Missouri Tigers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) at No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS), Saturday September 24th, 2011. 8:00PM EST, College Football Week 4
Memorial Stadium Norman, OK
By Jay Horne, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MO +21.5/OU -21.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
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The top ranked Oklahoma Sooners survived a huge test on the road last week with a win over Florida State 23-13 in Tallahassee in what was considered to be one of the biggest games of the year. This week Oklahoma returns home to Norman to host the Missouri Tigers in a primetime Saturday night showdown. The Sooners have withstood one of their biggest challenges of the season, but now must try to avoid any letdown type performances against the Tigers of Missouri.
Missouri will ride into Norman with a bit of a confidence boost after completely demolishing Western Illinois last week 69-0. The Tigers posted 744 yards of total offense in last week’s win while the defense only allowed a mere 44 total yards. However, things will be much more difficult this week especially for the Tigers defense that will battle with one of the best offenses in the entire country in Oklahoma. Overall the Tigers defense has been very solid allowing just 268 yards per game and only 14 points per game.
However, this is the same defense that gave up just less than 400 yards passing against Arizona State just two weeks ago. Now the Tigers go on the road to face an even better passing offense that will surely stretch the field. Oklahoma QB Landry Jones posted over 4,000 passing yards in 2010 and is certainly expected to post stellar numbers again this year. Jones has completed 72% passing for 574 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 picks through the first two games of the season. This is just about the time Jones started posting big numbers last year and it would not be a big surprise if he starts to pick up the pace.
WR Ryan Broyles is widely considered one of the best receivers in the country. Broyles come up with some big grabs last week against Florida State and has tallied 213 receiving yards with 1 touchdown thus far on the season. Expect Broyles to be the highlight in the passing game again this week against a suspect Tigers’ secondary. While the Sooners will definitely move the ball in the air, many people fail to realize that Oklahoma is also a very solid rushing unit.
The Oklahoma rushing offense is averaging 178 yards per game this season and they can beat you consistently on the ground before delivering a knockout punch through the air. Running back Dominique Whaley has eclipsed the 200 yard mark through the first two games and has proved that he can be a consistent force in the backfield. Therefore, expect the Sooners to mix things up in attempt to keep the Tigers’ defense on their heels.
While all the talk surrounding this game will be the Oklahoma offense, the Tigers sport a pretty strong offense as well. Missouri has averaged 512 yards per game thus far this season which ranks 12th among the nation’s elite. The Tigers have nearly split the total yards right down the middle with 257 rushing and 255 passing yards per game. Sophomore running back Henry Josey has been absolutely sensational carrying the ball 29 times for 400 yards. Yes, that means the sophomore tailback is currently averaging 13.8 yards per carry which is absolutely absurd.
QB James Franklin is 2nd on the team in rushing with 157 yards, but it has been Josey who has been the big homerun threat out of the backfield. However, Franklin has led the way in the passing game completing 66% passing for 694 yards with 6 touchdowns and 1 pick on the season. WR T.J. Moe is perhaps the biggest playmaker in the receiving game. Moe caught over 1,000 yards receiving in 2010 and currently leads the team with 172 receiving yards. Still, Franklin does a good job of spreading the ball around to find the open receiver. Currently there are 5 Tigers’ receivers with at least 5 catches on the season. Therefore Franklin can find the open receiver if there is a breakdown in coverage. While Missouri will be expected to move the football, the big question remains. Do the Tigers really have the firepower to match the Sooners?
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread - I just see a letdown performance here from Oklahoma. The Florida State game was an emotional and exhausting event on the road. Therefore, I just see this one becoming closer than expected. Take Missouri +21.5.
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