Missouri (2-0) at Indiana (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 21, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (52,929) -- Bloomington, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Missouri 2-0, Indiana 2-1. Away Record: Missouri 0-0, Indiana 0-0. Neutral Record: Missouri 0-0, Indiana 0-0. Conference Record: Missouri 0-0, Indiana 0-0. Series Record: Indiana leads, 6-2-2.
GAME NOTES: Two of the most explosive offenses in the country will go head-to- head when the Missouri Tigers face the Indiana Hoosiers in a non-conference clash at Memorial Stadium.
Currently tied for 17th in total offense among FBS programs, Missouri has enjoyed a quick 2-0 start to the campaign. Led by dual-threat quarterback James Franklin, the Tigers posted victories over FCS foe Murray State (58-14) and Toledo (38-23) in the first two weeks of the season. Missouri was off this past weekend as it prepared for it's first road test.
This marks the fourth of a five-game homestand to open the year for Indiana, which ranks eighth in the nation in total offense. Indiana traded wins and losses in the first three contests, with victories over FCS foe Indiana State (73-35) and Bowling Green (42-10), sandwiched around a setback to Navy (41-35). The 150 points the Hoosiers scored in the first three games set a program record for a three-game stretch.
This will be the first time these teams have met since 1992. Indiana earned a 20-10 victory in that contest and holds a 6-2-2 advantage all-time.
Franklin has been the most exciting player on offense and generally on the field when Missouri is playing. He has completed 66.7 percent of his pass attempts for 530 yards and four scores, while being intercepted just once. On top of the success through the air, Franklin is also third on the team with 121 rushing yards. He is one of three quarterbacks in the SEC to have thrown for 500 yards and rushed for 100 at this point in the season. The other two are Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw, who have each played one more game than Franklin.
The Tigers are a run-oriented offense, relying on a host of backs outside of Franklin to produce. Henry Josey (139 yards, three TDs) leads the team in rushing yards, but is one of four players to have reached the century mark already this year. Franklin, Russell Hansbrough (135 yards, two TDs) and Marcus Murphy (112 yards, two TDs) are the others.
In terms of pass catchers, Dorial Green-Beckham and L'Damian Washington are the most potent. Green-Beckham leads the team in receptions (nine) and yards (134), with Washington hot on his heels (eight receptions, 110 yards).
Missouri has also been a solid defensive squad in the first two contests. The Tigers have allowed 342 yards per game, while neither foe was able to score more than 25 points. It remains to be seen if the production can continue considering the Tigers have had just three sacks in those contests while allowing a 12-of-30 success rate on third down conversions.
E.J. Gaines (12 tackles, two INTs) and Braylon Webb (10 tackles, INT) are the top tacklers and have made plays in coverage as well. Michael Sam leads the team with four tackles for loss.
Indiana has been even more impressive on the offensive side of the ball. The Hoosiers are scoring 50 points per game, while totaling 571.3 yards of total offense on a weekly basis. Not only are those marks the best in the Big Ten, they are also among the top 10 nationally.
Nate Sudfeld is not built in the same mold as Franklin, but he is just as dangerous a signal caller. Sudfeld, who is much more of a pocket passer, has completed an impressive 70.6 percent of his attempts for 917 yards and 10 touchdowns, while being intercepted twice.
Four different receivers have already totaled 100 yards receiving for the Hoosiers. Cody Latimer (11 receptions, 210 yards, TD) leads in yards, while Kofi Hughes (13 receptions, 205 yards, three TDs) and Ted Bolser (12 receptions, 146 yards, four TDs) have been crucial weapons in the red zone. Shane Wynn has been a reel deep threat, averaging 20.6 yards per receptions to go with three touchdowns.
Indiana also has a great deal of success running the ball. The tandem of Tevin Coleman (332 yards, five TDs) and Stephen Houston (194 yards) have given the Hoosiers flexibility in the backfield.
For all their proficiencies on offense, Indiana could stand to improve on the defensive side of the field. The Hoosiers are allowing opponents to score 28.7 points and pick up 410 yards per game.
Nick Mangieri (10 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and Adarius Rayner (two sacks) have been strong pass rushers, while David Cooper (27 tackles) is one of four players with at least 20 tackles. Tim Bennett (21 tackles) is another, but his impact has been felt most in pass coverage where he has a team-high seven pass breakups.
This game will not lack offense. Expect a track meet, with both teams moving up and down the field at will. Indiana has the homefield advantage, but it has yet to face an offense as dangerous as Missouri. The Hoosiers haven't shown enough on defense to get the job done here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri 45, Indiana 41
09/18 10:51:33 ET