Each game has certain matchups within it that are oh so very important to the outcome— matchups so important 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’s Defense vs Treylon Burks
So, here’s the thing: Treylon Burks is good. He’s so good, he won’t be in school very much longer. Missouri should know this very well, because if you remember, in 2020, Treylon Burks torched the Missouri defense with 10 catches, 208 yards, and a touchdown. That one game against Missouri? It accounted for 25% of his receiving yards on the year.
Now, in 2021, no one should be surprised by this guy. He’s explosive and the type of player who requires extra attention.
Missouri may need to slide their safety over towards his side of the field, or possibly bracket him and they’ll certainly need to have a good line of communication from the linebacker level to the secondary as Burks works against zone coverage. They can’t afford busted coverages against this guy.
They probably won’t stop Burks completely, but limiting him and forcing others on this Razorback offense to beat you has to be a priority.
Connor Bazelak vs The Arkansas Defense
He made the game-winning play last week, and absolutely should be commended for it. After all, it won them the game. Connor Bazelak still has a ways to go, though. He is limiting this offense in certain capacities, and still struggled through the majority of that game.
By now, Missouri has a clear blueprint for how they win games, and it doesn’t include Bazelak doing a whole lot... and that’s okay. He can help his team by not turning the ball over, and avoiding silly penalties like the ones he got against Florida. When he is asked to put the ball in the air, he needs to just focus on completing passes and taking what the defense gives you.
Bazelak doesn’t have to do a whole lot here except execute his role. He’s got to get back to playing within himself and there’s no better time to start than now.
Tyler Badie and the Missouri Offensive Line vs The Arkansas Defense
It was mentioned above that Connor Bazelak doesn’t have to do a whole lot for this Missouri team to win games. Well, the reason that’s the case is because they have an all world talent at running back in Tyler Badie.
Last week, Missouri’s offensive line struggled for most of the game, but found a way to make a few key blocks in the fourth to get Badie going. This week though, they can’t afford to wait two or three quarters to get going. They’ve got to establish a tone early, that they’re here to bully people and impose their will.
Missouri’s got one piece of offense consistently there and that is Tyler Badie. Barry Odom, the guy who recruited him, is going to try and keep him under wraps, and the only way that happens is if this offensive line isn’t winning the line of scrimmage.
When it’s the fourth quarter, and every one knows who the ball is going to, can this offense line create enough space for their All-American to work?