We've already focused on what the Nebraska defense will probably try and do to stop the potent Mizzou offense, but what about the other matchup: Mizzou's D vs. Nebraska's O?
The yardage numbers aren't impressive thus far for the Tigers on defense, but they are still only allowing 15.5 points per game this year, including a couple of late, meaningless touchdowns. If you were looking just at numbers in this matchup, you would think the Huskers have the clear edge. However, these early season numbers could be a bit inflated because of unique game situations. The Tigers have a ton of talent and speed on defense, so while they may allow yards they will have a good enough game plan to prevent excessive scoring.
How will the Tigers try and contain the explosive Husker rushing attack led by Roy Helu? Mizzou has had a tough time against the run thus far, allowing 133.8 yards per game this season, including a 218-yard performance allowed to Nevada in their last game. This isn't a good sign, considering Helu has already rushed for 464 yards in the Huskers first 4 games. Watch for the Tigers to leave the linebackers closer to the line to help out in the rushing game and look for more base defense rather than nickel or dime packages, even on possible passing downs.
The Tigers are allowing 218 yards per game through the air in their first 4 games this season, which is right around the NCAA average. This is a product of the style that Mizzou has played thus far: light coverage while keeping everything in front of them. The strategy has prevented the big play and forced the opposing quarterback to be extremely accurate. So far, this has worked quite well and the offenses that the Tigers have faced thus far have had a hard time scoring. Zac Lee is a talented quarterback, but will he be good enough to pick the Mizzou secondary apart? In order for the Huskers to win, he will have to put on a masterful performance.
The strength of the Huskers is their rushing attack, so expect them to focus on the ground game, especially if the weather continues to be rainy. The Tigers would be smart if they put more people in the box tonight to try and stop the run while making Zac Lee have to beat them through the air.