Less than a week after their official exit from the Big 12 and entrance into the SEC, the Missouri Tigers will face the school that supposedly caused most of the problems that led to their conference switch: Texas.
Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson fueled the flames in the last meeting of these two teams by saying ‘I hate Texas' and calling most of the Longhorn players ‘overrated.'
How will the Tigers respond to their teammate's strong words? Sitting at 4-5, the Tigers face a near must-win at home against a ranked team in order to keep their bowl hopes alive. Texas still hasn't pulled off an impressive win this season, but neither have the Tigers. The Horns sit at 6-2 on the season and figure to give the Tigers a lot of problems on both sides of the ball in Columbia on Saturday morning.
Just like last week's game against Baylor, this game will most likely be decided on the ground. Both teams have great rushing attacks (Texas is 11th in the nation in rushing yards per game while Missouri is 12th), but Texas' defense is certainly stronger than Missouri's up the middle.
Even though both schools have great running attacks, their styles differ immensely. Most of Missouri's production has been from star sophomore tailback Henry Josey and a little bit from quarterback James Franklin. Texas has 4 backs with over 200 yards this year but their leading rusher, Malcom Brown, only has 635 yards.
Josey is a shifty back with a great burst hitting the hole (8.6 yards per carry) while Brown is more of a between-the-tackles runner (4.8 yards per carry).
While the run is a big part of the Tigers' game, the Longhorns focus almost entirely on the run. In last week's game against Texas Tech, Texas only attempted nine passes, but still put up a ton of points in a 52-20 win.
If there is a stalemate on the ground in this contest, look for the battle between an up-and-down Missouri secondary and Texas' freshman quarterback, David Ash, to decide the game.
As stated before, the Longhorns haven't really put too much on the shoulders of Ash thus far, but if they want to win this game, they need to attack the weak part of Missouri's defense which is over the top at Matt White's safety position.
Texas' win against Texas Tech was probably their most impressive thus far, but Missouri is more than likely a better team than the Red Raiders are and this game will be on the road for the Longhorns, unlike their last three games.
It will be interesting to see how a young Texas team responds to a road game after nearly a month straight of not leaving Austin. Also, watch how Missouri responds in Gary Pinkel's last chance to beat Texas, something he has never done.
This is one of the tougher games I've had to pin down in a while. I could see a blowout on either side, but of course I could see this being one of the more exciting games on Saturday's college football schedule.
I'll say that Missouri finally solves Texas' strong defense against the run with the electric Josey and tough-running Franklin. The Tigers win in a tight one, 38-34.