Barry Odom after loss to Wyoming
Kickoff: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Missouri
Radio: KMBZ (98.1 FM)
The line: Missouri by 12
Five things to know
This is a must-win game for Missouri: The Tigers had one of their best offseasons in the history of the program and squandered their momentum by losing to Wyoming. Attendance for the home opener might suffer as a result and MU is debuting its new south end zone facility as well as quarterback Kelly Bryant to fans. An 0-2 start would have a terrible ripple effect for an athletic department in need of revenue.
West Virginia struggled to run in week one: Context is key, as the Mountaineers faced James Madison, the Vegas favorite to win the FCS championship. West Virginia rushed for 34 yards on 24 attempts and WVU coach Neal Brown said on Monday that tailback Leddie Brown is questionable for the MU game. Missouri allowed nearly 300 yards on the ground at Wyoming after being so strong against the run in 2018.
Barry Odom is at his best when left for dead: After losing to Kentucky in 2018, many fans called for Odom’s job and he responded the following week with an upset win at No. 13 Florida. Missouri tends to play better after a tough loss and given the implications, MU should come out hot.
Do the starters pick it up?: The puzzling part of MU’s loss at Wyoming was that most of MU’s top players were the biggest culprits. Cale Garrett admitted after the game that he missed tackles he absolutely had to make and Larry Rountree’s uncharacteristic fumble took a touchdown away from MU and spotted Wyoming three points. If the Tigers are going to play up to their talent it has to start with their established players.
What does the secondary look like?: Barry Odom praised Tyree Gillespie and Josh Bledsoe throughout preseason camp and said the duo could be two of the best safeties he ever coached. Both struggled on Saturday and the cornerbacks weren’t really tested once the Cowboys started having success with the run. West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall, an Oklahoma transfer, threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns against JMU and will likely air it out more than Wyoming. How do DeMarkus Acy and Christian Holmes respond?