COLUMBIA — The Missouri Tigers enjoyed an early bye week in their 2013 football season last week. The break allowed the Tigers, who face the Indiana Hoosiers on the road Saturday evening, to look at where they have room for improvement following wins against Murray State and Toledo.
The Tigers' offense has put up impressive numbers so far, averaging 539 yards and 48 points per game, and the team has moved up to No. 10 in ESPN's latest SEC Power Rankings.
But Missouri's offensive production has come against weaker competition. The Tigers will especially want to see more progress in the running game as they move on to tougher competition, Tod Palmer of The Kansas City Star reports.
Maybe the most noticeable change to the Tigers' defense this week will be the absence of Andrew Wilson, who was suspended for the first half of this week's game after being flagged for targeting a player in the Toledo game. However, because of Indiana's "breakneck offensive game plan," the Tigers will run a nickel package for most of the game.
Andrew Wilson and other Tiger defenders tackle Toledo running back David Fluellen on Sept. 7. (Photo: JOSHUA BOUCHER/Missourian)
The Tigers also have made other changes to the defense's depth chart. Harold Brantley replaced Lucas Vincent this week as the starting nose guard.
The adjustments are one of many the Tigers' defense has been making this year, as the line has recorded only one sack through the first two games. In total, the Tigers have recorded three sacks on the season, all against Murray State. Palmer reports the defense will have to make pressuring Indiana's quarterback a priority this week.
Despite the defensive line's slow start this season, some players have stood out, such as Markus Golden, who returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown against Toledo. Golden's interception return was the Tigers' longest since the 2005 Independence Bowl, Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
(Video: The Mizzou Network)
Missouri defensive end Markus Golden named SEC defensive lineman of the week. No tackles vs Toledo but scored TD on INT return— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) September 9, 2013
Indiana is 2-1 for the season, with wins against Indiana State and Bowling Green. The team's one loss was a 41-35 defeat against Navy.
The Hoosiers have been able to produce quite a bit of offense against those teams, especially through the air — Hoosiers quarterback Nate Sudfeld has passed for 917 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. The Tigers will have to watch out for big pass plays from Sudfeld, as seen in the video below.
(Video: Big Ten Network)
Kevin Wilson, head coach for the Hoosiers, will be rather familiar with the Tigers on Saturday night, Matter reports. Wilson was the offensive coordinator for the Oklahoma Sooners from 2002 to 2010, when the Tigers and Sooners played each other in consecutive Big 12 Championship games.
Pinkel: Indiana's offense is same offense Kevin Wilson ran at Oklahoma. Ran same fastball pace w/ Sooners— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) September 16, 2013
Like Missouri's struggling defense, the Hoosiers' defensive line also will be tested Saturday, David Woods of the Indianapolis Star reports.
The Hoosiers, like the Tigers, run an up-tempo offense Tigers coach Gary Pinkel says he never tells players to fake injuries to slow down an offense, and he won't against the Hoosiers, Palmer reports.
The Tigers led Toledo 24-23 at one point in their last game — a closer-than-comfortable lead, and especially one they want to avoid against the pass-happy offense of the Hoosiers, as the video below shows.
(Video: Big Ten Network)
Pinkel: "The test against Indiana is going to be a lot different than the last few games." #Mizzou— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) September 18, 2013
Supervising editor is Frank Russell.