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: Luther Burden vs Kansas State Secondary
After week one, I think it’s safe to say that Luther Burden is him. That much was clear.
He’s going to get a nice challenge, however, and face a step up in competition from this Kansas State secondary. Both of K-State’s starting cornerbacks are redshirt seniors, as are their safeties. It will be interesting to see a player as young as Burden take on such an experienced group of guys.
This week, I think Missouri needs him to be more of a threat in the passing game. There were a lot of nice designed touches in week one, but not a lot in terms of passing. Hopefully, more downfield concepts will help that.
2nd Down: Missouri’s Defensive Tackles vs Kansas State’s iOL
Missouri has an experienced group of defensive tackles who need to capitalize on facing an interior offensive line who is down a starter at right guard. Winning this battle may be the most important part of the game when you take into account how important the interior offensive line is to Kansas State’s rushing attack.
Last week, this unit showed a lot of promise in their win against Louisiana Tech. They had a nice rotation of guys flowing in and out and everybody seemed to be on the same page. It was really impressive to see that group look as cohesive as they did. However, to win the game or even have a chance, they’ll need to continue their play and even raise it on Saturday.
3rd Down: Deuce Vaughn vs Missouri’s Front 6
Deuce Vaughn is quite possibly the best running back in the country and Missouri needs to at least limit him a little bit in order to win this game. To do that, their defensive line needs to get consistent penetration and keep offensive lineman off of the linebackers behind them. As a linebacker, dealing with Vaughn is trouble enough, but to deal with without offensive lineman flowing up to the second level to chase you... That’s a tough ask.
I say limit, because I don’t really think he can be stopped. However, I do think this defense can slow him down on early downs and force Mr. Midpack himself, in Adrian Martinez to throw the ball on second or third and longs.
That is the recipe for a victory.
LIMIT Deuce Vaughn.