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.
Connor Bazelak vs Boston College Secondary
Boston College isn’t loaded with NFL players in the secondary, but they are pretty talented and also do some very interesting things to try and confuse the quarterback. There’s a lot of different looks and disguises that they’ll use in a given week. There’s a lot of movement in and out of the box by safeties and linebackers, and against Temple last week, it gave their offense problems.
Bazelak is a really nice player, but better players have been fooled by a defense that looks like cover two blitz, but is in reality cover four. Especially when they are very deliberate about how much they choose to disguise what they do. In a road environment, where the BC crowd will no doubt be into the game, I’m extremely interested to see what kind of poise Bazelak will show.
Missouri Offensive Line vs Boston College Defensive Line
My expectation is that Missouri will have Case Cook back this week, and will be at full strength along the offensive line. That’s obviously a good thing because last time Missouri played a power five team, they really struggled to be able to run in between the tackles. If you can’t run your bread and butter, (inside zone) it just shrinks your playbook that much more. Missouri needs to fire off the ball and get to the next level to get their inside run game going.
Missouri’s pass blocking has been, for the most part, good. Through three games, they’ve given up just three sacks and two of them were in week one. For Missouri to win this game, they’ve got to find a way to keep Bazelak upright, and minimize his hits throughout the game so that he can concentrate on diagnosing the defense. For the record, I like the matchup for Missouri, but there’s so much that can go wrong when you go onto the road against an unfamiliar opponent.
Missouri Defense vs Boston College Running Game
It is a very simple concept.
Missouri has been very bad against the run aside from one first half against SEMO. Boston College, is a pretty good running team. I wonder what they’ll try to attack? Coach Drink seems to understand that as well:
“We struggled with it, so I would anticipate that they’re gonna copy exactly what Kentucky did against us and see if we fixed it,” Drinkwitz said. “Until you stop it, that’s what you’re gonna get. I don’t think it’s gonna be a secret what they’re gonna do. It’s a matter of whether or not we’ve learned our lesson.”
If Missouri’s defensive line continues to get washed out of gaps, and play undisciplined football, they are probably going to lose this game. If Missouri’s linebackers can’t fill gaps, and be disciplined with their keys, it’s going to be difficult for them to win this game. This is not a scheme issue, this is an execution issue.
The defense, when it comes to stopping the run, NEEDS to execute for Missouri to win.