Missouri football: Breaking down the Tigers' matchup with Boston College
When you look at Saturday’s matchup between Missouri and Boston College, you notice a few things. First, both teams are pretty good offensively. Also, one school is stronger defensively than the other. Finally, one school has played a stronger schedule than the other.
But which school will have the advantage come Saturday? Let’s examine the factors that will decide the winner of this game.
Both Missouri and Boston College come in with high-powered offenses. However, BC took a huge blow when starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec hurt his hand and is likely out for the season. Jurkovec, who was a transfer from Notre Dame, had revitalized the Eagles’ offense.
Last year, Jurkovec threw for 2,558 yards and 17 touchdowns, and he started off this year with 303 yards and 3 touchdowns against Colgate before he was injured in the first series in the UMass game. He had been the first BC QB to throw for more than 300 yards 4 or more times in a season since current Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
But he is gone for the year, and now the Eagles will use senior backup Dennis Grosel. Grosel did start 7 games in 2019, throwing for 983 yards and completing 48 percent of his passes. Simply, he’s not as good as Jurkovec.
How the quarterback change will affect BC, who knows. But it should be an advantage for Mizzou, which not only has quarterback Connor Bazelak but running back Tyler Badie, who is 2nd in the SEC in rushing with 345 yards.
The Eagles also have a pretty good running back in Patrick Garwo III, who has rushed for 237 yards this season. But the injury to Jurkovec will hurt BC.
Balance has helped the Mizzou offense a lot. The maturity of Bazelak at quarterback has allowed Badie and the running game to open up, and it should serve the Tigers well against BC.
If the offense has been a surprise for the Tigers, the defense has been a disappointment. Missouri is ranked 114th in the FBS in total defense. The Eagles’ defense is ranked 14th.
Keep in mind, however, that BC has built up those stats against Temple, Massachusetts and Colgate, not exactly world-beaters. Mizzou will be the first real test this defense has had, and it won’t be easy. So basically, we won’t know how good the Eagles are until Saturday.
They will be tested, and the same can be said for the Tigers. But with the injury to Jurkovec, they won’t have to face an NFL prospect, just his backup, who may or may not be as good.
The Tigers should be able to take advantage of Grosel’s inexperience, and they might be able to throw a few things at him that he may not have seen before. Staring down Blaze Alldredge might be a nightmare for Grosel.
The Eagles may, however, be able to run on the Tigers with Garwo as Kentucky’s Chris Rodriguez did a few weeks ago.
But missing Jurkovec is huge, and Mizzou needs to take advantage of it. With that being said:
Before Jurkovec’s injury, the advantage in this game would have gone to BC. Now that he is gone, Mizzou should be in the driver’s seat. It has the better quarterback and the better running back, and although the Tigers do have a questionable defense, it should be able to take advantage of the Eagles’ injuries.
The unknown factor is the defenses. One has played a soft schedule and hasn’t really been tested; the other has been tested and despite that still almost came into this game with an undefeated record.
This game may all come down to which defense will step up when called on, especially if this turns into a back-and-forth affair with these high-powered offenses. Don’t be surprised if that is what happens, and it may come down to one play that makes or breaks one team.