Missouri-South Dakota State football preview

08/28/2014 1:35 PM

08/28/2014 1:35 PM

When/where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Columbia

TV/radio: ESPNU; KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)

The series: First meeting

The line: Off

MISSOURI (0-0)

Date

Opponent

Time

Saturday

South Dakota State

2:30 p.m.

Sept. 6

at Toledo

11 a.m.

Sept. 13

Central Florida

11 a.m.

Sept. 20

Indiana

TBA

Sept. 27

at South Carolina

TBA

Oct. 11

Georgia

TBA

Oct. 18

at Florida

TBA

Oct. 25

Vanderbilt

TBA

Nov. 1

Kentucky

TBA

Nov. 15

at Texas A&M

TBA

Nov. 22

at Tennessee

TBA

Nov. 28

Arkansas

1:30 p.m.

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (0-0)

Date

Opponent

Time

Saturday

at Missouri

2:30 p.m.

Sept. 6

Cal Poly

6 p.m.

Sept. 13

at Southern Utah

7 p.m.

Sept. 20

Wisconsin-Oshkosh

6 p.m.

Oct. 4

at Illinois State

2 p.m.

Oct. 11

Missouri State

6 p.m.

Oct. 18

at Northern Iowa

4 p.m.

Oct. 25

Youngstown State

2 p.m.

Nov. 1

at North Dakota State

2:30 p.m.

Nov. 8

at Indiana State

12 p.m.

Nov. 15

Western Illinois

2 p.m.

Nov. 22

South Dakota

2 p.m.

What’s at stake

Missouri has won 12 consecutive season openers and is 13-0 all-time against Football Championship Subdivision opponents. The Tigers, who are ranked No. 24 by the Associated Press and sit just outside the coaches’ top 25, hope to establish solid footing for the 2014 season much like last season’s 58-14 win against Murray State kicked off a run to the SEC East title.

Cheers if ...

Missouri’s passing game clicks. The Tigers haven’t looked sharp throwing the football at times during preseason practice. Sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk completed only 12 of 31 passes for 131 yards during the final two scrimmages. Missouri should physically dominate South Dakota State in the passing game, both in protection and down the field.

Jeers if ...

South Dakota State is allowed to control the game’s tempo with its run game. The Jackrabbits are led by senior running back Zach Zenner, who is only the second running back in FCS with two 2,000-yard seasons. South Dakota State’s playoff run last season was predicated on a punishing performance by its offensive line. Still, there’s no way the Tigers should get overmatched in the trenches.

Three things about South Dakota State

1 The Jackrabbits are 0-6 in the last six seasons against FBS competition, but South Dakota State played Minnesota tough in 2009 (16-13), hung with Nebraska in 2010 (17-3) and kept it close at Kansas in 2012 (31-17).

2 Zenner is a two-time consensus All-American after rushing for 2,044 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2012 and following up with 2,015 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior. He has six 200-yard games in the last two seasons, including a 202-yard performance at Nebraska last season.

3 South Dakota State will have the more experienced quarterback. Senior Austin Sumner has started 34 games in three seasons for the Jackrabbits. He completed nearly 60 percent of his passes last season, 240 of 408, for 2,999 with 19 touchdowns and only eight interceptions in 14 games as a junior.

Key matchup

Missouri’s offensive line vs. South Dakota State’s defensive line. The Jackrabbits, including senior starting nose tackle Auston LaBlance from Kansas City’s University Academy, don’t have much depth in the trenches, while Missouri wants to set a tone. The Tigers deployed a punishing ground game last season and there’s no better time than the season opener to begin re-establishing a similar identity. Junior Evan Boehm returns at center, but the rest of the line is in flux with new positions or personnel. Building chemistry (and staying healthy) will be key.

MISSOURI OFFENSE

P

No.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

WR

21

Bud Sasser

6-2

220

Sr.

WR

88

Jimmie Hunt

6-0

205

Sr.

LT

65

Mitch Morse

6-6

305

Sr.

LG

70

Anthony Gatti

6-6

305

Sr.

C

77

Evan Boehm

6-3

320

Jr.

RG

73

Mitch L. Hall

6-5

310

Jr.

RT

60

Connor McGovern

6-4

300

Jr.

TE

80

Sean Culkin

6-6

245

So.

WR

8

Darius White

6-3

205

Sr.

QB

7

Maty Mauk

6-0

195

So.

TB

32

Russell Hansbrough

5-9

190

Jr.

K

99

Andrew Baggett

6-1

215

Jr.

MISSOURI DEFENSE

P

No.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

DE

33

Markus Golden

6-3

260

Sr.

DT

89

Matt Hoch

6-5

295

Sr.

NG

96

Lucas Vincent

6-2

300

Sr.

DE

56

Shane Ray

6-3

245

Jr.

LB

10

Kentrell Brothers

6-1

240

Jr.

LB

30

Michael Scherer

6-3

230

So.

LB

25

Donavin Newsom

6-2

230

So.

CB

1

John Gibson

6-0

190

So.

SS

9

Braylon Webb

6-0

200

Sr.

FS

21

Ian Simon

6-0

195

Jr.

CB

11

Aarion Penton

5-10

185

So.

P

92

Christian Brinser

6-2

195

Sr.

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE OFFENSE

P

No.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

WR

80

Trevor Wesley

5-11

175

Jr.

WR

83

Jason Schneider

6-5

225

Sr.

LT

60

Bryce Siverling

6-3

285

Jr.

LG

61

Dylan Seiter

6-3

275

Jr.

C

62

Jacob Ohnesorge

6-3

275

Fr.

RG

71

Nick Purcell

6-3

295

Sr.

RT

66

Trevor Greger

6-5

315

Sr.

TE

85

Cam Jones

6-5

250

Jr.

QB

6

Austin Sumner

6-5

235

Sr.

RB

31

Zach Zenner

6-0

220

Sr.

FB

39

Chad Strehlow

6-3

235

Jr.

K

49

Justin Syrovatka

5-9

200

Sr.

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE DEFENSE

P

No.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

DE

36

Jack Sherlock

6-4

250

Sr.

DT

54

Cole Langer

6-2

295

So.

NT

43

Auston LaBlance

6-3

260

Sr.

DE

91

J.R. Plote

6-3

245

Jr.

LB

7

Jesse Bobbit

6-2

215

So.

LB

33

T.J. Lally

6-0

220

Jr.

LB

15

Dallas Brown

5-11

190

So.

CB

25

Jimmie Forsythe

5-10

185

Jr.

SS

38

Jake Gentile

6-1

205

Sr.

FS

1

Melvin Taveras

5-11

185

Sr.

CB

22

Je Ryan Butler

5-11

180

Jr.

P

9

Ethan Sawyer

6-2

205

Sr.

Tod Palmer’s pick: Missouri 45-10

Missouri shouldn’t have any trouble handling South Dakota State. The Tigers are going to be the far more athletic team, which should pave the way for a rout. Historically, Missouri has dominated FCS opponents, winning by an average margin of 49-10 in 13 previous meetings. Since coach Gary Pinkel arrived in 2001, that average margin is roughly 51-8 in 10 games.

| Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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