Each game has certain matchups within the game that are oh so very important to the outcome. Matchups so important that they can be the difference in a win and a loss. For every game this season, I’ll be taking a look at the three most important matchups regarding an individual or even between position groups.
Missouri Defensive Line vs North Texas Offensive Line
The biggest news from Missouri came last Sunday when they decided to part ways with defensive line coach, Jethro Franklin. Here’s the reasoning that came from Coach Eli Drinkwitz:
“After reviewing the tape, the first five games, it was clear to me that there was a disconnect at the line of scrimmage,” “And I believed that change was needed.”
“Jethro is a good coach, he is a man of character, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out and wasn’t the right fit,” Drinkwitz said. “The timing is not good, but I believe it was necessary and needed to occur. ... I made that decision to move forward in a different direction on the defensive line.”
A change was needed, and a change was made. I’m looking forward to seeing what the new coach brings as far as a philosophy, and if he can’t help flip a switch for this group.
That being said, Missouri, even in its present state should be as talented if not more talented than North Texas. Very similar to SEMO, I think this is a get-right game for this group. From a confidence standpoint, these guys need to have a good game to get themselves feeling good about where they are as a unit.
There’s plenty I need to see from this group, but first and foremost is just executing the basics. Controlling gaps, proper tackling technique and good pad level. If they can get back to the basics and do those things, they’ll be just fine this week.
Missouri Defense vs DeAndre Torrey
North Texas doesn’t have tons of standout players, but DeAndre Torrey is absolutely one of them. Through four games, he’s torn up defenses to a tune of 516 yards and 4 TD’s. He’s been at UNT for four seasons now, and has been effective since he stepped onto campus. This is a massive challenge for the Missouri defense as a whole.
North Texas runs a lot of similar run concepts that Tennessee and Boston College did just with less talent. Still, I have no idea what to expect, or how they plan to stop Torrey, but he’s been the key to their offense and they need to be aware of his whereabouts at all times.
Connor Bazelak vs North Texas’ Defense
Last week may have been Connor Bazelak’s worst game as a Missouri Tiger. There has been a lot made over what he is, or isn’t, but he is absolutely capable of playing better than he did last week. He struggled with a few reads, and was lucky to not be intercepted more than he was. This week sounds like a good chance for him to also get some easy work in and gain some confidence.
North Texas’ defense is just not very good. Plain and simple. In their losses this year, they’re giving up 33 points a game and they’re giving up about 410 yards per game in those losses.
Simply put, this is a good game to put up some stats, and get everybody feeling better about themselves before they play against TAMU.