The First Look – Missouri
I would have done a second look at Mercer, however, I didn’t watch the game so that would be unfair. So let’s move straight into Missouri.
AUBURN vs MISSOURI
Saturday marks the third time that these two tiger teams have faced off, however, it is the first time that it will be on either campus. This first matchup was a 34-17 Missouri win in 1973 in El Paso, Texas. The second matchup….well…this video should suffice as an explanation for the second matchup:
Amazingly enough, Auburn and Missouri have both scored 76 points against each other. However, if Missouri wins, it will be the 666th win in school history, assuredly making this victory because of the devil.
BY THE NUMBERS
Missouri has recently been known for a dominant defense and a dynamic offense. While the latter is still true (mostly), the former has taken a big step back.
This is where Auburn far outmatches Missouri. In terms of Scoring Defense, Missouri ranks 113th (36.3 PPG) while Auburn ranks 11th (10.3 PPG). Total Defense is another big advantage for Auburn. In terms of Yards Per Play (the best metric to measure the effectiveness of a defense), Auburn ranks 1st in the country with 3.18 YPP, while Missouri ranks 94th with 5.88 YPP. As far as rush and pass defense goes – Missouri ranks 92nd (172 YPG) and 99th (270.7 YPG) respectively. Auburn, on the other hand, ranks 12th (88.67 YPG) against the rush and 9th (113 YPG) against the pass.
Also of note, Missouri has allowed 15 touchdowns through 3 games (9 rushing, 5 passing, 1 KO return) which ranked them 112th in the country. Auburn has allowed 4 touchdowns through 3 games (2 rushing, 1 passing, 1 fumble recovery) which ranks 17th in the country.
As we all know, this is another story. Auburn’s offense needs to prey on this Missouri defense. Auburn ranks 100th (23.7 PPG) in Scoring Offense, 102nd (5.16 YPP) in Total Offense, 62nd (178.33 YPG) Rushing, and 79th (209 YPG) in Passing. In those same categories, Missouri ranks 75th (29,3 PPG) in Scoring Offense, 11th (7.35 YPP) in Total Offense, 58th (180.67 YPG) Rushing, and 26th (299.7 YPG) Passing.
This is where every Auburn fan’s criticism of the team is based. The ineffectiveness of the offense has been palpable all season. Against Mercer, Stidham had a lights-out game by the numbers alone, the major problem of the game was 5 fumbles (3 inside Mercer’s 30). If Auburn can continue to turn the corner and the players EXECUTE as they’re supposed to, then we will see these ranks and numbers steadily rise.
HOW AUBURN WINS
Like most other games in the SEC, this game will be won on the line of scrimmage. Auburn has no problems providing pressure (6th in the nation in TFL and 13th in the nation for Sacks). Missouri is no slouch either: 22nd in TFL and 33rd in Sacks.
Auburn’s offensive line needs to step up and have a big game. Auburn’s line has allowed 5 sacks per game which is ranked 127th in the nation. Granted, 11 of those were against Clemson, but Missouri’s defense can cause problems if the line isn’t gelled together. Missouri’s offensive line ranks 10th in the nation with .67 sacks per game, but they haven’t faced a front like Auburn all season.
Missouri has a solid group on their offensive line which makes their passing game very good. Auburn needs to disrupt the passing game and create opportunities for the secondary. Conversely, Auburn needs to protect the quarterback.
Auburn’s defense is able to get through and cause problems for Missouri’s offense. Jarrett Stidham and company continue to find a rhythm and build on last week and start to make more believers. Auburn wins this one 35-14.