Middle Tennessee State at Missouri
Saturday, 1 pm PT - SEC
CRIS Opener: Missouri -6.5 O/U 69.5
CRIS Current: Missouri -7.5 O/U 75
Missouri enters this matchup with a 2-4 record under new head coach Barry Odom including back-to-back blowout losses at LSU and Florida. In their six games, the Tigers have faced three elite defenses in West Virginia, LSU and Florida and their offense has struggled in those three losses. However, against average or worse defenses, the Tigers’ new passing offense has been good and they will face an opposing defense that they should be able to take advantage of this week in Middle Tennessee State.
MTSU allowed perhaps the worst SEC offense, Vanderbilt, to pile up 47 points with 344 total yards and 5.1 yards per rush. MTSU also allowed 34 points to La Tech and 44 last week to Western Kentucky. This defense will struggle again against SEC athletes, and I expect Missouri to get back on track against the Blue Raiders.
Missouri should also pose some problems on defense for the MTSU offense. Despite the lopsided score last week against Florida, the Tiger defense only allowed 19 points. Florida scored one touchdown on a kick return and two scores on interception returns. MTSU’s short passing game was able to move the ball against Vandy, but they bogged down in the red zone and scored just 24 points. The same should happen this week if they move the ball as well.
This is a big game for Missouri in terms of bowl eligibility. They need a win here and then wins in each of their next three games against Kentucky, South Carolina and Vandy to get to six wins before closing the season at Tennessee and hosting Arkansas. The two previous blowouts losses over the last two weeks should have given the coaches their players’ attention. I think they will be ready to play and if that is the case, they are better than a touchdown at home against MTSU, which still has its sights set on a conference championship and won't place as much emphasis on a midseason non-conference game.