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Alabama Defense Isn’t Playing Up To Its Standards

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While the Crimson Tide defense isn’t dominating as much as usual, they’re still an elite group.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The last-place Arkansas Razorbacks — who lost 44-17 to North Texas a month ago — put up 31 points last week against the Crimson Tide defense.

The Hogs have the nation’s 102nd-ranked offense and dropped 31 on Alabama. Let that sink in.

An efficient day from Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey (25-39, 230 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT) and a potent running attack, rushing a combined 31 times for 172 yards (5.5 ypc) and a touchdown.

This bodes well for Missouri’s offense the way it’s played the last two games. The Tigers have rushed 83 times for 458 yards (5.5 ypc) and seven touchdowns in matchups against South Carolina and No. 2 Georgia.

Interestingly enough, they’ve carried the offense, not Drew Lock.

Alabama allows 4.22 yards per carry. That’s good news for Missouri’s run-game as Georgia gives up just 3.81 yards per carry and South Carolina gives up just slightly more than the Crimson Tide at 4.49 yards per carry allowed.

The Tigers’ potent one-two punch of Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree III have both had 150+ yard rushing games, proving to be difficult players to plan for.

Having a big game on the ground isn’t enough to beat No. 1 Alabama, though.

This is going to be a huge game for Lock — not only could this help put him back on the map for college football, but it’s big for his draft stock.

Having wide receivers Emanuel Hall (groin, doubtful) and Nate Brown (groin, questionable) battling through injuries hasn’t helped the Missouri quarterback the past few weeks, but his decision-making and mental fortitude have been questionable to say the least.

Lock’s ugly pick-six last week against South Carolina sticks out in particular. Running back Tyler Badie slipped on a screen route, but seconds later Lock still threw the ball as if Badie was running his route. It was completed right into the hands of a Gamecock linebacker for six points.

You’ve got to be smarter than that if you’re going to beat Alabama. More forced throws that should have just been thrown out of bounds were evident the past two weeks as well. Cutting down on those mental mistakes will be key for Lock Saturday night.

Lock and his coaches stressed during media availability this Tuesday that he needs to stop putting so much pressure on himself, relax and just play the game. When he’s not inside his own head, Lock plays to the level Tiger fans know he can.

These keys to success for the Missouri offense aren’t too much to ask for, but Lock will have to stay calm and show some poise in a collapsing pocket throughout this difficult matchup. If all goes well, there’s no doubt the Tigers can keep up with Alabama’s offense.