September 7, 2007

Preview and Prediction: Mizzou vs Ole Miss

Each week, will do a joint breakdown of the Tigers' upcoming game with someone who covers Missouri's opponent on Thursday. But on Friday, we take things in-house. Here is the exclusive breakdown of Saturday's opener against Ole Miss:

Missouri Keys to the Game

Block somebody. Plain and simple, the Tiger offensive line was brutal last week. They won't get away with many performances like that one. Missouri has to get something done on the ground. Next, the Tigers have to play four quarters. They only played two or three a week ago. It was good enough then, and who knows, it might be good enough now, but it's a terrible habit to get into. Finally, Daniel and his receivers need to cut it loose and fire the ball all over the field. The Ole Miss defense was pushed around last week, but survived thanks to turnovers. If Daniel can hang on to the ball, he could threaten 400 yards.

Ole Miss Keys to the Game

It is really the first key for every Tiger opponent: Move the ball on the ground. Green-Ellis is the best back the Tigers will see in the non-conference season. If he's moving the sticks and running the clock, there is nothing the Tiger offense can do. Second, the Rebel defense needs to repeat last week's performance. Missouri will get its yards without a doubt, but if the Rebels can take the ball away a few times, it evens things out in a hurry. Finally, Ole Miss needs to start well. The best chance Ole Miss has is to get the crowd rolling early and force the Tigers to play from behind.

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. This week's pick is Temple. How does he bounce back from a very disappointing season opener? Missouri needs him to have a big game sometime early in the year. He's certainly capable. If he tops 100, Ole Miss has no chance. If I'm calling the plays, Temple gets a ton of carries to get his confidence up early.

Final Analysis

Was last week a speed bump or a sign of problems to come for the Tigers? I'm honestly not sure, but they can help us find an answer this weekend. Again, I think Missouri gets Temple involved in the game early and then fires over the top of the Rebel D. Ole Miss could easily have lost last year, but they came up with big plays on defense. I'm guessing Daniel is more careful with the football than the Memphis QB was. If everything goes right, Ole Miss is good enough to pull the upset, but I think that only happens if everything goes right. I see the Tiger offense trying to prove they really are as good as people have been saying they are.

Prediction: Missouri 41, Ole Miss 23

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