A series of random tidbits and observations:
- Given the level of opposition during their three-game win streak, you’d think the Tigers would be showing marked improvement in their offensive stats as time went on. While that’s certainly the case with the ground game — the last three months’ average yards per rush figure has climbed from 3.65 to 4.46 to 7.18 — that hasn’t been so with Bazelak’s passer rating over that time.
- That being said, Missouri sure isn’t shy about throwing the ball. The offense is averaging 41 pass attempts per game during the win streak. It’s also running the ball almost 37 times per game, which adds up to a heckuva lot of offensive plays per game. By comparison, Georgia is averaging about 60 plays per game over its last three, and allowing opponents about 67 plays per game over that time. In other words, tempo control will be something to watch.
- Over at the Mizzou site Rock M Nation, there’s a preview post looking at some advanced stats that will need to go the Tigers’ way in order to have a shot at the win: (1) “The Tigers will need to keep the rushing success rate under 45% and their standard downs success rate under 40% to force Georgia to do the thing that they’re slightly less good at: passing.”; (2) “If Missouri is at least +2 in the turnover department they’ll have a chance.”; (3) “… the Tigers will need 8 to 10 explosive plays to help create scoring opportunities or tilt the field to put Georgia’s offense in bad positions.”; (4) “All I’m looking for is a better third-down conversion percentage than Georgia; it’s not a guaranteed recipe for victory but it will be a good sign if it can happen.”; and (5) “If the Tigers hit their season-average of 4 points per trip they’ll need to generate at least 10 scoring opportunities OR average 7 points over 5 scoring opportunities.”
- My thoughts on those five? (1) Monken has shown a propensity since Daniels was inserted into the starting lineup of taking what the opposing defense gives him; (2) Missouri’s turnover margin, at minus-3, is worse than Georgia’s, so a +2 might be a tad overly optimistic; (3) As I mentioned previously, both teams have been solid limiting big plays this season, with Georgia first in the conference at yielding plays of 20+ yards, which means I think explosive plays are going to be tough sledding for both sides; (4) I can’t argue with that one, but as my previous post noted, Daniels has been deadly on third downs (and honestly, Bennett wasn’t bad on those, either); and (5) See my point about tempo, above.
- I was nervous about this already, and Jake Rowe makes me even more so: “The Bulldog linebackers, both inside and outside, are going to be challenged and Mizzou has the weapon to do it in Tyler Badie. He has hauled in 23 passes for 314 yards and three scores this year and has a 100-yard game to his credit against Vanderbilt. His speed and quickness could give the Bulldogs problems.” I hope Rowe hasn’t misspelled “will” there, but I’m not sure.
- Matt Hinton notes the extent to which Arkansas shredded Missouri’s defense last week: “This time around the Tigers are more concerned with their defense, which was just ripped to shreds by Arkansas for a season-high 566 yards (292 rushing, 274 passing) in a 50-48 shootout.” Mind you, that was with Franks’ backup getting his first start of the season after having attempted a whopping two passes beforehand. On the other hand, Matt is probably right that Georgia isn’t going to run the 84 plays the Hogs did.
- One last point from the RMN post: “It’ll be interesting to see if Georgia comes out ready to play after a forced bye-week or if they’re more interested in getting back home during a cold a rainy day in Columbia.” It’s a fair point and it’s one reason I’d like to see Daniels and the receivers shoot off some more fireworks, to get the team excited. I’m sure Kirby knows he needs to find a way to keep his team motivated, but whether they’re listening is another story.