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West Virginia vs Missouri Preview



West Virginia Mountaineers (1-0)


Missouri Tigers (0-1)

Team Stats

Points Per Game20.031.0
Points Allowed Per Game13.037.0
Total Yards294.0537.0
Yards Passing260.0423.0
Yards Rushing34.0114.0
Yards Allowed328.0389.0
Pass Yards Allowed156.092.0
Rush Yards Allowed172.0297.0


Location: Columbia, MO (Memorial Stadium)

Kickoff: 12:01 pm est


Announcers: Roy Philpott (play by play), Kelly Stouffer (analyst), Lauren Sisler (sideline)

Weather: High 82º Low 66º Sunny


This Saturday will mark the seventh meeting between Missouri and West Virginia. Mizzou won the first two meetings in 1926 and 1937 by a combined score of 40-0. WVU has won the last three out of four, with the loss coming in the Bowl 34-31 in 1998. Most recently, the Mountaineers opened the 2016 season with a 26-11 win over the Tigers in Morgantown.

The West Virginia Mountaineers are coming off their season home opening win against James Madison last weekend. They head to Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers this Saturday at noon who are coming off a 37-31 loss on the road to the Wyoming Cowboys.

West Virginia defensive coordinator Vic Koenning was the DC in Wyoming from 1997-1999 before becoming the head coach for the next three years. West Virginia head coach Neal Brown and Koenning talked about “some of the effects that the elevation has on teams” and believed that played a roll in the Tigers loss.

“The other thing is too, you just never know what you’re going in opening games,” continued Brown. “They didn’t play their best, but I fully expect to see an entirely different team when we line up and play in Columbia on Saturday.”

After their first two offensive series, Mizzou led 14-0 before Wyoming outscored the Tigers 27-3 in the second quarter. The Cowboys racked up 297 on the ground, 167 of them came in the second quarter.

“I got a lot of respect for (Missouri head coach) Barry Odom,” Stated Brown. “I think if you look at his tenure, I think he’s in his fourth year there as a head coach. Anytime they’ve had adversity, his team has always responded in a big way and I expect them to that this Saturday and play a lot better brand of football.”

Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant leads the Tiger offense. As a junior, Bryant led Clemson to a 12-1 record and the number one overall ranking in the college football playoff following an ACC Championship win over No. 7 Miami. Clemson lost in the opening to game to Alabama 24-6.

Bryant threw for 2,802 yards on 65.8% (262-398) and 13 touchdowns on the season. He also rushed for 665 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In the first game as a Missouri Tiger, Bryant went 31-48 (64.6%) for 423 yards and two touchdowns.

“I think he wants to prove himself as a passer and I thought he did a nice job of that last week,” said Brown.

Missouri has two homerun hitters at running back in Larry Rountree and Tyler Badie. Rountree was placed on the Doak Walker watch list at the beginning of the season after rushing for 1,216 as a sophomore.

Tyler Badie is their all-purpose back and made the All-SEC freshmen team last season. He ran for 53 yards and had 49 yards receiving versus Wyoming.

Nine different receivers caught a pass last week but Beal Brown sees two big-time players in that unit.

“At receiver, (Johnathon) Johnson, their leading receiver returns,” stated Brown. “He does a really good job in the slot creating space and then (Jalen) Nance who transferred from Arkansas had two touchdowns last week and he’s a big explosive player.”

All-American at tight end Albert Okwuegbunam had 43 catches for 466 yards and six touchdowns in nine games last season before a season-ending shoulder injury. He had three catches for 72 yards last week.

The Mizzou offensive line has top-tier talent. Center Trystan Colon-Castillo is on the Remington Trophy watchlist. Right guard Wallace-Simms is a preseason All-American and didn’t commit a penalty or allow a sack last season in over 1,000 snaps. Left tackle Yasir Durant is a third-team All-SEC selection by the coaches. He only allowed eight QB pressures in 951 snaps, good enough for best in the conference.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Jordan Elliot is a handful at 310-lbs. He was named second-team All-SEC last season and recorded two tackles in the opening game.

“He’s difficult to move in the run game,” stated Brown. “He’s one of the best pass rushers in the country from the interior spot.”

Middle linebacker Cale Garrett was the teams leading tackler last season with 112 tackles and began the season with 16 at Wyoming.

“(He’s) Really smart,” commented Brown. “(He) Does a nice job getting downhill. (He) Does not miss very many tackles.”

Cornerback DeMarkus Acy leads the secondary. He earned All-SEC second-team honors in 2018 with three interceptions and 10 pass breakups.

For West Virginia, there is still a lot of questions that have to be answered. The running game appeared to be the backbone going into the season with all the talent returning in the backfield but the Mountaineers only mustered up 34 yards rushing against James Madison.

In what Neal Brown described as “severely below-average blocking across the board” is concerning, to say the least. The Mountaineer offensive line outweighed the Dukes by an average of 54.7-lbs. Although they didn’t run any complicated schemes, they didn’t win the point of attack and the coaching staff sited their lack of physicality.

Oklahoma transfer quarterback Austin Kendall had a solid opening weekend, despite slightly missing on some deep balls. He took two big hits early but stayed poised in the pocket and was able to hit the intermediate passes.

Defensively for the Mountaineers, they started off slow; however, the defensive line got stronger, created havoc in the backfield and limited James Madison to just 13 points, also making two big defensive stands in the final four minutes of the game.

It’s hard to tell exactly how West Virginia will look in their first road game of the season. There really isn’t much to base this team off of after what was described as a purposely “vanilla” offense in game one. However, their calm demeanor stood out and Brown doesn’t expect his inexperienced team will be effected playing on the road.

“The first road game to me is not as big a deal as your first game of the season, explained Brown. “I thought our guys settled down and played better in the second half on Saturday. I think we got a lot of the nervousness out in this first game. I don’t think going on the road, other than just handling the travel, will be that big of a deal for those guys.

Turnovers are always a factor and if there is one thing you can take away from the first game, the Mountaineers took care of the ball. WVU had no turnovers while creating three. Missouri had three turnovers last week in their six-point loss.

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