December 5, 2008

Big 12 Battles: Missouri's Ground Game

Just a week after the Sooners provided further proof of the indecisive nature of the BCS, Oklahoma now tries to realize their preseason goals by winning the Big 12 championship for the third straight year, and second straight year over Missouri. While the two teams are familiar with one another, they've not yet played this season and it's time to familiarize each other SoonerScoop.com's Josh McCuiston and PowerMizzou.com's Gabe DeArmond break down the positional match-ups that face the Sooners in the Big 12 championship game.
















I. Sam Bradford/Receivers versus Missouri's Secondary
SoonerScoop.com:
"I like a few of the players in Missouri's secondary and of course Sooner fans remember William Moore's talent. However, I honestly can't think of a secondary I've seen all season who could hope for a stalemate against Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Juaquin Iglesias in crew. When you add in that the Sooners can split their two talented backs, Chris Brown and Demarco Murray, and put a defense in even more troubling situations. Edge: OU"



PowerMizzou.com:
"The Tigers have been victimized again and again by opposing passers. Colt McCoy, Todd Reesing, Zac Robinson, and Juice Williams all hurt the Tigers badly. Missouri hasn't been bad on every play, but has had complete coverage breakdowns a few times every game, allowing receivers wide open behind the secondary. Oklahoma's receivers don't get the hype of some, but they're really good and Bradford is the best quarterback Missouri has seen. Edge: OU"
II. Chris Brown/Demarco Murray versus Missouri's Linebackers
SoonerScoop.com: "Prior to the Texas game this would have been an advantage but hardly anything worth talking about. Sean Weatherspoon is a star and a tribute to Missouri's ability to evaluate high school talent but with that being said Murray and Brown have become a 1-2 punch that is as good as any in college football. The two star backs have made Bradford's job even easier since Dallas. Edge: OU"



PowerMizzou.com:
"The Tiger linebackers are the strength of this team, but none played all that well in the game against Kansas. the Tigers have been good against the run outside of their game against Texas, but they haven't faced anyone with a running game like the Sooners. Brown had great games against Mizzou twice last year and Murray looks like the best back in the Big 12. Edge: OU"
III. Oklahoma's Offensive Line versus Missouri's Defensive Line
SoonerScoop.com: "Last year, the player who impressed me the most for the Tigers was Oklahoma native Lorenzo Williams. This year I've yet to see a game-changing player that can really challenge Oklahoma's offensive line. Again, earlier in the year I'm not sure if that would have meant anything but the way the Sooners have decided to toughen up along the offensive line it's going to be one of the bigger mismatches in this game in my opinion. Edge: OU"



PowerMizzou.com:
"The major problem on defense for Missouri has been putting pressure on opposing passers, and then wrapping up once they get there. Quarterbacks who are mobile enough to keep plays alive past the initial rush have destroyed Missouri down the field. If Bradford can move just well enough to avoid sacks, he should have open receivers. Edge: OU"
IV. Kevin Wilson versus Matt Eberflus
SoonerScoop.com: "I know I'll upset a lot of Mizzou fans with this but I was never one who was buying into what the Missouri defense was selling and some of Rivals.com's power rankings of Eberflus seemed more than a bit over done to me. In fairness to him there aren't a lot of elite athletes on the defense, some solid players but I just don't see a lot of difference-makers at his disposal. WIlson has been stellar with his play-calling and game-planning so far this year and in my mind should be a serious contender for the Frank Broyles award. Edge: OU"



PowerMizzou.com:
" Eberflus is the target of most Missouri fans these days. The Tigers brought back ten starters on defense, but haven't been as good as they were last year. And the blame doesn't lie with the new starter because Jaron Baston has had a good year. Missouri has been burned again and again trying to blitz and failing to get there. Eberflus has a monumental challenge to slow down the best offense in college football. Edge: OU"
V. Chase Daniel/Receivers versus Oklahoma Secondary
SoonerScoop.com: " I know I wasn't glowing about the Missouri defense but there really isn't much about the offense not worthy of admiration, particularly at the skill positions. Daniel is a top shelf quarterback who has been lost in the mix of the Big 12 quarterbacks due to a blistering road loss in Austin. However, I've seen nothing that makes him any less of a player that had him in New York in December last year. Oklahoma's secondary has a propensity to force a turnover but still lacks consistency in my opinion. Edge: MU
"



PowerMizzou.com:
"There may not be a better one-two duo in the country than Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman. Maclin has already set the single season receptions record at Mizzou. By the end of the bowl game, he'll be over 100 and near 1400 yards for the year. Coffman has a great shot at a 1000 yard season as well. The key for the Tigers will be to get a big game from someone else, either Tommy Saunders, Jared Perry or Danario Alexander. This is the one area where the Tigers can match up with anyone in the country. Edge: MU"
VI. Derrick Washington versus Oklahoma's Linebackers
SoonerScoop.com: "Last year I said over and over again that I thought more of Washington than I did then-starting running back Tony Temple. Washington may not have had quite the year that I had expected but I think that is in part due to the ability of the passing game to move the chains. Equally as surprising has been the play of Travis Lewis who has the stats and highlights to match up with just about any linebacker in the country as just a redshirt freshman. The loss of Austin Box hurts Oklahoma but Mike Balogun should be able to step up and play a solid role. Edge: OU"



PowerMizzou.com:
"Washington has been good when he has gotten the football this year. He is averaging more than six yards per carry and should go over 1000 for the season in the title game. He's not a burner, but he makes people miss and gets the most out of every carry. With Oklahoma down to its third string linebacker, Missouri has to have a commitment to running the football and keeping the OU offense on the sidelines. Edge: Push, maybe slight MU"





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