TBA
Nov. 9 at Louisiana-Monroe 6 p.m.
Nov. 16 Texas State 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 23 Georgia State TBA
Nov. 30 at Western Kentucky 3 p.m.

MISSOURI OFFENSE

P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
WR 85 Marcus Lucas 6-5 220 Sr.
WR 15 Dorial Green-Beckham 6-6 225 So.
LT 68 Justin Britt 6-6 315 Sr.
LG 61 Max Copeland 6-3 300 Sr.
C 77 Evan Boehm 6-3 315 So.
RG 60 Connor McGovern 6-4 310 So.
RT 65 Mitch Morse 6-6 305 Jr.
TE 81 Eric Waters 6-5 245 Sr.
WR 2 L’Damian Washington 6-4 205 Sr.
QB 1 James Franklin 6-2 230 Sr.
RB 20 Henry Josey 5-10 190 Jr.
K 99 Andrew Baggett 6-1 215 So.

MISSOURI DEFENSE

P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
DE 52 Michael Sam 6-2 255 Sr.
DT 89 Matt Hoch 6-5 295 Jr.
NG 96 Lucas Vincent 6-2 305 Jr.
DE 47 Kony Ealy 6-5 275 Jr.
LB 10 Kentrell Brothers 6-1 240 So.
LB 48 Andrew Wilson 6-3 240 Sr.
LB 8 Donovan Bonner 6-1 245 Sr.
CB 31 E.J. Gaines 5-11 195 Sr.
FS 17 Matt White 6-0 195 Sr.
SS 9 Braylon Webb 6-0 205 Jr.
CB 7 Randy Ponder 5-10 195 Sr.
P 92 Christian Brinser 6-2 200 Jr.

ARK. STATE OFFENSE

P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
WR 23 J.D. McKissic 5-11 193 So.
WR 17 Allen Muse 6-4 226 Sr.
LT 67 Aaron Williams 6-5 320 Sr.
LG 60 Steven Haunga 6-3 317 Sr.
C 68 Bryce Giddens 6-0 300 So.
RG 63 Cliff Mitchell 6-5 284 Sr.
RT 61 Colton Jackson 6-4 276 Fr.
TE 19 Darion Griswold 6-4 264 So.
WR 7 Julian Jones 6-0 202 Sr.
QB 5 Adam Kennedy 6-5 224 Sr.
RB 25 David Oku 5-10 202 Sr.
K 2 Brian Davis 5-11 186 Sr.

ARK. STATE DEFENSE

P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
DE 37 Eddie Porter 6-2 252 Sr.
NT 98 Ryan Carrethers 6-2 330 Sr.
DT 97 Amos Draper 6-3 266 Sr.
DE 42 Chris Stone 6-2 252 So.
LB 5 Kyle Coleman 6-1 228 Jr.
LB 48 Qushaun Lee 5-11 247 Sr.
LB 6 Frankie Jackson 5-9 198 Jr.
CB 10 Artez Brown 6-0 180 Jr.
DB 29 Chris Humes 6-0 207 So.
FS 11 Sterling Young 6-2 193 Jr.
CB 3 Rocky Hayes 5-11 177 So.
P 15 Luke Ferguson 6-0 210 So.

Tod Palmer’s pick: Missouri 49-14

Missouri believes it has a very good football team, perhaps better than Auburn and almost certainly better than Memphis. Both of those two teams roughed up Arkansas State, so don’t expect the Tigers to have much trouble in this one.

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