Middle Tennessee gets second straight SEC foe with a trip to Missouri on Saturday

Missouri quarterback Brady Cook, right, celebrates his touchdown with teammates Luther Burden...
Missouri quarterback Brady Cook, right, celebrates his touchdown with teammates Luther Burden III, left, and Theo Wease Jr. during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against South Dakota Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)(L.G. Patterson | AP)
Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 11:39 AM CDT
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Middle Tennessee (0-1) at Missouri (1-0), Saturday, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Line: Missouri by 20 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Tied 1-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Missouri is trying to build on an easy win over South Dakota last week, while the Blue Raiders are facing a second straight SEC opponent after losing to third-ranked Alabama in their opener. Missouri and Middle Tennessee have played twice in the past 20 years and both were close affairs. The Tigers won 41-40 in overtime in 2003 when the Blue Raiders missed an extra point to end the game. They got some revenge in 2016 when l’Tavius Mathers ran for 215 yards and led Middle Tennessee to a 51-45 victory.

KEY MATCHUP

Missouri QB Brady Cook appears to have finally won the battle with freshman Sam Horn for the starting job. He was efficient a week ago against the Coyotes, but questions persisted into Week 2, when coach Eli Drinkwitz said that Cook would be the starting going forward. The Blue Raiders allowed 431 yards of total offense to the Crimson Tide last week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Middle Tennessee: P Miles Tillman was the biggest highlight of a 56-7 loss to the Crimson Tide. He split duties with Trey Turk and averaged 53.6 yards on five punts, which at least helped to flip field position when the Blue Raiders failed to move the ball.

Missouri: WR Luther Burden III had a career-best seven catches for 96 yards with a touchdown against the Coyotes last week. The sophomore and one of the Tigers’ most touted prospects a year ago finished with 121 all-purpose yards.

FACTS & FIGURES

Middle Tennessee DB Teldrick Ross was second nationally a year ago with 22 passes defended, giving him 38 for his career. The school record is 46 by Cedric Stegall from 1995-98. ... Rick Stockstill had led the Blue Raiders to 109 wins. ... Tigers WR Mekhi Miller scored his first touchdown in last week’s win over South Dakota. ... Missouri allowed the Coyotes five yards of offense in the first quarter and 62 in the first half. ... The Tigers allowed 1.1 yards per attempt on 35 carries by South Dakota. That’s the best mark with a minimum of 35 attempts since Nov. 11, 2000, against Baylor. ... Tigers K Harrison Mevis missed two field-goal attempts against the Coyotes. ... Cook threw for 172 yards and a score against South Dakota. Horn threw for 54 yards with a TD and an interception.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll

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