Friday, September 30
Gameday Preview: Texas at Missouri
Game Time: 11:00 a.m. CST
Stadium: Faurot Field (68,349); FieldTurf surface
TV: ABC Sports (Regional)
Rankings: UT (#2 coaches/AP) / Missouri (Not Ranked)
Records: UT (3-0) / Missouri (2-1)
Statistics (National Ranking)
Total offense: Missouri 553 ypg (6) / Texas 485 ypg (11)
Rushing offense: Missouri 287 ypg (3) / Texas 297 ypg (2)
Passing offense: Missouri 266 ypg (31) / Texas 188 ypg (86)
Scoring offense: Missouri 43.7 ppg (12) / Texas 45.3 ppg (9)
Total defense: Missouri 362 ypg (60) / Texas 234 ypg (8)
Rushing defense: Missouri 131 ypg (62) / Texas 97 ypg (29)
Passing defense: Missouri 232 ypg (64) / Texas 136 ypg (9)
Scoring defense: 27.7 ppg (73) / Texas 11.7 ppg (9)
Fumbles-Lost: Missouri 3-3 / Texas 10-2
Interceptions thrown: Missouri 3 / Texas 4
Turnover margin: Missouri -1.0 (96) / -0.67 (85)
Texas travels to Missouri to take on the Tigers in both teams’ Big 12 opener. In fact, with the 11:00 kickoff, it’ll be the opening kickoff to the 2005 Big 12 season altogether. The Horns will aim to play better than they did last year when Missouri came to Austin and gave the Horns a game before falling 28-20. In that game, Vince Young was pretty bad and Texas turned the ball over three times.
Not this year. Missouri has a nifty little offense that runs on the athletic talents of quarterback Brad Smith, but this team is in no position to beat Texas. For one thing, the Texas offense is better this year, as Vince has evolved since the first half of last year into the superstar player we see now. Young is never going to be an elite passer, but he’s still the most dangerous quarterback in the Big 12. I just don’t see how Missouri is going to prevent Texas from scoring. The rushing attack of Jamaal Charles and Vince Young is too good, and the passing game is improved.
On the other side, I’ve been more than impressed with Gene Chizik to start this year, and while we may not completely shut down Missouri, it’s hard to imagine them scoring enough to keep pace. I expect us to bring a variety of blitzes at Brad Smith to confuse him, then use the speed of our defense to contain him from getting free on scrambles. Gene Chizik likes a small, fast, aggressive unit, and that’s what he’s got. It’s the best kind of defense against players like Brad Smith, and I expect he’ll have a frustrating day.
The only way Missouri can stay in this game is if Texas turns the ball over too many times. Costly fumbles or interceptions returned for scores could give Missouri a chance, but otherwise, it’s going to be a Texas victory. Texas is favored by 15 points in this one. I like them to cover and improve to 4-0 against the spread on the year. Texas travels to Columbia and leaves with a victory, 38-14.
I have a feeling this game is going to be a closer than people think. Meaning, I think the outcome will be in doubt well into the second half.
Of course, I think Texas will win, but here’s how I see things playing out.
I think Missouri opens the game strong. This could be the highlight of their season. Hosting the #2 team in the country in an early kickoff, with Texas bound to be rusty coming off two bye weeks (one official plus the Rice game), is about as much good fortune as the Tigers could hope for.
I think Texas coaches will want to win this game running the ball and not take any chances by putting the ball up, no matter what Mack said earlier this week about passing it more. I think Missouri will be ready for this, even though they’re dressing only five linebackers. This approach could lead to a sluggish first half by the Horns.
Plus, Brad Smith is good. He’ll have solid numbers this game. Troy Smith gave Texas some problems in the Ohio State game, and Brad Smith had Missouri in position to possibly steal a win at DRK last year.
I would not at all be surprised to see Missouri leading at the half, but over four quarters I think Texas’ o-line will wear the Tigers down. I think Vince will connect for at least one TD pass of over 50 yards in the second half (perhaps off play-action) and Brad Smith will make a mistake late that will help Texas secure the victory.
The 14-point spread is about right. Let’s say Texas 37, Missouri 21.
Saw that you guys were into UT Football...we have a new blog across the way about the Texas Longhorns Vmag....it's a video magazine that's delivered every week to your computer. But in our vlog we have clips from the locker room and position meetings...we are seriously with Mack and the guys behind closed doors. If you get a second, cehck it out at http://utvmag.blogspot.com...it's very cool stuff. Once you check that out, you can always subscribe to the Vmag too. First issue's free and it's stuff you won't get anywhere else. Thanks for checkin it out!
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