GAME NOTES: In their final non-conference tune-up before the start of SEC
play, the 18th-ranked Missouri Tigers will try to remain unbeaten when they
take on the Indiana Hoosiers at Faurot Field on Saturday afternoon.
Indiana opened up its schedule with a home matchup against FCS opponent
Indiana State, and it took advantage by claiming a 28-10 victory. The Hoosiers
stumbled last weekend against Bowling Green to fall to .500, losing 45-42
after allowing the game-winning touchdown with under 10 seconds to play.
After a No. 24 ranking in the preseason, Missouri has slowly crept up the AP
Poll thanks to a 3-0 start, registering easy wins against South Dakota State
(38-18), Toledo (49-24) and UCF (38-10). A victory in this matchup would make
the Tigers 4-0 for the seventh times in the last nine seasons.
“We are getting better,” Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said. “There’s other
little things we’re doing wrong, but there are always things like that. Win or
lose, you go back and evaluate, but I think we’re a better football team than
we were three weeks ago, and that’s got to keep going.”
The Hoosiers hold a 6-3-2 advantage in the all-time series with the Tigers.
Missouri’s 45-28 win at Indiana last season was its first victory over the
Hoosiers since 1954.
Indiana has had no problem marching up and down the field, as it racks up a
gaudy 574.0 ypg while scoring 35.0 ppg.
Tevin Coleman is off to an outstanding start in the backfield. Despite playing
a game fewer than most of his competition, Coleman ranks fifth in the FBS in
rushing with 437 yards (9.3 ypc) and has crossed the plain of the end zone
Nate Sudfeld has been efficient under center, completing 71.2 percent of his
passes for 458 yards while tossing just one pick in 59 attempts, but he has
only one touchdown pass.
Shane Wynn in the top receiving threat, hauling in 12 receptions for 147
yards. He also serves as one of the team’s kick returners (47 yards).
The Hoosiers’ defense (27.5 ppg, 370.5 ypg) performed well in the opener but
disappointed against BGSU, especially in allowing an 88-yard go-ahead
touchdown drive at the end of the game.
David Cooper has a team-best 17 tackles and is one of eight players with
double-digit stops. Bobby Richardson (3.0 sacks) and Nick Mangieri (2.0 sacks,
INT) have orchestrated a solid pass-rush.
Missouri’s offense hasn’t needed to amass that many yards (405.7 ypg) to
assure plenty of points (41.7 ppg). It has been very efficient on third down
(22-of-42) and in scoring touchdowns on red-zone drives (9-of-13).
The keys to the offense belong to Maty Mauk under center and he’s set a torrid
pace in the early going with 13 touchdowns (one rushing) to just three
Despite Mauk’s success, his head coach thinks that he’s only scratched the
surface of his potential.
“Wait until he gets good,” Gary Pinkel said. “There are a lot of things out
there that he can do to improve and he knows that. He’s a great, gamey player,
he can make plays, he does those things and he’s got some players making some
plays for him, but he can get considerably better.”
Mauk spreads the wealth pretty evenly to his top three wide receivers, with
Bud Sasser (12 receptions, 215 yards, four TDs), Jimmie Hunt (11 receptions,
123 yards, four TDs) and Darius White (10 receptions, 179 yards, three TDs)
all equally involved.
Russell Hansbrough is the team’s leading rusher with 258 yards and two
touchdowns. He and all-purpose threat Marcus Murphy (204 rushing, 61
receiving, 183 return yards, two TDs) are listed as probable with minor
The Tigers’ defense doesn’t necessarily need to be great to support their
high-scoring offense, but the unit is off to an impressive start nonetheless
in allowing just 17.3 ppg, while forcing nine turnovers.
Despite losing Michael Sam and Kony Ealy, the pass-rush is still the strength
of the defense with Shane Ray (7.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks, FF) and Markus Golden (6.5
TFL, 4.5 sacks) both off to great starts. Michael Scherer has a team-high 28
tackles and Aarion Penton has picked off a pair of passes.
Missouri has breezed by its first three opponents, and there’s no reason to
expect anything different in this one against a shaky Indiana squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri 55, Indiana 27