By Tiger Fan
Let’s not beat around the bush: There’s no reason the Tigers should lose this weekend. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. The only way it happens is if they are completely overlooking KSU in anticipation of next week’s showdown against OU… and even then, I think the Tigers could wake up in time for the second half and still win by a touchdown. If anything, Mizzou should be more focused than usual coming off the loss to A&M.
The line is Mizzou by 16.5, but let’s give some credit where credit is due: K-State has won 13 straight against the Tigers, so I don’t think it will be the cakewalk that some are predicting. However, these aren’t Bill Snyder’s Wildcats. They started the season by squeaking out a one-point victory at home against
All that being said, I hope the Tigers wipe the floor with KSU on Saturday. I’ve only been around for the last five losses, but it was five too many. Now, on to the preview:
KSU fans were quite excited when Ron Prince arrived last December to lead the Wildcats. They envisioned big things from the former UVa offensive coordinator and he started off on the right, putting together a solid recruiting class and stealing Josh Freeman away from
The K-State defense has faired much better. In two match-ups vs. top 10 offenses (
The Tigers are ranked No. 15 in the nation in total offense and they average 32 points/game. Chase Daniel continues to prove he is a stud. I think it is pretty clear that if the offense manages to hold onto the ball (particularly at the goal line, Will Franklin), they can rack up the points. As for K-State… yikes. They rank 93rd in total offense and 93rd in rush offense. They fair slightly better in the passing game (No. 59), but that probably has more to do the fact that they have been playing from behind several times this season. The position players are okay – and true freshman QB Josh Freeman (who will be making his second career start on Saturday) certainly has potential – but none of that matters when your offensive line is terrible… and K-State’s line is terrible. Brian Smith and Co. should have a blast this weekend.
Mizzou’s special teams unit runs hot and cold (See: Adam Crossett’s 79-yard punt last week… followed by a 39-yard shank). The Tigers’ net punting game ranks No. 91 in the nation. Not to be outdone, the Wildcats come in at No. 94. The bad news for the Tigers is that K-State has a superior return game (and I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembers the damage done by Wildcat punt returners in the past). They rank No. 2 nationally in kick-off returns and No. 38 in punt returns. It should surprise no one that the Tigers aren’t even close. KSU kicker Jeff Snodgrass is just 10 of 15 on the season, but probably has more range than Wolfert. Meanwhile, Wildcat punter Tim Reyer averages more than 40 yards a punt.
The Tigers should end more than a decade of futility on Saturday. They have superior athletes and superior coaching. Isn’t it nice to be able to say that about a Tiger team? The only thing that could get in the way would be overconfidence. But if Pinkel’s boys have any pride, they will come out looking for blood on Saturday to avenge the last 13 years. I think the KSU defense will keep it closer than we would like, but the Tigers will win on Homecoming, 24-10.