September 28, 2006

Mizzou 'D' provides another big challenge

The Missouri defense is ranked number one in the nation thus far. Though they have not faced any offensive juggernauts, the numbers don't lie. The Tiger defense has been dominant thus far.

Mizzou is giving up just 175 yards per game, ten yards less than No. 2 LSU. No team has amassed more than 201 yards against the Tigers and in the second half against Ohio, the Bobcats had minus-6 yards total until their final 37-yard drive.

Much of the thanks for those numbers can go to Missouri's front four. The Tigers are two deep at every spot and actually began the year with two players who were starters last season on the second string. Brian Smith leads the Big 12 and is second in the nation with six quarterback sacks. He is Mizzou's all-time leader in that category with 30. Sophomore defensive tackle Evander Hood will miss the CU game with a broken foot, but Missouri replaced him sufficiently against Ohio. In Hood's absence, Lorenzo Williams has been an even bigger piece of the puzzle. Williams has 12 tackles, two-and-a-half tackles for a loss, two fumble recoveries and has chipped in two blocked kicks.

"He's done a really good job. We're asking a lot more of him now too because of Ziggy being out. He's a great young guy, he's a great competitor and he's doing a really good job," said Gary Pinkel. "We put him in a position where he has to be double teamed all the time and how he holds up inside is really critically important so I think he's a lot better football player than he was a year ago."

At the other end, Xzavie Jackson has been dominant after missing the season opener due to a disciplinary suspension.

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