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Defensive Breakdown: Missouri Tigers



The Mountaineers first road game of the year will be in Columbia, MO as they face SEC foe Missouri Tigers.

Last season, Missouri’s rush defense was nationally recognized as they ranked 22nd in the country for only allowed 126.5 rushing yards per game and 32nd for allowing just 3.7 yards per rush attempt. Well after their first game against Wyoming, it looked as if Missouri had a completely new defense. Wyoming’s quarterback, Sean Chambers, only threw for 92 yards on six for sixteen attempts, but the Cowboys rushed for 297 yards against the Tigers, which included a 61-yard touchdown and a 75-yard touchdown on back to back series.

The Tigers did have a 14-0 lead on Wyoming, but due to turnovers from the offense, and lackluster tackling, they saw themselves on the losing side of a 37-31 game. The fact that Wyoming rushed for so many yards on Missouri isn’t exactly a surprise due to the fact that the Cowboys ranked as the 26th best rushing attack in all of college football last season. The surprise was that Missouri has a solid defensive scheme that is set to slow down the run game and brought back big time names that have experience.

This season, the Tigers are switching to a 4-2-5 defensive scheme which will focus around linebacker Cale Garrett their leading tackler, and their stout defensive line. Garrett is one of the better middle linebackers in the SEC and he is teamed up with Nick Bolton. However, these are the only guys who will see significant playing time, as the remaining linebackers are underclassmen.

Jordan Elliott, the Texas transfer, had a strong 2018 season and will take a lead role on the d-line along with defensive ends Chris Turner and Akial Byers, it will be tough to run on these boys especially after giving up so many yards last week, they will be playing mad.

The Tigers secondary is probably the strongest unit of the defense as they return four starters who are all upperclassmen and have SEC experience. Demarkus Acy led the team in interceptions last season. He is paired up with Christian Holmes at the cornerback position who started the last eight games last year and was the team leader in pass break-ups with twelve. Tyree Gillespie is their best safety and is a strong leader vocally and intellectually. Teamed up with Ronnell Perkins, these safeties read the field very well and will look to cause turnovers. As said earlier, they only allowed 92 yards passing against Wyoming so they will look to have a repeat of that against West Virginia.

Despite not having the best game against JMU, the Mountaineers have a strong running game, and all running backs will have to find the holes when they come and make the most of their opportunities. The offensive line will have to give Austin Kendall time and let him read the field. Missouri will be bringing the heat on Kendall and the running backs all game and will force the Mountaineers to beat them with big plays which they are very good at limiting. This will be the home opener for the Tigers, so expect a loud and rowdy crowd to give this defense some energy.

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