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
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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.
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.
|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. 26||South Carolina||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)
|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.|
ARK. STATE OFFENSE
ARK. STATE DEFENSE
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.