It’s mere hours until the SEC Championship kicks off in Atlanta tomorrow afternoon between Missouri and Alabama.

Missouri is more than capable of pulling off the upset over college football’s top-ranked team, but it’s going to take a near-perfect game from the Tigers.

We take a look at what Missouri can do to win all three phases of the game and come away with a historic upset in the SEC’s biggest game.

RELATED: 5 things Missouri must do to upset Alabama


Player to watch: Maty Mauk. Let’s face it, Missouri’s offensive success relies on Mauk’s right arm. He’s not the most consistent quarterback out there, but when he’s on the Tigers are tough to stop. In a game like this that features two very good teams, it’s a matchup that likely goes down to the final quarter before this one is decided. And that’s good news for Missouri fans. Mauk’s fourth-quarter numbers this season may surprise you: 39-68 (57.4%), 586 yds; 8 TDs; 0 INTs. This will be the biggest game of Mauk’s career, but both he and Missouri can’t afford a slow start from the sophomore gunslinger.

Key to the game: Watch the turnovers. Mauk always seems to look for the big play. Sometimes that is a good thing, and other times it’s not so good. As long as Mauk is focused on making good decisions, he should stay away from too many interceptions. He’ll need to pick his spots for big plays throughout the game because Missouri can’t win without them, but if he tries too much, it’ll likely hurt the Tigers in the long run.


Player to watch: Kentrell Brothers. On Missouri’s defense, defensive ends Shane Ray and Markus Golden get most of the attention, but at the next level of the unit, linebacker Kentrell Brothers is also having an outstanding season. With Alabama’s run game, we’ll probably hear his name called a lot tomorrow afternoon considering he’ll be the player responsible for containing TJ Yeldon and Derrick Henry. Brothers is more than capable of stopping those two though, especially with his team-leading 103 tackles and his 6-foot-1, 240-pound frame.

Key to the game: Pressure on the backfield. Stopping the run will be crucial, but Alabama isn’t afraid to pass either, especially with Amari Cooper lining up on the outside. Some push by the defensive line is an absolute necessity for Missouri in tomorrow’s game. If Blake Sims has enough time to throw without much around him, he’s proven he can drop some dimes to his receivers deep down field.

Special Teams

Player to watch: Marcus Murphy. This is a no-brainer on Missouri’s part. Murphy is arguably the most explosive return man in the conference and his three return touchdowns this season proves that notion. He’ll need big plays not only on offense, but if he can at least flip field position a few times during the game, he’ll provide a huge lift for the offense.

Key to the game: Simple — big plays. Whether it’s from Murphy or via a fake field goal or punt, Missouri needs big plays in all three aspects of the game, but nothing quite brings momentum like a big return or a special teams touchdown. The Tigers are a good team, but Alabama is a better team. Big plays will help neutralize the difference in talent and will give Missouri a much better shot at coming away with the school’s first-ever SEC Championship.

RELATED: SEC Championship Game Plan: Alabama