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Three and Out: New Mexico State

Matchups to watch ahead of Missouri’s senior day matchup against New Mexico State.

Missouri v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

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 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.

1st Down:

Missouri’s Offensive Line vs NMSU Defensive Line

I just need to see this offensive line push someone around a little bit.

For weeks and weeks, we’ve seen this offensive line play against equal or better units and be pushed around for the most part. With the exception of the game against South Carolina, we haven’t seen them really own a game yet this year. This could be that week!

They’re playing a mediocre opponent who has been solid playing at a lower level, but against an SEC team, should struggle. So, if there ever was a night to push people around, it would be this weekend. I’m looking to see if this unit can piece together some of their run game the way they have in the past couple of seasons. More outside zone and fewer negative plays.

Also, if they’re able to get up a reasonable margin... I’d love to see some of the younger guys for a few series...

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV. 05 Kentucky at Missouri

2nd Down:

Brady Cook vs NMSU Defense

This week, I commented that against Tennessee, Brady Cook played the best we’ve seen him play all season. Unfortunately, it just didn’t really matter. His best game didn’t matter against a team who could score points.

Still though, his game last week is absolutely something he can build on. He had no turnovers and was a big factor on the ground using his legs. I feel pretty confident that Cook will be able to replicate his success on the ground, but where I get concerned is in the passing game. Cook has been so up and down throughout the year, it’s hard to know what to expect from him in the passing game. I feel like we’re all still waiting on the game to slow down for him.

Cook is still the quarterback and in the big picture, he’s still developing as a player. He can and probably will continue to get better, but that really starts with him stringing together solid performances. Here’s another chance to do just that.

3rd Down:

Missouri’s Tight Ends vs NMSU Defense

Missouri will be missing tight end Tyler Stephens this week, and this is an opportunity for the younger tight ends on the roster to get some developmental snaps. The primary two to receive snaps will probably be Kibet Chepyator (graduate) and Ryan Hoerstkamp. (RS-Fr.) Still, Missouri’s got a couple of younger tight ends they could get work in as well. Gavin McKay, who was in the same class as Hoerstkamp, is still on the roster. As is Max Whisner, the true freshman out of Kansas City.

The Tight End position has been deemphasized this season due to the drop-off they’ve had in the talent and experience at the position. With a manageable opponent, this is a good opportunity to get those guys reps who haven’t been able to get on the field. At a certain point, Drinkwitz and his staff needs to begin to develop some of these players for the future.

NCAA Football: Abilene Christian at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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