Each game has certain matchups within it that are oh so very important to the outcome. Matchups so important that they can be the difference between a win and a loss. For every game this season, I’ll be taking a look at what I consider to be the three most important matchups regarding an individual or even between position groups.
Missouri’s Defense vs Spencer Rattler
The Spencer Rattler experience has been an uneven one thus far. He ranks in the bottom half of the conference in most passing stats, has turned the ball over at a pretty alarming rate (5:8 TD to INT ratio), and has struggled through periods of inaccuracy.
Missouri’s defense, however, has established that it is top 20 unit, and there’s more than enough evidence to support that. Like last week, it would behoove Missouri to be aggressive and try and keep Rattler off balance. They can’t allow him to get into a rhythm with easy throws underneath the zone coverage.
With the offense, well...being the way it is, this defense needs to hold South Carolina to roughly 14 points, and doing that means that the defense will have to give Rattler some problems and maybe even force a turnover or two.
Brady Cook vs South Carolina’s Defense
Dude, so here’s the thing:
Brady Cook isn’t the sole reason this offense is a steaming pile of garbage. They’ve had some major issues with the offensive line, and the coaching at times has left something to be desired. The issues are not and have not ever been about one singular person.
That said, Brady Cook is one of the major issues with this offense and it starts with the turnovers. The fumbles against Vanderbilt aren’t necessarily good, but they aren’t really his fault. The offensive line failed him. Where the offensive line didn’t fail him though, was the mind numbingly bad interception early in the 1st quarter that was intended to be a throw away (editor’s note: it was indeed horrifying, and right in front of my face). Those throws cannot happen. He has to find a way to take care of the ball. Period.
Missouri’s offense has a margin of error that is basically at zero. They can’t afford turnovers, penalties and miscues because this unit just isn’t impressive enough to overcome those mistakes. That means the guy who touches the ball every play, has to take care of it. Any chance of a Missouri victory for the rest of the year will hinge on these questions:
“Did Brady have a turnover and if so, how many?”
Missouri’s Offensive Line vs South Carolina’s Front 6
I want you to see a few stats:
The SEC rushers who've been hit behind the line of scrimmage the most on designed runs ahead of WK9— Clark Brooks (@SEC_StatCat) October 27, 2022
1. N. Peat
2. R. Davis
3. T. Bigsby
4. D. Achane
5. J. Gibbs
6. M. Lloyd
7. Q. Judkins
8. C. Rodriguez
8. R. Sanders
10. C. Shraderhttps://t.co/aT2Nv78Q8J pic.twitter.com/1z4jAV35qE
The SEC offenses that are the best at moving backwards in league play in standard time ahead of WK9— Clark Brooks (@SEC_StatCat) October 27, 2022
11. Miss State
12. Ole Miss
14. Tennesseehttps://t.co/ZenJMliWIG pic.twitter.com/RYHppyc0Q1
As an offensive line, it just hasn’t been good enough. This offensive line allows too much penetration and there are far too many flat out “whiffs” with this group as well. Against a South Carolina defensive front that will allow you to run on them (97th in CFB in Rush yards allowed) the offensive line has to show up and try and establish the run game. At this point, it’s a matter of pride. You can’t get pushed around by Vanderbilt up front and then come out soft the next week.