COLUMBIA — Concerned about nodding off in front of the TV watching Missouri play Arizona State on Friday night?
The game doesn't start until 9:30 p.m. CDT, but no worries. Find No. 7 in the middle of Arizona State's defense. Fix your eyes on him. Forget about falling asleep.
at Arizona State (1-0)
WHEN: 9:30 p.m. CDT
WHERE: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 FM, KCMQ/96.7 FM
NOTE: After a season-opening 17-6 win over Miami (Ohio) last Saturday in Columbia, Missouri has 22-consecutive nonconference regular season victories.
You might as well be watching a suspense thriller. No one knows what Vontaze Burfict is going to do next.
Missouri faces a player in Burfict who is capable of making life miserable for the Tigers but only if he refrains from doing so to his own team first.
After being voted the Pac-10 conference defensive freshman of the year in 2009, the 6-foot-3, 252-pound linebacker tallied a team-high 90 tackles as a sophomore last year. Many of them were vicious, such as the hit against Idaho State quarterback Russell Hill. A hit like that against James Franklin, and the Missouri quarterback won't even be able to give his customary post-game congratulations to his opponent.
This season, Burfict was named to the preseason All-America team. Some predict he will be the defensive player of the year. Everybody is watching him.
That includes the referees. Burfict had three personal fouls in a game against Washington last season. A late face mask followed by a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Stanford cost Arizona State the game. And a headbutt to Oregon State quarterback Ryan Katz forced Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson to bench Burfict at the start of the team's next game.
“For every great story you have about Vontaze, another guy on another team will say he has one better,” Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck told the Sporting News.