Missouri Three Keys: LSU

Three keys Missouri

The Missouri Tigers entered the SEC in 2012. They have not yet hosted the LSU Tigers in Columbia, Missouri (separate from Columbia, South Carolina, where the Gamecocks play). They weren’t supposed to host LSU this week, either.

By Matt Zemek

They were scheduled to go to Baton Rouge. Yet, Hurricane Delta has brought about a change of plan. This contest will be played in “CoMo,” marking LSU’s first visit to the Show Me State for an SEC game.

Missouri is 0-2, which everyone expected when the SEC schedule came out. The Tigers won’t be expected to beat LSU, but coach Eli Drinkwitz could certainly make a splash in his first season with Mizzou if he can pull off an upset. Let’s see how it might happen:

1 – Moments of truth

The Tennessee Volunteers defeated Missouri this past weekend. If you look at third-down conversions, nothing eye-popping emerges. The Vols were 6 of 13 on third downs, which is not terrible but just as clearly not great. Missouri did okay on that score… but then came fourth down. Tennessee was 4 of 4 on fourth downs, which means that even though 6 of 13 looks good on paper, the Volunteers were essentially 10 of 13 on third downs, because four third downs were still converted one play later. Missouri needs to limit LSU to 30 percent conversions – not on third down, not on fourth down, but combined. If it can hit that target or come close to it, LSU will probably not be able to control the ball to the extent it would like. LSU wore down Vanderbilt one week ago. Missouri can’t put itself in a position where it is work down versus the defending national champions. Mizzou has to control the ball early and not allow LSU to get into a rhythm. LSU quarterback Myles Brennan is talented, but he is no Joe Burrow. Keeping him off the field will prevent him from settling into this contest.

2 – Early action

Missouri scored just six points in the first three quarters against Alabama. It scored just 12 points in the first three quarters against Tennessee. This is a slow-starting offense which doesn’t put opponents on their heels. Quarterback Connor Bazelak and the rest of the Mizzou offense have to score a first-quarter touchdown, something MU hasn’t yet done this season. Missouri hasn’t even scored a first-quarter point this year. Alabama led MU 14-0 after one quarter, and Tennessee led Mizzou 7-0 after one quarter. Learning how to start quickly out of the gate is something this offense needs to do against LSU.

3 – Extra commitment against the run

Missouri allowed 232 rushing yards to Tennessee. The Vols’ ability to win fourth downs and tire out the Missouri defense contributed to this reality, but the Tigers have to stand tall against the run no matter the circumstances. Let’s see if Mizzou can toughen up against the run. That might apply more real-world game pressure to LSU.

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