The Missouri Tigers (2-1) travel to Boston College this weekend off the back of an impressive offensive – but worrying defensive – performance last time out against SEMO. The 59-28 win is one that the Tigers will look to build on against the Eagles. Here are the three keys to a Mizzou win.
By Steve Wright
1 – Defend the run
Boston College has a big offensive line with plenty of experience. This is potentially an issue for the Tigers given that their rushing defense has been – to put it very nicely – abject this season. Mizzou ranks last among all Power Five schools against the run and No. 126 of the 130 FBS teams when the other team rushes the ball. The Tigers allow almost 270 yards per game on the ground and Boston College has an offensive system similar to the one that Kentucky used to rush for almost 350 yards against the Tigers earlier this year. Stopping the run is as much mindset as a technique with the level of athlete Mizzou has and stopping the Eagles will be massive here.
2 – Pressure Dennis Grosel
The BC running game will have to be elite because their quarterback situation is a mess. Phil Jurkovec is unlikely to return this season after an injury against UMass and backup – and senior – Dennis Grosel threw for just 34 yards on 5-of-13 passing against Temple in a 28-3 win. The coaching staff doesn’t trust Grosel and if the Mizzou front seven – and specifically the edge rushers – can get pressure then he will throw the ball up for grabs.
3 – Balance on offense
Mizzou is at its best when there is balance on offense. Connor Bazelak has thrown for almost 900 yards and nine touchdowns through three games, while running back Tyler Badie has almost 350 yards and three touchdowns at over seven yards per carry. Bazelak has to average more than the 5.2 yards per attempt he managed in the loss against Kentucky – part of this is on the receivers getting open – but if all else fails then just attach the wagon to Badie who is fourth in the nation in yards from scrimmage and No. 1 in the SEC in that stat.