Missouri Tigers Hit Road for First Real Test
After last season’s disappointing 5-7 season, the Missouri Tigers were certainly hoping for better things in 2013. Through two weeks, it’s so far, so good for Gary Pinkel and his team.
Missouri has beaten Murray State 58-14 and Toledo 38-23 to start 2-0. The first real challenge for the Tigers will be this weekend, when they travel to Bloomington to face the Indiana Hoosiers.
Indiana is 2-1 on the season, with wins over Indiana State and Bowling Green. The Hoosiers’ only loss was to Navy two weeks ago. Indiana has been outstanding on offense so far this season, averaging 50 points per game, which is sixth in the country. However, the Hoosiers have also had trouble stopping opponents, as they are 82nd in the country, giving up 28.7 points per game.
This game will prove to be a formidable challenge for Missouri. First, they must go on the road for the first time this season. Secondly, while Indiana is not a powerhouse, they are a BCS-level team, something Missouri has not seen in either of its first two games.
The biggest challenge for Missouri will be to stop the potent Indiana offense. Mizzou allows only 18.5 points per game, and they will take that mark into the game against the powerful Hoosiers. If Missouri can shut down the Indiana offense, it would certainly build confidence for the squad as they prepare for Southeastern Conference action.
There will also be a challenge for the Missouri offense. Quarterback James Franklin has looked much better through two games this season, and the running attack that features Henry Josey, Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy has literally carried the load on the ground. It will be interesting to see if Missouri is able to run the ball when facing a BCS team.
Missouri hoped to bounce back this season and become bowl eligible. With a brutal SEC schedule awaiting them, this is a game that the Tigers need to win to make that bowl game a reality.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher, on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.