Who Dey? — Missouri Tigers

Inside, a look at Colorado's next opponent, the Missouri Tigers.

MISSOURI TIGERS
at Columbia, Mo. • Sept. 30 • 10:30 a.m. (MT) • FSN
Head Coach: Gary Pinkel (6th season)
2006 Record: 4-0

OFFENSE
Brad Smith is gone, but the Tigers are still running that shotgun spread offense, and running it well. Sophomore Chase Daniel is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the Big 12. He can hurt defenses with his arm or his legs and is second in the conference in total offense (1,151).

The Missouri passing game spreads the wealth – five players have double digit receptions, led by wideout Will Franklin, who has 20. (In comparison, CU's wide receivers have a combined 19 catches through four games.)

Stocky tailback Tony Temple (5-9, 200) averages 6.3 per carry.

Player to Watch: 6-6, 250-pound junior Martin Rucker is one of the best tight ends in the conference, and has hauled in 18 catches so far.

DEFENSE
Missouri is athletic and aggressive on defense. They will bring pressure up front against Colorado early and often. Only Texas has more sacks than Missouri's 16.

The Tigers have held opponents to just 9.2 points per game and are currently ranked No. 1 in the country in total defense, giving up 175 yards per game. They're particularly stingy against the run, giving up just 43 ypg on the ground and no one has scored a rushing touchdown on the Tigers in four games.

Marcus Bacon earned the conference Defensive Player of the Week award for his 12-tackle effort in MU's win over Ole Miss.

Their secondary is big and physical, led by a couple of veteran safeties in David Overstreet and Brandon Massey.

Player to Watch: Senior defensive end Brian Smith (6-4, 230) leads the Big 12 and is second in the country with six sacks.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Placekicker Jeff Wolfert has been steady (6-of-8 field goals). Missouri has yet to get its return game unleashed.

MU 2006 Statistical Leaders
PASSING: Chase Daniel 90-142-1,020, 9 TD, 2 INT
RUSHING: Tony Temple, 66-417/6.3, 0TD
RECEIVING: Will Franklin, 20-343/17.1, 4 TD
TACKLES: Marcus Bacon 41
SACKS: Brian Smith 6
INT: Three tied with 2
PUNTING: Adam Crossett 36.1
PR: Marcus Woods 9/4.3
KOR: Temple 2/19.0

Prediction: For a 4-0 team, the Missouri Tigers sound like a squad with a chip in its shoulder. That's because the rest of the nation has seen their act before. Missouri has shown well in the non-conference the past four seasons, then failed to live up to expectations in the Big 12. The four teams Missouri has beaten this month are a combined 6-10. But the Tigers appear to have a defense that's for real this year, and pollsters are giving them some attention. Missouri has cracked the top 25 (AP, No. 25) for the first time since 2004.

The Colorado offense made huge strides last week in their loss to Georgia. But they're playing in the Show Me state this weekend. I'm not convinced they'll show a W after this game.

Missouri 21, Colorado 17


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