.:: TIGHT END ::.
A few years ago Beaver fans thought the tight end position was stacked in Corvallis, but that was nothing compared to Missouri's situation this year. The Tigers placed both of their starting tight ends on all Big 12 teams.
Junior Martin Rucker, pictured right, is the whole package with great athleticism, size, hands and blocking ability. His 6-foot-6, 255-pound frame makes him a nightmare to defend one on one. The school's career tight end reception leader hauled in 47 catches for 444 yards and five touchdowns resulting in a first team selection. The funny thing is that he was out done by his counter part Chase Coffman, who earned second team honors.
The 6-foot-6, 245-pound sophomore lead all tight ends in the Big 12 and is first on the team with 53 receptions. He hauled in 555 yards and eight touchdowns, setting the school's single season tight end touchdown record. In just two years Coffman already has 100 receptions. He needs three catches and 35 yards in the bowl game to break MU's single season tight end records for receptions and yards. Coffman was a John Mackey Award semifinalist.
Just like Rucker, Coffman is hard to defend as he uses his size and speed well.
This is what is keeping Mike Riley and his staff up at night. Not only is Daniel mobile with an excellent offensive line the Tigers have two tight ends who can run, block and catch. Sabby Piscitelli or Derrick Doggett will handle one of the tight ends, but that leaves a huge mismatch in the secondary. To take that away the defense must bring enough pressure to keep one tight end to block.
.:: RUNNING BACKS ::.
Junior Tony Temple (pictured left, 5-9, 200) is the team's leading rusher with 869 yards and five touchdowns on 173 rushes for a 5.0 average. His performance earned him honorable mention all-conference honors.
Temple has battled through injuries for most the year but when healthy he has the speed to take it to the house. Temple had two 100-yard rushing games this year, one against Murray State and the other against New Mexico where he had a career high 168 yards. They don't throw him the ball much as he has just six receptions for 34 yards in 12 games.
Backing up Temple are sophomores Earl Goldsmith (5-9, 200) and Jimmy Jackson (5-9, 200). Goldsmith missed the last two games with a broken hand but should be available against OSU. He has 109 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries and is considered the top pass catcher out of the backfield. Jackson has 123 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries and is a threat catching the ball.
The defense has faced far better backs this year such as Cal's Marshawn Lynch and Oregon's Jonathan Stewart just to name a couple. Oregon State is giving up an average of 103.1 yards on the ground, good for nineteenth in the nation, while the Tigers are averaging 145.1 per game.
The Beavers should be able to keep the rushing attack in check, although a lot of damage could be done as OSU lines up to stop the passing game. The UM rushing attack is often overlooked and the Beavers need to approach this aspect of the game with a healthy dose or respect.
Yesterday - Tight ends and running backs
Tomorrow - Wide receivers and special teams