Missouri travels to face Indiana in battle of potent offenses
Saturday, September 21, 2013
COLUMBIA — Missouri has seen this show before.
Two offenses, 98 points per game and the desire to play as fast as possible.
When the Tigers take the field today at Indiana (7 p.m., Big Ten Network) the style of game may hearken fans and players back to the days of the Big 12.
“It’s exciting like I said, taking us back to the Big 12,” Missouri cornerback E.J. Gaines said.
Although it’s a small sample size, there is no doubt Missouri’s and Indiana’s strengths come on the offensive side of the ball.
The Hoosiers (2-1) put up 73 points against Indiana State, 35 against Navy and 42 against Bowling Green. Their goal under head coach Kevin Wilson, who was an offensive coordinator at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops, is to play as fast as possible.
“They are a very, very potent team,” Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said. “Their quarterback, (Nate Sudfeld), I’m very, very impressed with him.”
Although three quarterbacks have played this season for the Hoosiers, Sudfeld has been the most impressive. He’s completed 70 percent of his passes for 917 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“We’re still going to try and look and use the strengths of all three quarterbacks,” Wilson said.
Sudfeld, a sophomore, was one of the top quarterbacks in California coming out of high school according to ESPN. He got his first start of the year last Saturday against Bowling Green.
“Some of the playcalling and execution has worked and he’s kind of taken advantage of it,” Wilson said.
The question becomes can either team stop the other. Missouri has shown flashes of a bend-but-don’t-break style of defense.
The Tigers allowed nearly 200 yards of total offense in the first quarter against Murray State before settling down and holding the Racers to just 14 points.
Toledo moved the ball effectively against Missouri at times, but the Tigers’ defense stiffened inside the red zone. Toledo settled for two field goals and turned the ball over twice inside the Missouri 25-yard line.
The Hoosiers were less than impressive on defense in their opener against Indiana State when they allowed 34 points. They were even worse against Navy, which rushed for 444 yards and defeated the Hoosiers 41-35.
The Tigers are hopeful to exploit Indiana’s run defense today. Missouri (2-0) ran for 358 yards against Murray State but failed to get much going on the ground against Toledo with just 172 yards rushing. Of those, 77 came from quarterback James Franklin.
But with a lot of offense expected, both secondaries are likely to be busy.
“There’s a lot of pressure put on us,” Gaines said. “As a secondary, that’s fun, that’s what we really get paid to do as a secondary.”
Notes: A Missouri victory would tie Pinkel with Dan Devine for the second most wins in school history (93). Don Faurot is first with 101 wins. ... Indiana leads the series 6-2-2. ... The Hooisers have been to just one bowl game in the last 20 years (the 2007 Insight Bowl) ... The two teams have not played since 1992. ... This is the only matchup this season between an SEC and Big Ten school.
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