After 251 days of no Missouri college football, we will all once again be able to watch Missouri play college football.
Here’s the preview I did on South Dakota back in April. There hasn’t been a lot of chatter about the Coyotes this year with very few stories or roster updates from the Sioux City Journal or any other regional-based outlets. So a lot of my roster projection here is based on scant notes and returning production; there’s a good chance I get this wrong but...hey, it’s the season opener against an FCS opponent. We all have to start the season somewhere!
FCS teams beat FBS team. It happens, and can happen on Thursday. But Missouri has never lost to an FCS team, and worse Missouri teams than the ‘23 squad have beaten better FCS teams than ‘23 South Dakota. So, you shouldn’t worry.
Or, if they do lose, fire Drinkwitz, burn the program to the ground, etc.
Let’s look at the keys to the game:
When Missouri Has the Ball
How the recruiting services ranked you coming out of high school doesn’t always mean much by the time you’ve played three to four years of college football. But, if it did, Missouri’s offense would put up 70 games in a half against this defense. The Coyotes defense has some playmakers, particularly linebacker Stephen Hillis and safety Myles Harden, but Missouri should absolutely overwhelm them in less than 30 minutes. And that’s even with the juggling of two quarterbacks throughout the game
So, much like last year’s FCS preview, here’s what Missouri’s offense needs to do beat the defense...
Play Your Young Guys
There’s enough new starters and/or guys playing different positions this year that I do want them to get live reps against guys that are actively trying to make you lose. However, Missouri has also built up a ton of depth - specifically at receiver - and won’t always have an opportunity to trot those guys out. So, please, do so.
When South Dakota Has the Ball
South Dakota’s offense was impressively bad last year, so much so that they lifted the receivers coach from their most hated rival - South Dakota State - and are entrusting him to modernize the offense with a bunch of unranked dudes who were recruited to run power out of the I-formation. The receivers are also getting a hard reset as are the offensive tackles. Missouri should feast here, period.
And...say it with me...
Play Your Young Guys
Figure out what you have at edge. Play all your talented interior defensive linemen. Show me what the backup linebackers can do, especially since Chad Bailey is out for the first quarter of the season. And let’s see what the backup defensive backs can do since most of the starters will be gone next season. Let everybody have some fun, please!
Missouri will win. If they don’t then the season is, essentially, over. Play the depth, give everyone experience, figure out what you have at quarterback and defensive end, and enjoy a beautiful night of Mizzou football being back.