Editor’s note: In preparation of the upcoming football season, K-Stated will look ahead to all 12 games on the Wildcats’ 2010 schedule. Next up, Texas.
If Nebraska doesn’t win the Big 12 North this season, Missouri will likely be the team that does.
Most college football experts are predicting the Tigers to make a run at double-digit wins, and challenge the Cornhuskers one last time before they leave for the Big 10.
With Blaine Gabbert returning to lead the offense after throwing for 3,593 yards and 24 touchdowns as a freshman last year, and 15 starters returning overall, Mizzou’s offense will once again be powerful. But will the Tigers have enough defense to make it through a brutal four-game stretch in the middle of the season?
A year ago, they did not. Starting with a tough Thursday loss to Nebraska, Missouri dropped four of five games to fall out of the Big 12 North race. Its defense surrendered an average of 35 points in those games.
Two of those losses came against Oklahoma State and Texas. Understandable. The other came at home against Baylor. Not so understandable.
This year, Missouri starts with five games it will be favored to win, then hits the road for games at Texas A&M, Nebraska and Texas Tech with a home matchup against Oklahoma in the middle.
How the Tigers fare during that difficult stretch will decide their season.
When it’s over, Kansas State heads to Columbia for a game on Nov. 13. It will be an interesting match. The Wildcats will be coming off tough home games against Oklahoma State and Texas. The next week, they will travel to Colorado.
Last season, Missouri rebounded from its setback to Baylor by trouncing the Wildcats 38-12 in Manhattan. Behind Gabbert’s top target, Danario Alexander, the Tigers moved up and down the field with little effort.
Alexander is gone, though, and it could be difficult for Gabbert to throw for big yards without him. Last year, Alexander caught 113 passes for 1,781 yards and 14 touchdowns. No. 2 receiver Jared Perry is also out of eligibility.
Look for Wes Kemp and Jerrell Jackson to be Gabbert’s new favorite targets.
K-State’s defense is expected to be strongest in the secondary, and Missouri will give Tysyn Hartman, Emmanuel Lamur and company a good test. If they repeat their performance from a year ago, K-State will need loads of points to win.
If they can slow the Tigers’ high-powered attack, then Bill Snyder can use Daniel Thomas and ball control to his advantage.
Everything else you need to know about this game:
When: Nov. 13
Where: Columbia, MO.
Missouri in 2009: 8-5 overall, 4-4 Big 12
Missouri schedule: vs. Illinois, McNeese State, San Diego State, Miami (Ohio), Colorado, at Texas A&M, Oklahoma, at Nebraska, at Texas Tech, Kansas State, at Iowa State, vs. Kansas
Series Record: Missouri leads 31-59-5, Missouri won last year in Manhattan 38-12
Other Factoids: From 1993-2005, Kansas State owned Missouri. Under Snyder, the Wildcats won 13 straight against the Tigers. That streak has turned around lately, though. Missouri has won four straight since 2006 … Navy’s run-oriented offense overwhelmed Missouri in the Texas Bowl last season, and allowed it to win by a big margin, 35-13. But Thomas only rushed for 79 yards against the Tigers last year … Josh Cherry kicked four field goals against Missouri last year. They were K-State’s only scores … Missouri has won seven or more games in each of the past five seasons.