Know Your Foe: Missouri

Much like last week, Arizona State will meet a non-conference opponent it faced in 2011, and the Sun Devils are naturally hoping for similar results as the ones they experienced on Saturday. What kind of challenge awaits them in Missouri? ShowMeMizzou's Publisher JP Rock answered Sparky's Huddle members' questions on ASU's next opponent.

How well do you think Missouri played on both sides of the ball in a loss to Georgia? Were the two fourth quarter turnovers just great plays by the visitors or poor play by the Tigers?

JP Rock: "The Tiger defense came out and played great at the start of the game. There was a time in the 3rd quarter where Georgia seemed to make some adjustments on offense and the Tigers didn't execute quick enough to handle it which led to a couple of scores. Otherwise, they had a solid performance.

The offense came out flat and took awhile to get going. Once they got on track and went to a more up tempo pace, they had success and put the Georgia defense on its heels scoring 20 points in the first half, but leaving as much as 17 to 20 points on the field due to turnovers, mistakes and lack of execution.

The game changed on the 4th and 11 fake punt call early in the 4th quarter. The Bulldogs fed off of it and it seemed to deflate the Tigers. It seemed more like an act of desperation then a solid call.

The turnovers were great plays by a great player who was recognized by the SEC for his efforts that game."

In general do you consider Missouri a resilient team that can bounce back from such a disappointing loss? Do you think they are looking ahead to another SEC game at South Carolina next week?

JP Rock: "Yes, by Monday they were past the Georgia game and focusing solidly on Arizona State. They really didn't hang their heads following the Georgia loss.

"Coach Pinkel's teams never look ahead. They always chant the motto of one game at a time. And frankly, this game has an added importance of needing to win since they lost to Georgia. My fear was that if they beat Georgia that they might look ahead to S. Carolina and look past the Sun Devils. Now, they know they need to focus on a win this week even more."

Quarterback James Franklin certainly impressed in the 2011 game between both teams. How has he improved since? What are some of the notable skills he has been able to develop??

JP Rock: "James had off season shoulder surgery and appears to be throwing the ball the best that he has. His decision making also seems to have improved, although Georgia forced some things with their pass rush and prevented him from doing some things he wanted."

Who are some of the other offensive stars for the Tigers??

JP Rock: "Running Backs Kendial Lawrence and Marcus Murphy will get the bulk of the carries besides Franklin. Receivers Marcus Lucas and L'Damian Washington have had two very good first games. Slot receiver T.J. Moe is also a go to guy when the Tiger throw the ball."

Can you update us on all the injuries for Missouri coming into this game?

JP Rock: "It looks like as of mid-week that starting LT Elvis Fisher and WLB Zaviar Gooden will be out for the game. RG/RT Jack Meiners is questionable."

What can you tell us about the Missouri defense, Holding opponents to 2.5 rush yards per carry is very impressive but how does their pass defense stack up? How much were they at fault in the Georgia game?

JP Rock: "The Tigers defensive front seven is the best that has been here under Gary Pinkel. The Tigers can hold their own against the run and put a solid pass rush on with their line and linebackers.

I think there were some break downs where they weren't able to counter some adjustments made by the Bulldogs quickly enough which led to some scores. Otherwise, the defense well out performed the offense."

Can you talk about some of the standouts on defense?

JP Rock: "Defensive linemen Sheldon Richardson, Brad Madison, Kony Ealy, Cornerback E.J. Gaines, linebackers Will Ebner, Adrew Wilson, Donovan Bonner and safety Braylon Webb have played well early."

Please name one player on each side of the ball that perhaps slips under the radar but could make an impact on Saturday??

JP Rock: "On offense I would say Dorial Green Beckham. Hard to say he is under the radar since he was the #1 recruit in the country, but I think he is due and you may see more of a focus to get him the ball.

"On defense I think the Tigers will need a big game from Kony Ealy."

Illinois is a team that Missouri is very familiar with. Do you think the fact that ASU was able to beat the Illini 45-14 last week causes more concern for this game than Missouri initially had?

JP Rock: " I don't think the Illinois game will be considered outside of using the film to scout the Sun Devils."

What type of stadium environment will ASU be headed into? Do you expect a sellout of 71,004 fans? What are some special game day routines ASU fans going to the game should lookout for?

JP Rock: "It should be a sellout if not close to it. The Tigers sold out their season tickets this year. The fans are pumped for football since joining the SEC.

"The Tiger walk where the Tiger players come over from the athletic facility to the Stadium has become a game day routine which draws a lot of fans."

OK, now the most burning question of them all: What restaurants and bars would you recommend to go to in Columbia and why?

JP Rock: "Shakespeare's Pizza is a legendary place for local and especially out of towners, and has the reputation as one of the pest pizza places in the country. ASU fans will not be disappointed.

"Sports bars to go to are Harpo's, Shiloh's and Stadium Bar & Grill."

Fill in the blanks: If Missouri does____________ they will win the game. If Arizona State does_________ they will win the game.

JP Rock: "If Missouri starts quickly, plays up to their offensive capabilities-including the offensive line holds up, and can get pressure on the ASU QB then I feel they will win.

" Missouri's offense generally goes as James Franklin does. If they can slow him or shut him down it greatly helps their cause. Also, if their offense can continue to score at the pace that they have then they will have done a great job of neutralizing the Tigers defense and will win."


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