Published September 13, 2012 - 8:35am
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The Matchup: Arizona State at Missouri
When: Saturday, September 15th
Where: Columbia, Missouri
Game Time: 7:00 PM ET
What you need to know about Arizona State: The Sun Devils have been one of the more impressive teams in the country so far, and the Pac-12 has been an impressive conference as well. Statically, ASU is up there nearly in every category. They enter 2-0, having beaten Northern Arizona and Illinois by a combined score of 108-20. This team can score points under new head coach Todd Graham.
Sophomore dual-threat QB Taylor Kelly, who has thrown for 496 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 69 yards, leads the offense. Backup Michael Eubank will play some too, but largely it will be Kelly calling the shots.
The running game is nasty right now for the Sun Devils. Using six different running backs and two quarterbacks, the rushing attack is a force. Backs Marion Grice, DJ Foster, Michael Eubank, Taylor Kelly and Cameron Marshall all have over 10 carries apiece and 10 total touchdowns.
Watch Chris Coyle at receiver, because he caught 10 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns last week. Expect Mizzou corner EJ Gaines to be matched up with Coyle.
ASU hasn’t beaten a great team yet, but they are improving under Graham. They get their chance against a better Missouri squad.
What you need to know about Missouri: Missouri totes a record of 1-1 coming off their first SEC loss of their young history to Georgia last week. Missouri moved the football, but mistakes and Georgia’s physical defense really cost them late in the second half.
James Franklin will need to be more in tune with the passing attack. Receiver Marcus Lucas and defensive end Brad Madison played well last week. Lucas had six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, and Madison recorded two sacks, both on third down.
The Tigers are gashed on the offensive line, as tackle Elvis Fisher went down with an MCL injury, and that makes three starting offensive linemen hurt either before or since the season started.
However, the passing attack will be fine, and the running game will be strong with Franklin and Kendial Lawrence.
The defense is really the group I look at in this football game. Stopping Todd Graham’s offense is no easy chore, especially ASU’s cast of running backs. I want to see this group play for four quarters this week.
What you need to watch: I’ll be watching the key matchup of ASU receiver Chris Coyle and Missouri corner EJ Gaines. Gaines won’t be lined up with Coyle every play, and he and Kip Edwards will likely switch off. Coyle had a monster week last week, and expect Missouri’s defense to be up for the challenge of defending him. It will be fun to watch.
ASU is pretty explosive on offense, but I like Missouri in this game to get back on track in the win column. This could be an ole’ fashioned shootout we aren’t accustomed to in the SEC.
Nonetheless, this is a very underrated game around the country that could develop into a nice little rivalry.