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 Offensive Line vs Georgia’s Defensive Line
Last week, despite the loss to Auburn, the Missouri offensive line showed some signs of life for the first time this season. There was a genuine change in play from what we had seen so far this season. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better.
This week, a new challenge: The Georgia Bulldogs.
No one is asking them to dominate the Georgia defensive line, but it would be good to see Missouri’s offensive line come out and at least make them work hard. I’m interested to see what it looks like with Connor Wood at right tackle and if Mitchell Walters can make an impact at right guard as well. They may be outmatched, but there’s no reason that Missouri’s offensive line can’t match Georgia for at least a small portion of time. Pretty much, I’d just like to see continued progress and some fight, even if the game does get out of hand at some point.
2nd Down: Missouri’s Defensive Line vs Georgia’s Offensive Line
Missouri’s defensive line has shown up to play in the early portion of this season and really impressed for the most part. Like the offensive line though, Georgia is a completely different story.
Kirby Smart talked this week in his press conference how Missouri’s front impressed him last season when they shut down Georgia’s run game in Athens and I think that underscores what this group can be capable of if everyone is on their “A” game. I’m more optimistic about the defensive line because not only do they have depth, but unlike last season, they also have size. That is particularly apparent in the interior defensive line which has made a complete flip in their play since last season.
They can compete with this group, but can they sustain it?
3rd Down: Dominic Lovett vs The Georgia Secondary
Pretty much every secondary that Missouri has faced this year, has been lit up by Dominic Lovett. Even in the losses too. His 66 yard performance against Kansas State was actually his lowest output of the season, but every other game this season, he has been imposing his will on defenses. Lovett has shown a variety of ways to win on the outside or in the slot and that’s what makes him special.
This week is almost like a boss battle though.
Georgia will be the best defense that Missouri plays all year and you can bet that they have emphasized who Lovett is and where they can find him on the field. If he can continue to win 1v1’s and find ways to get open against THIS particular defense, then we may have to have a resetting of expectations for Lovett and what he can become while at Mizzou.