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Missouri Will Run All Over the Memphis Defense

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With Drew Lock’s recent struggles and an injured receiving corps, it’s good news Memphis has a ho-hum run defense.

NCAA Football: Connecticut at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Oddly enough, Missouri’s running game has been the focal point of the offense’s production so far this year. They average 188 rushing yards per game and have a three-headed beast in the backfield of Damarea Crockett, Larry Rountree III and Tyler Badie.

Memphis ranks 80th in the country in run defense, allowing just over 171 yards on the ground per contest. Memphis’ two losses have come by the hands of a predominantly-running, triple-option offense in Navy (264 yds rushing, 3 TD) and Tulane (318 yds rushing, 4 TD).

It’s evident Memphis struggles against teams with a deep, talented, well-rounded group of backs. Missouri has just that.

Crockett, Rountree and Badie have combined for 1067 yards on 218 carries (4.9 ypc) thus far, finding the end zone eight times.

South Carolina (89th in rush defense) and Purdue (53rd in rush defense) are the only teams Missouri has faced this year that are ranked outside the top-50 in rushing defense, and the Tigers absolutely dominated the ground game in those contests.

Missouri ran 46 times for 286 yards (6.2 ypc) and three touchdowns against South Carolina, thanks in part due to a huge performance from Crockett (20 car, 154 yds, 1 TD). His counterpart, Rountree, had an exceptional game against Purdue, going for 168 yards on 23 carries (7.3 ypc). The Tigers ran for a total of 233 yards in its win over the Boilermakers.

Missouri offensive coordinator Derek Dooley would be dumb to not run the ball down Memphis’ throat Saturday afternoon. Simply put, when a defense has a glaring weakness, exploit it.

Yes, Drew Lock is the star of this team. But his recent struggles, as well as injuries to his top receivers, make it hard to rely on passing the ball to win football games right now. Utilizing Crockett, Rountree and Badie has been working lately, and they’ll continue to carry this offense until Lock proves otherwise.