The Mizzou Tigers need this one after they gave up 62 to Tennessee last weekend. Here are the three keys for the Tigers to put things right.
By Steve Wright
1 – Run Defense
It is hard to win football games when the rushing defense allows almost 350 yards per game. That is what has happened to the Tigers over the last four games as a collection of SEC and non-conference foes have just had their way with Mizzou on the ground. Be it scheme or desire – or likely a mixture of the two – teams are gashing Missouri with chunk plays and also extending drives with shorter pickups on the ground. The Mean Green have a back in DeAndre Torrey who went for 119 yards against Louisiana Tech last time out so expect to see North Texas running the ball until the Tigers stop them.
2 – Step up Tyler Badie
When the Tigers are winning it is because the offense has balance. That balance starts on the ground with running back Tyler Badie. Badie was exceptional through the first few weeks of the season and he remains second in the SEC in rushing with 458 yards and six touchdowns. In the last few games, however, he has been quiet. Some of this is down to game flow – Tennessee just kept on scoring taking the running game away – but the Tigers need to get back to the bread and butter of using Badie efficiently.
3 – More fight
This is a hard one to put in empirical form but the Tigers just didn’t give enough effort in the game against the Vols. Head coach Eli Drinkwitz made a staffing change as he switched defensive line coaches during the week and he will be looking for a response from his charges here. There are depth issues on the roster that are coming to the fore as some players seem a little too comfortable, so watch for younger players to get involved against North Texas after impressing in practice this week.