2014 Preview: Week 4 Missouri Tigers

The Hoosiers look to exact some revenge on Missouri in Week 4 Image Source: Bloomington Herald Times

The Hoosiers look to exact some revenge on Missouri in Week 4

Image Source: Bloomington Herald Times

Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)

The Hoosiers are back on the road for the second consecutive game in Week 4 when they travel west looking for payback as Indiana will face the defending SEC East champion Missouri Tigers.
Week 4: Missouri Tigers
Time & Date: TBA, Saturday, Sept. 20th
Venue: Memorial Stadium (Columbia, MO)
TV: TBA
Tigers at a Glance:
Head Coach: Gary Pinkel (13th year 102-63)
Last Season: 12-2 (7-1)
Tigers Returning Leaders:
            Passing: Matty Mauk (51.1%, 1,071 Yds, 11 TD, 2 INT)
            Rushing: Russell Hansbrough (714 Yds, 6.0 Avg, 4 TD)
            Receiving: Bud Sasser (361 Yds, 13.9 Avg, 1 TD)
Preseason Magazine Predictions:
Phil Steele: 4th in the SEC East
Lindy’s: 4th in the SEC East
Athlon’s: 4th in the SEC East
Sporting News: 4th  in the SEC East
Why the Falcon could win:
Like Bowling Green the in Week 3 the Missouri Tigers had a season to remember, capturing the SEC East division crown and a victory in the Cotton Bowl in route to a 12-2 season.  One of those 12 wins was in Bloomington against the Hoosiers, 45-28.  The Tiger offense started slow, but put up 623 yards of offense.  The defense played well enough to win and forced three turnovers, while shutting out the vaunted Hoosier offense in both the first and third quarters.  Mizzou quarterback Matty Mauk has some experience and put up solid numbers in limited playing time last season as James Franklin’s back up and running back Russell Hansbrough returns after putting up 103 yards on just 13 carries last season against IU.  Marcus Murphy also returns for the Tigers giving them a two-headed monster in the backfield.  
Why They Won’t Pull it Off:
Mizzou loses a ton of talent on both sides of the ball.  Gone are former starting quarterback James Franklin and leading rusher Henry Josey.  Also not returning to the Tiger’s offense is former top recruit Dorial Green-Beckham (8 rec 105 yds vs. IU in 2013) who was dismissed from the team earlier this year.  One would have to think that the offense will take a step back.  The defense is hard hit by departures as well.  The Tigers lose two of their top three tacklers in Andrew Wilson and EJ Gaines, while also losing former SEC defensive player of the year Michael Sam and Kony Ealy from their stand out D-line.
Final Analysis:
This will be the toughest of the four non-conference games for the Hoosiers in 2014. However, this game is winnable, more winnable than last season’s match up because of the losses in personnel for the Tigers. Nate Sudfeld should be better protected after getting battered in 2013 against the vaunted Mizzou defensive line. The down side about the match up this year is that the Hoosiers will have to travel to Missouri and face a hostile “SEC” crowd. This is definitely a swing game for the Hoosiers as they have a shot at entering Big Ten play with a huge statement win. A loss here wouldn’t doom the season, but it will slow some of the momentum heading into a brutal conference schedule.