The BAYLOR Offense vs the MISSOURI Defense

Having had to move the ball in successive weekends against Texas A&M, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and then Texas, the Baylor Bears would appear to be coming to a segment of their schedule where moving the football will be easier. The Tigers have been susceptable to the run, having given up an average of 189.9 yards per game. Teams have been able to average 179.5 yards per game passing for a total average yeild of 369.4 yards per game.

The Missouri front four was only pieced together during the spring. DE Antwaun Bynum, a former linebacker, DE Dan Davis, a former TB, and DT Keith Wright who is playing inside for the first time in his career are the newcomers. Only DT Cedric Harden is playing his natural position. The group has gotten better and better, especially when senior DT Chris Ryan and redshirt freshman Nick Tarpoff were added to the mix, however Tarpoff suffered a neck injury last week against Colorado and had to be removed by a stretcher and ambulance. He does not appear on the depth chart this week. In any event, this Missouri defensive front four has not only combined for 43 tackles for losses, but has also registered 14.5 quarterback sacks. They have also hit the quarterback 18 times, forced six fumbles, recovering three of them, had one pass interception, and blocked three kicks. Not too shabby for a "make-shift" defensive front.

DE Antwaun Bynum has 7 of those quarterback sacks, tying him for sixth place on the Missouri single-season list for total sacks. He also tied the single-game sack record when he sacked Oklahoma State quarterback, Aso Pogi, four times earlier this season. One of the co-owners of that record is Justin Smith, the fourth overall pick in this year's NFL draft who got his four against the Baylor Bears last season. Bynum also has 15 of the teams 43 tackles for losses. He is the leader of the Tiger's front four.

Among the best linebacking duos in the country right now are senior Jamonte Robinson and junior Sean Doyle. In the Tigers' first eight games, these two linebackers have accounted for 198 tackles. Robinson is the team leader in average tackles per game with 12.8, while Doyle is right behind him with 11.87. That has them ranked among the nation's top 15 tacklers.

Jamonte Robinson's best game was his game against the Longhorns of Texas when he had a career-high 19 tackles. With 372 career tackles, Robinson only needs 4 to pass Darren McDonald and take third place on the all-time Missouri tackles chart, and with three games remaining, only needs 44 to move into first place and pass Demontie Cross. Robinson's averages 14 tackles per game in Big 12 play exceeding his season average of 12.8 tackles per game. The third member of the Missouri linebacking corp is junior rover Tauras Ferguson who has the only sack by a linebacker this year for an 8-yard loss. He is also 4th on the tackling chart with 52, 32 solo and 20 assists. He has also broken up three passes, had 4 quarterback hurries, and recovered two fumbles.

The Missouri secondary has a blend of experience and youth, but the rap on them this year has been . . . well, look at the stats. The secondary only has 3 interceptions this season, one each by Johnson, Jones, and Duncan. Senior free safety Clarence Jones is 3rd on the team with 38 solo tackles and 18 assists, giving him 56. The secondary has not recorded a single sack.

The Missouri defense has also had an impossible time stopping fouth-down conversions with opponents attempting 7 and being successful 7 times. The defense has fared better on third down attempts, allowing just under 47%.

The Baylor offense would appear to have its best opportunity to shine since early games against lesser opponents, but they certainly cannot take this team for granted. However, looking from the bottom up and having not won a conference game in over three years, that wouldn't appear likely.

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