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 the three most important matchups regarding an individual or even between position groups.
1st Down: Missouri’s WRs vs Louisiana Tech’s Secondary
This receiving corps has had Missouri’s fanbase excited all offseason. The overall level of talent in the room has gone up, and with it the expectations. Signing the number one wide receiver in a cycle will do that. It’s not just Burden, though. This room features a pair of sophomores in Mookie Cooper and Dominic Lovett who are absolutely ready to burst onto the scene themselves. Our Ol’ Reliable guys, Barrett Banister and Tauskie Dove, are still around to lead this group as well.
In week one, I just want to see some fireworks. Louisiana Tech isn’t a loaded defense by any means, so I want to see them really try and push the ball down field and get everybody involved. That’s a nice way to get everyone's confidence high ahead of their road matchup next week.
2nd Down: Brady Cook vs Louisiana Tech’s Defense
He earned the job. Didn’t flinch at the competition. Is the undisputed QB1.
Great! Now, it’s time to play.
The feel good stories won’t last if the production isn’t there. Not that I expect Louisiana Tech to necessarily prevent him from getting his game off, but it’d be nice to get off on the right foot.
I’m sure the staff knows where he’s comfortable and where he isn’t. I’d expect them to keep it pretty vanilla and not show much of their hand but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cook’s legs used in the running game more often. Like I said with the receivers though, I want to see them push the ball down the field. Maybe even catch the defense sleeping early on in the game.
3rd Down: Louisiana Tech’s Running Game vs Missouri’s Front 6
Missouri’s biggest problem last year was how their front 6 stopped the run. Undisciplined play from the defensive tackles, slow footed linebackers and an overall underwhelming display of effort really tanked the season early on.
I think I speak for all fans when I say it needs to be different in 2022.
That starts in the opener. Even in last year’s season opener against an inferior opponent, Missouri’s defense was ran all over.
For what it’s worth, I think it will be. This defense SHOULD be better against the run. There’s an influx of talent on the interior defensive line, as well as the addition of Ty’Ron Hopper at linebacker. It’s just that after last season, I need to see some proof of concept.