Missouri Football Three Keys: Kansas State

Missouri football Three keys

It’s an old-time Big Eight Conference matchup when Missouri faces Kansas State this Saturday. Missouri and Kansas State then moved to the Big 12 before Missouri left for the SEC a decade ago.

By Matt Zemek

In a fascinating plot twist, one of the central figures in this game played for a former Big Eight and Big 12 school which left the Big 12 for the Big Ten. Adrian Martinez left Nebraska and transferred to Kansas State, hoping that a change of scenery will be a great kick-start for his career.

Let’s look at what Missouri needs to do against Kansas State. A victory over coach Chris Klieman’s Wildcats would dramatically increase the belief that Eli Drinkwitz has the MU program heading in the right direction.

1 – Manage Martinez
Adrian Martinez had a very clear identity and reputation at Nebraska: He could make highlight-reel plays with his athleticism, but on a consistent basis, he did not make the right throws or the right reads. Martinez is prone to making bad judgments. Keeping him contained in the pocket instead of allowing him to scramble is the way to defend him. Missouri could consider spying Martinez, but regardless of whether it wants to do that, it needs to shut off running lanes and make Martinez throw the ball downfield to beat the Tigers.

2 – Carry the Burden
Luther Burden, as Missouri fans know well, is just the third five-star recruit in the history of the program. Burden has given Mizzou the legitimate belief that the program can reach a much higher ceiling in the coming years – maybe not 2022, but certainly 2023 or 2024. Burden scored two touchdowns in the Tigers’ season-opening win over Louisiana Tech. His talent was on display, his upside visible to anyone who watched that game. Burden being prolific and dynamic in the Missouri offense is a requirement for victory in any game against an evenly-matched or superior opponent. Louisiana Tech was an inferior opponent, so Burden didn’t have to go off. Kansas State is at least the equal of Missouri, and many would say the Wildcats are superior to the Tigers. Burden has to have a big game if the Tigers are going to prevail.

3 – Battle of the big plays
Because Adrian Martinez is so inconsistent, it’s important to shut off the big play and force him to drive 12 plays, 80 yards, in six minutes. If he has to take a lot more snaps on a drive, the greater the chances he will mess up at some point and commit a turnover or throw an incompletion on third down. Shutting down the big play to Kansas State is essential for MU. So is getting a handful of big plays from the Tigers’ passing game. The team with more 30-yard plays in this game probably wins.

Saturday‘s game kicks off at 11:00 AM CT (12:00 PM ET). You can watch this SEC football game on the ESPN2 Network.

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