The Missouri Tigers are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2010 after winning on the road against the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday. Now, head coach Gary Pinkel and his team are preparing for their final non-conference game of the season, which takes place on Saturday against Arkansas State in Columbia.
The Tigers are winning with offense this season, much like they did during their time in the Big 12 Conference. Missouri is seventh in the country in total offense, averaging 567 yards per game. The Tigers are eighth in the country in scoring offense, posting 47 points per contest.
Leading the way is senior quarterback James Franklin. During his junior season in 2012, Franklin was injured for nearly the entire season, and he never got a rhythm in Missouri’s first season in the Southeastern Conference. But there is no rust on Franklin in 2013. He is 10th nationally in total offense, averaging 351.7 yards per game. That ranks him above players like Aaron Murray of the Georgia Bulldogs and Teddy Bridgewater of the Louisville Cardinals.
Another big factor for Missouri this season has been their ability to run the ball. The Tigers have four players averaging at least 59 yards rushing per game.
Leading the way on the ground attack is Russell Hansbrough, who has 239 yards rushing (79.6 yards per game). Henry Josey, who missed all of last season with a knee injury has 186 yards on the ground (62 YPG), Franklin has 182 (60.6) and Marcus Murphy has 179 (59.7).
The key for Missouri will be to keep the momentum going this weekend against Arkansas State, and then again when conference play starts the following week. If the Tigers’ offense can remain this potent, Missouri should return to a bowl game in 2013.
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.