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October 9, 2008
Three Tiger keys against Oklahoma State
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Each week, PowerMizzou.com breaks down the upcoming matchup from every available angle. On Thursday, we take a look at three keys to the Tigers coming out with a win. Today, we break down the keys against the Oklahoma State Cowboys:
Contain the Run
OSU runs the ball as well as anybody in the country with Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston. Add in what Zac Robinson can do and the Cowboy run game can be scary. You aren't likely to shut them down. However, if you can keep the Pokes under 200 yards on the ground, you're going a long way toward securing a win. You don't have to completely stop the ground game, but you can't let the Pokes hold the ball for 42 minutes either.
Jump on Top
The Tigers have been very good in getting the early lead. They have trailed for only 13 seconds all season long. In no game will it be more important than this one. The Cowboys want to run the football all night long. If they are down 20 points, it becomes really, really tough to do that. Mizzou has scored a touchdown on every single opening drive this season. If they can keep that streak up and play good defense to start, it might take the Cowboys out of their game plan.
Win in the Red Zone
Both of these teams are going to pile up yardage, there is really no doubt. The game could come down to which defense is better inside the 20. Both offenses have been very efficient in the red zone. The Cowboys have scored 25 of 27 times and Mizzou has cashed in on 20 of 22 opportunities. But defensively, there has been a big difference. Missouri has held opponents to nine scores in 14 red zone trips (just six touchdowns) and ranks fourth in the league. Oklahoma State is dead last, allowing the opposition 14 touchdowns and 16 overall scores in 17 trips. If that continues, OSU is in deep trouble. If the Tigers can keep OSU to field goals instead of touchdowns, their chances are very good.
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