October 19, 2006

The game up close: K-State at Missouri

Missouri has suffered plenty of heartbreak against Kansas State during its 13-game losing streak in the series. Both the 2004 and 2005 contests featured fourth-quarter Wildcat rallies to keep the streak alive, but now the Tigers finally appear poised to knock off long-time nemesis Brandon Archer and the Wildcats. Can MU get the job done on its home field, or will it be another disappointing finish for the fans in Columbia?

The Game Up Close: Kansas State (4-3, 1-2) vs. No. 24 Missouri (6-1, 2-1)

Saturday, Oct. 21, 1:08 p.m. kickoff
Faurot Field, Columbia, Mo.

Missouri rush offense vs. Kansas State rush defense
The numbers:
KSU rush defense: Allowing 118.7 yards per game, No. 7 in the Big 12, No. 45 overall
MU rush offense: Averaging 164.0 yards per game, No. 7 in the Big 12, No. 36 overall

The breakdown: Missouri running back Tony Temple has now established himself as one of the Big 12's top backs as a junior. Temple ranks third in the conference in rushing with 600 yards on 116 carries, good for an average of 5.2 yards a tote, and has scored three touchdowns in the past two weeks. The Tigers' spread offense creates lanes for Temple and his fellow backs to run through, and even without Brad Smith Missouri still has a running threat at quarterback. Temple's biggest problem has been ball security; his turnovers were costly in last week's loss at Texas A&M. K-State didn't allow an opposing team to rush for more than 100 yards in any of its first three games, but three of the Wildcats' last four opponents have ran for at least 190 yards. The team that didn't run for 190 in that span was Baylor, who for the season averages just 39.1 rushing yards per game. K-State needs to start playing better against the run and can do so by eliminating the big plays on the ground Nebraska was able to produce last week. Missouri isn't as good in the running game as some of the teams K-State has struggled against, but its vital that the Wildcats are sure tacklers against Temple this weekend.

Kansas State rush offense vs. Missouri rush defense
The numbers:

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