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Preview: Texas Tech v. Missouri

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The Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-1, 2-1) v. The Missouri Tigers (5-1, 1-1)
October 20, 2007 @ 2:30 p.m.
Television:
ABC
Radio:
Texas Tech Affiliates
Gamecast:
CSTV
ESPN
Fox Sports
Weather:
Columbia, Missouri
Texas Tech Statistic Missouri
81.57 Rushing Offense 175.33
500.43 Passing Offense 358.17
582.00 Total Offense 533.50
50.00 Scoring Offense 40.00
163.29 Rushing Defense 137.83
178.57 Pass Defense 265.33
109.91 Passing Efficiency Defense 123.20
341.86 Total Defense 403.17
20.57 Scoring Defense 24.50

WHEN TEXAS TECH HAS THE BALL:

Our Leader (Thanks to Spotted).
Statistical Leaders Texas Tech
Passing Graham Harrell: 258 Comp., 347 Att., 3,151 Yds., 31 TD, 3 Int.
Rushing Shannon Woods: 74 Att., 413 Yds., 8 TD
Kobey Lewis: 31 Att., 116., 2 TD
Receiving Michael Crabtree: 78 Rec., 1,244 Yds., 17 TD
Danny Amendola: 60 Rec., 755 Yds., 5 TD
Eric Morris: 28 Rec., 350 Yds., 4 TD
Ed Britton: 19 Rec., 224 Yds., 1 TD
Statistical Leaders Missouri
Tackles Sean Weatherspoon: 60
Brock Christopher: 54
William Moore and Pig Brown: 46
Sacks Styker Sulak: 3
Lorenzo Williams: 3
Evander Hood: 2
Interceptions Pig Brown: 2
Justin Garrett: 2
William Moore: 2
  • Texas Tech Passing Offense v. Missouri Passing Defense: No question there's a clear advantage here for the Red Raiders. Missouri gives up an average of 265 yards a game through the air which is good for 100th in the nation. As Rock M Nation pointed out earlier in the week, the Tigers have given up quite a few yards, but the scoring for their opponents has been down. Of course, all of those opponents were not Texas Tech who has shown quite the ability to score from almost anywhere on the field. In fact, Texas Tech is converting 85.7% of their red zone opportunities for scores, so I like our chances.

    The Aggies were not able to account for Crabtree, although they did manage to hold him scoreless, which is more than any other team has been able to do so far. Even if it's not Crabtree it seems as if someone steps up and plays well. Whether it be Danny Amendola, Grant Walker, Eric Morris, Ed Britton or perhaps Detron Lewis, someone will step up when Crabtree is double-covered.

    This is just me wondering out loud, but the play near the goal line where Crabtree essentially posts up the defender is no longer as effective as it was earlier in the year. I'd like to see Harrel, Crabtree & Co. figure out another method of getting Crabtree the ball, other than throwing the ball up for grabs in the corner of the endzone.

    Once again, the offensive line has been nothing short of spectacular and I expect the same against Missouri. The entire line does need to take notice that early penalties do not help. Don't let them happen again, the Mizzou offense is certainly more dangerous than the Aggies' offense.

    What to expect from Missouri? I'm not sure, but more than likely they'll do whatever they can to get to Harrell. Getting to Harrell ensures that Crabtree can't do his thing and the other receivers are largely ineffective. Whether that be blitzing from any and every position and stunting the defensive line. Texas Tech has seen all of this before, but much of this is up to the offensive line. Give Harrell the needed protection and then it's up to Harrell.

    Advantage: Texas Tech


  • Texas Tech Rushing Offense v. Missouri Rushing Defense: Mizzou should now better than most that it's not a matter of how many yards Texas Tech rushes for, but rather of are the runs which are typically scattered through the game effective enough to keep Missouri off balance. Truth be known, the only time that I see this being an issue is against OU, but not with Missouri.

    Last week Shannon Woods proved that he can handle the load with 21 carries and 93 yards. I started getting the shakes when Woods would get the ball 3 or 4 times in a row, but it all worked out.

    All of this was predicated on two things. First, Coach Leach and the offensive staff decided that if the Aggies would play back and dare the Red Raiders to run then they needed to run. Second, Graham Harrell had to recognize what the Aggies were doing and make the adjustment at the line of scrimmage. If Mizzou does the same thing, playing off of the line of scrimmage and daring Leach and Harrell to run the ball, then that's what needs to be done.

    If I had to guess, look for a good mix of playing tight and playing back for Missouri. I'd imagine they'll try to confuse Harrell into running when they shouldn't and passing when they shouldn't. This will be the most interesting matchup of the day, can Harrell make the right reads.

    Advantage: Texas Tech

WHEN MISSOURI HAS THE BALL:

Darcel McBath, Marlon Williams and Brandon Williams derail the j-train (Thanks to Spotted).
Statistical Leaders Missouri
Passing Chase Daniel: 186 Comp., 270 Att., 2,073 Yds., 16 TD, 6 Int.
Rushing Tony Temple: 71 Att., 351 Yds., 3 TD
Jeremy Maclin: 20 Att., 207 Yds., 3 TD
Chase Daniel: 52 Att., 187 Yds., 3 TD
Receiving Martin Rucker: 44 Rec., 474 Yds., 3 TD
William Franklin: 29 Rec., 404 Yds., 4 TD
Jeremy Maclin: 30 Rec., 359 Yds., 3 TD
Statistical Leaders Texas Tech
Tackles Marlon Williams: 42
Paul Williams: 41
Joe Garcia: 38
Sacks Brandon Williams: 3.0
Rajon Henley: 2.0
Daniel Howard: 2.0
Interceptions Jamar Wall: 3
Darcel McBath: 1
Daniel Charbonnet: 1
Anthony Hines: 1
  • Missouri Passing Offense v. Texas Tech Passing Defense: Stopping Daniel and the rest of this offense will prove to be Texas Tech's toughest test to date. We're going to see what McNeill is made of as a defensive coordinator. He's certainly going to have some choices about how to stop Daniel. There's probably no right way to stop Daniel, it's just a matter of slowing the offense, getting the offense out of rhythm and creating turnovers. McNeill gave us a hint as to what he intends to do and it's no secret, that he best defense is to give Daniel different looks and hope that he does a poor job of reading the defense. Daniel has seen enough Big 12 football (like Harrell) that I doubt this will happen, but those are his options.

    The Red Raiders will have a difficult time matching up with Rucker and Coffman and I wonder who will cover this tight end duo as this hasn't really been an issue for the Red Raiders this season.

    Don't forget that the Tigers have more than just Rucker and Coffman. Jeremy Maclin, William Franklin, Danario Alexander and Tommy Saunders could all play a significant part in Saturday's game. Much like Texas Tech, the Tigers are balanced and deep.

    I'm not going out on a limb here, but Parker and Wall will play huge parts should Texas Tech be able to muster a victory. Shutting down the wide receiving corp will make covering the tight ends that much easier. Remember, don't give up the home run. Just don't do it. That's a sure-fire way to get the crowd involved and we'd like to avoid that as much as possible.

    Surprisingly, the Missouri line has given up 8 sacks this year and considering that Daniel is a mobile quarterback, this is probably a result of Daniel seeing a play, but waiting a little too long to try and make that play in the pocket and a sack ensues. It would be nice to see, once again, the Texas Tech defensive tackles do their jobs and clog the middle, while the ends get their push. Brandon Williams, Jake Ratliff, Daniel Howard and Sandy Riley are all going to have to do their part on Saturday. Getting to Daniel will be paramount to a Texas Tech victory.

    Advantage: Missouri


  • Missouri Rushing Offense v. Texas Tech Rushing Defense: Possibly another daunting task for our Red Raiders. Mizzou averages 175 yards a game, unfortunately for the Tigers, they will be without starting running back Tony Temple. Rock M Nation believes that Derrick Washington and Jimmy Jackson get the carries, but this is big. In fact, this probably changes some of the defensive game planning in that if I were Coach McNeill, I'd keep my focus on Daniel as much as possible with the basic tenant being - don't let Daniel beat you.

    Texas Tech's best chance begins with the improving play of the linebackers. It's been amazing to watch the development of Marlon William, Brian Duncan and the emerging Bront Bird. These linebackers are flying to the ball and it's been something completely different from what we've grown to expect. Certainly a pleasant surprise.

    Colby Whitlock and Rajon Henley must continue to improve on the defensive line and there's no reason why they won't.

    Perhaps, the biggest worry now that Temple is injured is the legs of Daniel and containing him in the pocket. Early in the year I theorized that playing teams with a spread offense would ultimately help Texas Tech against the Big 12 spread offenses (Willis, Clement, and Robinson) and I hope that holds true. Last year it seemed like Daniel ran all over the field, but the reality is that he finished with only 37 net yards that day.

    Advantage: Missouri

SPECIAL TEAMS: Still no L.A. Reed, but the Texas Tech coverage teams did okay without him last week. I'd prefer to have him in Columbia and he may be a game time decision, but without him the Red Raiders would be at a distinct disadvantage. I still don't think there's a more clutch kicker than Alex Trlica and the fact that he's getting kickoffs to the goal line is more than could be expected. As for Missouri, Jeremy Maclin is especially dangerous in punt returns and kickoff returns and it would be fun to see Reed attempt to take on Maclin in the kicking game. Missouri's Wolfert has made 8 field goals (compare with Trlica's 4) with his longest coming in at 47 yards. I don't think this game comes down to field position, but it could come down to kicking.

Advantage: Push

PREDICTION: Perhaps two of the most evenly matched teams in the Big 12 and I think this is going to be an outstanding game. I'm not sure how Texas Tech is going to get stops, but I believe that they will. Final score: Texas Tech 35, Missouri 31.