November 16, 2007

Preview and prediction: Tigers vs K-State

Missouri Keys to the Game

At this point in the season, it's become obvious: If Missouri hangs on to the ball, they are going to score. You can hold the offense down for a quarter, maybe for a half, but no one has even come close to doing it for an entire game. Break even in the turnover battle and the Tigers likely win. The second key is what Missouri has done so well of late: Take what the defense is giving up. If they're inviting you to run, let your line take over the game as it did for a period of time last week. Finally, the Tigers need to not get blown out of the stadium in the kicking game.

K-State Keys to the Game

K-State's best games have come when they have gotten production from an unexpected source. To win this game, the Cats probably need a score on either defense or special teams. Second, they have to get SOMEONE other than Nelson involved in the game. The Tigers are not that great against the pass. If they can spring another receiver for a big play early, it opens up Nelson that much more. The final key is pretty simple: Kansas State has to win the turnover battle, probably by at least two. If the Cats give the ball up multiple times, they're in a bunch of trouble.

The Wild Card

Each week, we will select one player who could have a huge impact on the game all by himself. Sometimes it will be an obvious choice, sometimes a little more below the radar. Without a doubt, this week, it is the K-State special teams. They have five return touchdowns this season. If I'm Missouri, I'm telling Adam Crossett to send every single punt out of bounds. If they have to continually go 75 yards, I don't think Kansas State can match scores with Missouri. Don't give up a cheap one.

Final Analysis

It is really this simple: Missouri is better at almost every position. They are significantly better on offense. Kansas State could make things very interesting if they manage to make a big play or two early. But the fact of the matter is, more often than not, talent wins out. The Tigers simply have too much at stake to come out flat in this one. It will be a good game for a half, but Mizzou should stretch it out late.

Prediction: Missouri 45, Kansas State 27

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