Each game has its 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’s Wide Receivers vs Central Michigan’s Secondary
Missouri comes into this season with a lot of expectations for this group. With the additions of Mookie Cooper and Dominic Lovett, the return of Keke Chism and a full offseason to really grasp the offense, that makes a lot of sense. This is a big game as far as establishing some confidence in not just the receivers themselves, but the connection that they have with QB1, Connor Bazelak. I wonder if we’ll see a lot of quick game, especially early in the game to get some of their timing down and to get everybody comfortable.
This will be interesting to see against a Central Michigan secondary that was pretty bad last year. They were 123rd in the country allowing 9.4 yards per pass, and 119th in the country in pass yards per game at 297.2 yards per game. Now, this group is returning a lot of these same players and there is talent there, so we’ll see if there’s any improvement.
Missouri still is the more talented group, and should be able to move the ball through the air well but getting the rhythm and timing down in what should be a pretty good crowd is going to be really important, given the gravity of their matchup next week in Lexington.
Coach Drinkwitz vs TBA?
This was slated to be a battle of really talented offensive minds. Say what you will about Jim McElwain, but he’s a really talented as a play caller and can really orchestrate good offense. I would also make that same assessment of Eli Drinkwitz who really does have a stake to claim as one of the more creative offensive minds in football.
Unfortunately, after McElwain was rushed into surgery for an emergency appendectomy, that matchup is looking less and less likely. Associate Head Coach Tim Skipper will be taking his place should McElwain not be able to make it back in time to coach.
Obviously, having your head coach, who is also involved in your offensive game plan not be there will be a benefit to Missouri but I wonder how they adjust for not having a known commodity guiding their opponent.
Central Michigan’s Offense vs Missouri’s Defense
This is an interesting matchup to me simply because it’s a battle of unknowns. Both of the coordinators in Steve Wilks and Kevin Barbay are in their first year and it’s hard to get a read on how they’ll want to do things exactly. Central Michigan was a solid offensive team in 2020, and though they are missing some personnel, they still figure to be a capable offense. with their QB Jacob Sirmon who is a former 4-Star recruit and Washington Husky.
Missouri is breaking in new players at linebacker, corner, and safety which isn't a bad thing considering the players that are being “broken in”. Blaze Alldredge, JC Carlies, Kris Abrams-Draine are all new starters and there’s a world where it takes a quarter or two for them to settle in.
I expect Missouri to take care of business, but I am curious to see how much Central Michigan’s offense can make Missouri sweat.
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