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Abilene Christian Wildcats Preview

Missouri gets a get-right game against an FCS opponent. Time to feast.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Abilene Christian at Jacksonville State Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After getting pummeled by a school that wears purple and has a wildcat as a mascot, Missouri gets to play another purple-clad wildcat squad. Here’s hoping this time the end result is better than the first go around.

Here’s the preview I did for Abilene Christian in May. Head Coach Keith Patterson has been active in the transfer portal, latching on to P5 wash-outs looking for a new start at a lower level and he’s successfully worked a few into the starting 22. Here are the notable starters that were playing at the FBS level last year:

  • Quarterback - Maverick McIvor - Texas Tech
  • Wide Receiver - Tristan Golightly - Kansas
  • Left Tackle - Reese Moore - Texas
  • Center - Femi Sakiri - UConn
  • Cornerback - Triston Anderson - Arkansas State
  • Safety - Abner Dubar - Minnesota

It’s not much but it’s certainly better than what most FCS squads bring to the table, and there have already been 6 FCS-over-FBS upsets so far this year.

But that shouldn’t happen this Saturday. And if it does, then go ahead and burn the whole thing down.

Let’s look at the keys to the game:

When Missouri Has the Ball

Missouri’s Offense vs. Abilene Christian’s Defense

Clearly Missouri is the superior team in terms of talent. Patterson and junior defensive coordinator Skyler Cassity have concocted a defense that ranks 23rd in FCS and has held their first two opponents to 14 points or less. That will most likely change after this week. They are, roughly, about as good as Louisiana Tech’s defense that made a few plays but were overmatched most of the game. Here are the keys for Missouri’s offense.

Play Your Young Guys

I understand that the starters will, naturally, get the start and play in the 1st quarter and probably most of the 2nd quarter as well. However, I/we already know what they look like and they don’t need any more reps against what is, essentially, a team of walk-ons. Get some of that talent from the greatest recruiting classes Missouri has ever seen on the field pronto.

Play Your Young Guys

I’m not joking. Missouri should be up three scores by the end of the 1st quarter and if Abilene Christian is seriously hemming in the Tiger offense, then the starters have bigger problems than playing time. I want to see Sam Horn, Tavorous Jones, Mekhi Miller, Valen Erikson, Tristan Wilson, and every backup on the team see significant, extend playing time.

Finish your da...just kidding, PLAY THE YOUNG GUYS

I’m serious.

When Abilene Christian Has the Ball

Missouri’s Defense vs. Abilene Christian’s Offense

I mentioned in May that Patterson made a dynamite hire in pulling offensive master mind Stephen Lee away from his Mary Hardin-Baylor dynasty and into the OC chair at ACU. The problem is that ACU was a run first-second-and-third team last year and they’re transitioning to a warp-speed air-raid offense that, currently, ranks 101st in the FCS. So what can Missouri do to add to the frustrations of these Wildcats?

Play Your Young Guys

Do it! I like what the transfers have done for this year’s squad and I enjoy Blake Baker’s scheme. However, 13 of the defensive two-deep could be gone after this year (14 if Hopper the Younger declares for the NFL early) and we need to see what the younger guys can do. I want to see D.J. Wesolak, Marquis Gracial, the Walker boys, Travion Ford, Jalen Marshall, Zach Lovett, Xavier Simmons, Marcus Scott II, Tyler Hibbler, and Ja’Marion Wayne all have extended playing time over significant series.

Play Your Young Guys

Eli. I’m begging you.


Missouri will win. If they don’t then the season is, essentially, over. Play the youth, give them experience, keep them engaged, prepare for Auburn.