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Mizzou’s 4 most pivotal games of the 2022 season

Every game is important in college football, but these four matchups are going to be key for Mizzou’s bowl hopes, conference reputation, and more.

Missouri v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

While every game matters, there are a couple of games on Mizzou’s 2022 schedule that stand out amongst the rest. These four games will go a long way in determining how successful this upcoming campaign is for the Tigers.

Kansas State vs. Mizzou Photo by Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Kansas State Wildcats

Where: Manhattan, KS

When: September 10th, 2022

2021 Record: 8-5

Past 3 Results vs. Mizzou: KSU 24-17 (2011), Mizzou 38-28 (2010), Mizzou 38-12 (2009)

Best Players: Deuce Vaughn (RB), Felix Anudike-Uzomah (DE), Daniel Green (LB)

Analysis: Mizzou’s premiere nonconference game of the season will be a battle of former Big 12 North division foes. The Tigers will venture to Manhattan, Kan. to take on Kansas State, a program that is notorious for being physical, well-coached, and gritty. One thing is guaranteed in this one: The Wildcats are going to take the fight to Mizzou. How the Tigers respond will be the key in this game.

At home against an SEC opponent, the Wildcat faithful will be electric, and the team will respond in suit. Containing Deuce Vaughn is priority number one, as he has the ability to take over a game on his own with a couple of explosive runs. However, to actually win this game, Mizzou will have to prove that they are improved in the trenches, because Chris Klieman would be more than happy with just whipping the Tigers in the trenches and winning a low-scoring affair. This is an incredibly important game for the Tigers, not just for bowl outlooks, but also to prove that they are a rising team in the SEC. Losing this game, much like last year’s Boston College loss, would mean an uphill battle entering conference play.

Reason Mizzou Will Win: Tigers speed up Kansas State and are able to hold their own up front.

Reason They’ll Lose: KSU gets constant backfield penetration and keeps this game in the low 20s.

Early Prediction: Mizzou 27 | Kansas State 24

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 06 Missouri at South Carolina Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

South Carolina Gamecocks

Where: Columbia, SC

When: October 29th, 2022

2021 Record: 7-6

Past 3 Results: Mizzou 31-28 (2021), Mizzou 17-10 (2020), Mizzou 34-14 (2019)

Best Players: Spencer Rattler (QB), Josh Vann (WR), Brad Johnson (LB)

Analysis: The Gamecocks and Tigers have had a tradition of playing close, back-and-forth games since Mizzou joined the SEC, as they have constantly been jockeying for position in the East. This season will be the same, as both of these programs look to be on the rise in the conference and anticipate improved seasons. Oklahoma transfer Spencer Rattler brings some excitement to the QB position for the Gamecocks, as they look to be much better on the offensive side of the ball. The Mayor’s Cup will decide a lot about how these two teams place in the East, and which young head coach can get a leg-up in building their programs.

Reason Mizzou Will Win: Tigers get out to a fast start and limit explosive plays.

Reason They’ll Lose: Atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium becomes overwhelming.

Early Prediction: South Carolina 31 | Mizzou 21

Missouri v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kentucky Wildcats

Where: Columbia, MO

When: November 5th, 2022

2021 Record: 10-3

Past 3 Results: UK 35-28 (2021), Mizzou 20-10 (2020), Kentucky 29-7 (2019)

Best Players: Will Levis (QB), Jacquez Jones (LB), J.J. Weaver (DE/LB)

Analysis: While South Carolina has played Missouri tough over the years, nobody has done it like Kentucky. From the 2018 pass interference call, to a 2017 shootout, to the 2021 near-comeback, the Wildcats have been a thorn in the side of Missouri. They’ve won six of the past seven meetings, many of which in dramatic fashion. To prove that this program is improving, Eli Drinkwitz needs to take down Kentucky.

It will be no easy task, as the Wildcats are a talented and well-coached group that will give every team they play 60 minutes of hell. Will Levis is getting a lot of buzz as one of the top quarterbacks in the country, but it was the UK running game that torched Mizzou last season. As one of the last four games of the year, this will likely be a big one for the Tigers’ bowl hopes.

Reason Mizzou Will Win: Hold Kentucky to under 150 yards rushing.

Reason They’ll Lose: Kentucky’s balanced attack overwhelms the Tiger defense.

Early Prediction: Mizzou 28-17

Missouri v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Arkansas Razorbacks

Where: Columbia, MO

When: November 25th, 2022

2021 Record: 9-4

Past 3 Results: Arkansas 34-17 (2021), Missouri 50-48 (2020), Missouri 24-14 (2019)

Best Players: KJ Jefferson (QB), Jadon Haselwood (WR, Transfer from Oklahoma), Bumper Pool (LB)

Analysis: After years of domination in the rivalry, Arkansas exacted some revenge on Mizzou last season. Now, the Razorbacks look to start a winning streak of their own in the series, and Sam Pittman’s bunch is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the SEC this season. KJ Jefferson is one of the better QBs in the conference, and he has a host of weapons returning around him. They’re appearing in a lot of top 15 or even top 10 in preseason rankings, so this will be a tough one for the Tigers.

Reason Mizzou Will Win: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.

Reason They’ll Lose: Jefferson has a great game and the Mizzou offense can’t keep up.

Early Prediction: Arkansas 35 | Missouri 21