Inside the Missouri Game

This week the Missouri Tigers (3-3, 0-2) come to town to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-3, 1-1). The Red Raiders are coming off a 31-17 loss to Iowa State. The tigers are currently on a two game losing streak with their latest loss coming at Nebraska.

This game could prove to be a high scoring affair as it brings together two high-powered offenses. Both teams are putting up over 400 yards of offense per game. Texas Tech is ranked fourth in the nation in total offense, averaging 466 yards per game. Both teams have struggled defensively this year. Look for lots of points to be scored this Saturday in Lubbock.

Texas Tech Keys to Victory
Turnovers – Turnovers were one of the key factors in last week's loss to Iowa State. The offense needs to reduce the number of turnovers, while the defense tries to cause a few.
Contain Brad Smith - The defense has to keep quarterback Brad Smith from rushing successfully. They did a pretty good job of this last week against Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace.
Big Plays – Big plays have hurt Texas Tech in several games this season. The defense needs to do a better job stopping the big play. The offense should have some opportunities to make big plays against the Missouri defense.

When Texas Tech Has the Ball Senior quarterback Kliff Kingsbury leads Texas Tech's spread offense. Kingsbury leads the Big 12 in passing yardage and total offense. Receivers Wes Welker, Anton Paige, and Mickey Peters are all ranked in the top eight in the conference in receptions per game. Taurean Henderson leads the Red Raider ground game with 5.2 yards per carry. Look for Texas Tech to try and exploit the height advantage that Anton Paige will have over the Missouri defensive backs. Paige is coming of an unusually quite performance against Iowa State. He will look to redeem himself this week. Wes Welker has been gaining lots of yards in every game this year. Welker usually catches passes withing 0 yards of the line of scrimmage, but can gain lots of yards after the catch.

The Missouri defense has had a tough season so far. They have given up over 384 yards per game. While the Missouri defense has been giving up lots of yards this season, they have been doing a good job of forcing turnovers. They will hope to continue this against a Texas Tech team that has been consistently losing the turnover battle. Missouri normally likes to play a man defense, but they did use the zone defense extensively against Oklahoma. I think they will probably start off in a zone defense against the Red Raiders in the hope that it can slow down their passing attack. If Missouri plays lots of zone, their defensive line will have to stop running back Taurean Henderson.

When Missouri Has the Ball
Freshman quarterback Brad Smith is the key to the Missouri offense. Smith is another mobile quarterback that the Red Raiders have to try to contain this season. He is a competent passer completing nearly 53 percent of his passes for 196 yards and 5 touchdowns per game. His favorite target is receiver Justin Gage who has caught 49 passes for 560 yards so far this season. What makes Smith special is his ability to run with the football. Smith is the leading rusher on the team averaging 6.7 yards per carry for 641 yards and 5 touchdowns.

The Texas Tech defense has also struggled this season, though they did show some positive signs against Iowa State last week. Once again the defensive line is going to play a key role. Aaron Hunt and Adell Duckett will be responsible for containing the mobile Brad Smith. Look for the Red Raiders to bring pressure from other positions as well in an attempt to confuse the freshman quarterback. Blitzes from the linebackers and safeties will be used in an attempt to force Smith to pass the ball.

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