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5 Keys Answered: Independence Bowl

Thursday, January 1, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:20 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

1

The Missouri defense has to flush Arkansas quarterback Ryan Sorahan out of the pocket and keep quarterback Matt Jones in it. Sorahan has a strong arm and Jones excels with his legs.

Sorahan was able to stand in and complete all three passes he attempted in his one series, and Jones was able to get out and run. Jones gained 74 yards on seven carries and was tough to bring down in the secondary.

2

The Tigers can’t play with stars in their eyes. The bowl experience can be overwhelming and if they let it get to them, it could cost them against a team with as much bowl experience as the Razorbacks.

[photo]

Arkansas cornerback Lawrence Richardson calls for a cheer before a fourth-down play. Missouri was stopped. (ANDREA TAYLOR/Missourian)

Missouri came out strong, which seems to indicate it was prepared for the atmosphere. The Tigers made many uncharacteristic mistakes, though, which they should be able to build on in future bowl appearances.

3

MU must keep doing what it has done well all season, run the ball. A steady diet of Brad Smith, Zack Abron and Damien Nash will help control the ball and the clock.

The Tigers ran the ball well, but they went away from the running game at times and it hurt them. Abron went almost an entire quarter between rushes, and Arkansas took the lead during that time.

4

The much-maligned Missouri run defense probably can’t stop Arkansas tailback Cedric Cobbs, but if it can contain him and keep him out of the end zone, it would go a long way toward an MU win.

Cobbs was a deserving Offensive Most Valuable Player. He rushed for 141 yards on 27 carries and his 41-yard touchdown run was a backbreaker. Missouri didn’t have much luck stopping Cobbs’ backup, DeCori Birmingham, either. Birmingham carried 10 times for 87 yards.

[photo]

Arkansas defensive lineman Jeremy Harrell is congratulated by fans after the Razorbacks’ victory over Missouri in Shreveport, La. (ANDREA TAYLOR/Missourian)

5

Returners Marcus James and Shirdonya Mitchell have been close to breaking a touchdown run all season. There is no better time for one of them to take one all the way than in Missouri’s biggest game of the year.

James and Mitchell came close every time, as usual, but they weren’t able to break one for the big play Missouri needed to get back in it.


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