Missouri-Mississippi football preview

11/21/2013 8:56 PM

11/21/2013 8:56 PM

When/where:

6:45 p.m. Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.

TV/radio:

ESPN; KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)

The series:

Missouri leads 5-1

The line:

Missoury by 2 1/2

What’s at stake

For Missouri, a spot in the SEC championship game. It must win its final two games, at Mississippi and at home against Texas A, to win the SEC East outright and earn a berth in the conference title game Dec. 7 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. If the Tigers lose either game, South Carolina, which handed Missouri its only loss in double overtime, plays for the SEC title.

Cheers if

Missouri quarterback James Franklin is sharp. Franklin hasn’t started the Tigers’ last four games because of a sprained shoulder, but he resumed throwing three weeks ago and got in some extra work during the bye week. Through the first six games, Franklin had completed 67.7 percent of his passes. If he’s accurate and has velocity on his throws, Missouri will be tough to stop.

Jeers if

Missouri struggles to get to Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace. When Wallace has time to throw, he’s been lethal. After managing just two sacks in three of four previous games, the Tigers racked up seven sacks Nov. 9 at Kentucky. A similar performance could put a serious damper on The Grove’s party atmosphere.

Three things about Mississippi

1 The Rebels are rolling right now on offense. Last week against Troy, Mississippi racked up a school-record 751 yards, which is the fifth-most in SEC history. Coach Hugh Freeze’s offense has topped 500 yards in four straight games.

2 Mississippi’s defense has also improved, allowing 389 yards or fewer in the last four games. The Rebels, who are in the midst of a six-game homestand, outgained LSU 525-388 on Oct. 16 and nearly knocked off Texas A

3 The Rebels are young, having played 12 true freshmen this season, which ranks as the 11th-most among FBS programs. Six true freshmen have started this season for Mississippi.

Key matchup

Missouri’s wide receivers vs. Mississippi’s secondary:

The Tigers are banged up on the outside with senior L’Damian Washington (toe) and sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham (ankle) both dealing with nagging injuries. Against a secondary that has allowed only nine passing touchdowns in 10 games led by junior free safety Cody Prewitt, who is tied for the SEC lead with four interceptions, Missouri needs to win those downfield battles outside for Franklin.

Tod Palmer’s pick: Missouri 31-20

Mississippi has won four straight games, including a victory against LSU, since a three-game slide with losses to Alabama, Auburn and Texas A The Rebels are a dangerous team, especially at home. Of course, Missouri has so much to play for and has a more experienced team. Franklin’s return also provides a psychological edge.

MISSOURI (9-1, 5-1 SEC)
Date Opponent Result/time
Aug. 31 Murray State W, 58-14
Sept. 7 Toledo W, 38-23
Sept. 21 at Indiana W, 45-28
Sept. 28 Arkansas State W, 41-19
Oct. 5 at Vanderbilt W, 51-28
Oct. 12 at Georgia W, 41-26
Oct. 19 Florida W, 36-17
Oct. 26 South Carolina L, 27-24 (2OT)
Nov. 2 Tennessee W, 31-3
Nov. 9 at Kentucky W, 48-17
Saturday at Mississippi 6:45 p.m.
Nov. 30 Texas A 6:45 p.m.

MISSISSIPPI (7-3, 3-3 SEC)
Date Opponent Result/time
Aug. 29 at Vanderbilt W, 39-35
Sept. 7 Southeast Missouri W, 31-13
Sept. 14 at Texas W, 44-23
Sept. 28 at Alabama L, 25-0
Oct. 5 at Auburn L, 30-22
Oct. 12 Texas A L, 41-38
Oct. 19 LSU W, 27-24
Oct. 26 Idaho W, 59-14
Nov. 9 Arkansas W, 34-24
Nov. 16 Troy W, 51-21
Saturday Missouri 6:45 p.m.
Nov. 28 at Mississippi State 6:30 p.m.

MISSOURI OFFENSE
P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
WR 15 Dorial Green-Beckham 6-6 225 So.
WR 2 L’Damian Washington 6-4 205 Sr.
LT 68 Justin Britt 6-6 315 Sr.
LG 61 Max Copeland 6-3 300 Sr.
C 77 Evan Boehm 6-3 315 So.
RG 60 Connor McGovern 6-4 310 So.
RT 65 Mitch Morse 6-6 305 Jr.
TE 81 Eric Waters 6-5 245 Sr.
WR 85 Marcus Lucas 6-5 220 Sr.
QB 1 James Franklin 6-2 230 Sr.
TB 20 Henry Josey 5-10 190 Jr.
K 99 Andrew Baggett 6-1 215 So.

MISSOURI DEFENSE
P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
DE 52 Michael Sam 6-2 255 Sr.
DT 89 Matt Hoch 6-5 295 Jr.
NG 96 Lucas Vincent 6-2 305 Jr.
DE 47 Kony Ealy 6-5 275 Jr.
LB 10 Kentrell Brothers 6-1 240 So.
LB 48 Andrew Wilson 6-3 240 Sr.
LB 8 Donovan Bonner 6-1 245 Sr.
CB 31 E.J. Gaines 5-11 195 Sr.
FS 17 Matt White 6-0 195 Sr.
SS 9 Braylon Webb 6-0 205 Jr.
CB 7 Randy Ponder 5-10 195 Sr.
P 92 Christian Brinser 6-2 200 Jr.

MISSISSIPPI OFFENSE
P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
WR 12 Donte Moncrief 6-3 226 Jr.
LT 78 Laremy Tunsil 6-5 315 Fr.
LG 68 Justin Bell 6-3 345 So.
C 56 Evan Swindall 6-4 301 Sr.
RG 74 Jared Duke 6-7 377 Sr.
RT 71 Pierce Burton 6-6 290 Sr.
TE 34 Nicholas Parker 6-0 239 Jr.
WR 1 Laquon Treadwell 6-3 215 Fr.
WR 85 Ja-Mes Logan 6-3 183 Sr.
QB 14 Bo Wallace 6-4 209 Jr.
RB 3 Jeff Scott 5-7 162 Sr.
K 96 Andrew Ritter 6-3 216 Sr.

MISSISSIPPI DEFENSE
P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
DE 95 Bryon Bennett 6-2 270 Jr.
DT 5 Robert Nkemdiche 6-5 294 Fr.
NT 56 Woodrow Hamilton 6-3 300 So.
DE 55 Cameron Whigham 6-3 255 Sr.
LB 14 Sederius Bryant 5-9 215 Jr.
LB 38 Mike Marry 6-3 250 Sr.
LB 12 Tony Conner 6-1 210 Fr.
CB 21 Senquez Golson 5-9 193 Jr.
SS 7 Trae Elston 6-0 190 So.
FS 25 Cody Prewitt 6-2 220 Jr.
CB 28 Mike Hilton 5-8 182 So.

Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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