Matchups: Week 10

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Quarterback: David Ash had his best game of the season last week against Texas Tech. Although he only threw seven passes, he completed four of them for 125 yards and ran four times for 59 yards. He threw some nice deep balls that he will complete more of with experience. His performance last week was very reminiscent of Daryle “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica and the ’70s Oakland Raiders with its vertical passing attack. Missouri is running a different style with a mixture of the spread and west coast offense that involves a lot more passing. They use James Franklin to also serve as dual-threat runner to keep the defenses honest. He is completing 62 percent of his passes, and Missouri ranks sixth in the conference in passing, so the Tigers utilize a more balanced offense than other schools. Franklin should definitely have the statistical advantage in this one, and will have more opportunities to make plays.

Advantage: Missouri

Running back: This game will feature the two premier rushing attacks in the conference. Missouri has the No. 1 running back in the Big 12, Henry Josey. And Texas is the No. 1 rushing team in the country, rushing for more than 246 yards per game. These two are the top rushing teams in the conference, but they have two varying styles. Missouri features Franklin as a dual-threat quarterback as well as Josey, who is a smaller back. Both will pick up yards in space and off the edge. Texas, meanwhile, is very much more a downhill running team that picks up yards up the middle with Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron. Whittaker and Monroe take over in their package to create more misdirection in the run game, but Texas is still a downhill team at the core. Both teams are good on the ground, but Texas features more weapons in the backfield.

Advantage: Texas

Wide receivers: Of these teams, Missouri has the more sophisticated passing attack. Almost half of the total passes have gone to two receivers for the Tigers. T.J. Moe is their leading receiver with 44 receptions for 547 yards and four touchdowns. One of the most dangerous for the Tiger’s passing game is their tight end Michael Egnew. He is their second leading receiver with 42 catches for 432 yards and two touchdowns. He creates mismatches on the field which should giver Missouri the edge at this position. Texas’ receivers were a little thinner last week with Shipley out, but he is expected to return against the Tigers, and will add another weapon to the passing game. He will combine with Mike Davis to be the primary threats for the Longhorns. An x-factor for the Longhorns could be Darius white. He caught a 32-yard touchdown pass against Texas Tech, and could provide a dangerous deep threat for the Longhorns.

Advantage: Missouri

Offensive Line: Since the drubbing this unit suffered against Oklahoma, the Texas offensive line has been getting better each week. The center of the line has been particularly good, with Dominic Espinosa, and guards Mason Walters and David Snow providing a punch right up the middle of the opposing defenses. Freshman Josh Cochren has taken over the left tackle spot, and has already proven himself a valuable addition. The line has paved the way for more than 400 yards rushing in the last two games. Missouri’s offensive line has been about the same. Although Missouri is rushing for 245 yards per game, the line has given up a sack in all but one game, and in total, has given up 53 tackles for loss.

Advantage: Texas

Defensive Line: After being much maligned for the first half of the season, the Texas defensive line has finally come to life, and is starting to get the kind of pressure that Texas fans had gotten used to the past couple of years. Defensive ends Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat have been getting into the backfield both against the run and the pass, and are starting to get to the quarterback. The tackles are getting active, too, and even converted running back Chris Whaley is getting into the fold as he single handedly shut down a screen play against Texas Tech. Missouri is 60th in the nation in rush defense giving up 150 yards per game. The Missouri defensive line has made 66 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and has made 18 sacks. In order for the Tigers to be able to pull the upset in this game, the defensive line will have to be more stout against the run, and make Ash win the game.

Advantage: Texas

Linebackers: The leading tackler for the Tigers is sophomore linebacker Andre Wilson. He has 70 tackles on the season, and has led the team in tackles in four games. He has his best games against running teams like Texas. Against Kansas State, he paced both teams with 13 tackles, including nine solo tackles — more than any other player in the game. He will lead the Tigers’ defense against the stout Texas rushing offense. The Longhorns are led by Emmanuel Acho, who has led the team in tackles in five out of their eight games. He reached double-digit tackles in each of those five games. Against Missouri with a mobile quarterback like Franklin, the linebackers will have to play a major role to stop the running game, as well as snuff out all the underneath routes.

Advantage: Texas

Defensive Backs: The Tigers are 85th in the nation in pass efficiency defense and are 103rd in the nation against the pass, giving up 268 yards per game. They have gotten their hands on eight passes this season, but are still giving up large chunks of yards through the air. Fortunately for them, Texas is not a prolific passing team. Although Texas Tech passed for 381 yards last week, the Red Raiders were kept out of the end zone until there was just more than three minutes left in the third quarter with Texas up by 32 points. The Longhorn defensive backs got their hands on a few passes but weren’t able to pick off any passes. Dropped interceptions are one of the most important “stats” in football. They keep the defense on the field and give the offense a second chance. Fortunately for Texas, the Red Raiders couldn’t take advantage of those opportunities.

Advantage: Texas

Special Teams: Whittaker is proving dangerous even without touching the ball. Teams are trying not to give the ball to Whittaker after his two kick return touchdowns, and they are giving up good field position in the process. Texas has not been able to do much with punt returns this year, but with as many weapons that the team has back there, it’s only a matter of time before they get a return, or a block that turns into a score. Justin Tucker has made every extra point this year, and has only missed on field goal all season. Missouri’s kicker, Grant Ressel, had made all of his extra points but is only hitting 56 percent of his field goals. The Tigers switched to Trey Barrow, who has made two out of three field goals. The Tigers are 104th in kickoff returns and has not scored on a return. In a close game, special teams could make the difference, which Texas has the clear advantage in.