Every Thursday at AllHoosiers.com we will have a scouting report on the team that Indiana will face that week in the form of a Q&A with a beat writer from that team.
For Saturday’s third game of the season against Missouri, Tucker Hagedorn, with ESPN 100.7 in Joplin, Mo., has graciously accepted my invitation to talk the Tigers by answering the following five questions.
Here is our third Scouting the Opponent Q&A with an opposing beat writer.
1. Missouri had a relatively easy time with Indiana at Memorial Stadium last year. Is this Missouri team as good, better, or not as good as the one IU fans saw last season? What are the major differences?
HAGEDORN: “It’s still too early to tell. Many Tiger fans are starting to feel better about this team after last week’s game vs UCF. They replaced a lot of guys but so far they are getting good WR play, good RB play and great DE play. Those were the positions they lost the most. Last year’s game versus the Hoosiers was Mizzou’s best effort until SEC play. The team got better as the season went on. We will see if this one does.’’
2. Maty Mauk is off to a great start at quarterback. Talk about the things he does well?
HAGEDORN: “ Maty Mauk throws a good deep ball. For whatever reason, he seems like he has more accuracy on deep throws than intermediate ones. He also does a great job keeping plays alive with his feet and has done better keeping his eyes downfield. Maty also plays hard (maybe too hard); he's a tough runner. Finally, probably the thing he does best is forget bad plays quickly. We have seen Maty make some risky throws that resulted in interceptions. According to his teammates and coaches he shrugs it off quick and is ready to make the next play. He definitely has some of the gunslinger attitude that has endeared him to fans.’’
3. Kevin Wilson talked about Missouri's defensive ends in his press conference on Monday and called them two of the best in the country. Tell us about them and about the defensive side of the ball in general?
HAGEDORN: “Markus Golden and Shane Ray backed up Michael Sam and Kony Ealy last year. They are the starters now and haven't missed a beat. Each of them has already been SEC defensive player of the week once. Golden has a scary blend of size, athleticism, and a relentless motor. He is the heart and soul of this team. Ray was all over the field last week vs UCF. He is as quick off the ball as any DE in the country. Sometimes each of them can be beat on screens, etc., because of how quickly they get up field but these are two big-time players.’’
4. Missouri seemed to give Nate Sudfeld a lot of trouble last year. He threw nine picks all season and three of them were in that game. Do you think the Missouri defense is more worried about Sudfeld's arm or slowing down Tevin Coleman on the ground?
HAGEDORN: “I would say Coleman based on the stats I have seen from this season for the Hoosiers. It looks like Indiana is running the ball a lot more than last year and who can blame them with a back like Coleman? That being said, I think Indiana likes to spread the ball around on short and intermediate throws. That's one thing the Mizzou defense has struggled with some this year is letting teams throw short and work down the field. Also, Mizzou gave up some long runs to Toledo so they will need to play their assignments to contain Coleman but I expect he will have their full attention.’’
5. We always ask the opposing expert for a prediction of Saturday's game? How do you see the outcome?
HAGEDORN: “Mizzou looked good in the 2nd half last week. I know Indiana had a disappointing loss to Bowling Green. That being said, I think IU comes out ready to play and does some things offensively. I'll say an early turnover by Mizzou keeps IU in it longer than the Tiger fans would like but in the end Mizzou’s offense has too many weapons, gets a lead, and unleashes their relentless front four. Mizzou 42. Indiana 17.
Again, thanks to Tucker Hagedorn for sharing his expertise today with us at AllHoosiers.com.