COLUMBIA — Missouri (0-1) will take on Eastern Michigan University (1-0) in the team's home opener Saturday in Columbia. Last week, Missouri lost a road game to West Virginia University 26-11, while Eastern Michigan matched its win total from last season by defeating Mississippi Valley State University 61-14.
Here's a preview of the matchup.
How to watch: 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network (alternate)
How to listen: KMBZ 98.1 FM
The line: Missouri by 24 and 1/2
History: The two teams have met once in the past in 1997. Missouri won 44-24.
Players to watch — Missouri
Defensive end Charles Harris: Missouri's star defensive end created pressure at times in Saturday's loss to West Virginia, but his efforts didn't show up in the box score. Harris finished with two tackles and was held without a sack in the game. He'll look to bounce back in Week 2.
Cornerback Aarion Penton: After spending much of fall camp talking about how to create more turnovers, Penton backed up his words. The senior cornerback made an acrobatic play to intercept West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard. He's emerged as one of the best defenders at his position in the Southeastern Conference and will ride his personal momentum into a showdown with Eastern Michigan.
Wide receiver Chris Black: The graduate transfer from Alabama has been hyped for a while and Missouri fans finally got to see the wide receiver in action. Black finished with six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown last week. The team felt his impact immediately as he displayed crisp route running and quickness.
Players to watch — Eastern Michigan
Running back Shaq Vann: Eastern Michigan's leading rusher in the season opener, Vann broke out for 156 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. Barry Odom's Missouri defense allowed 241 yards on the ground against West Virginia, so limiting Vann could be crucial.
Defensive end Pat O'Connor: In 2014, O'Connor was a disruptive force for the Eagles defense, and he led the Mid-American Conference in sacks. He missed the entire 2015 season after shoulder surgery, but he returned strong in last week's season opener with two sacks. If Missouri's offensive line manages to neutralize O'Connor, it could go a long way toward a win.
Quarterback Todd Porter: A junior college transfer, Porter started the team's first game of the season, filling in for last year's starter Brogan Roback, who was suspended for a violation of team rules. Porter completed 15 of 22 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
Matchup to watch: Missouri offensive line versus Eastern Michigan defensive line
After an offseason full of doubt, Missouri's offensive line protected quarterback Drew Lock well in last week's loss to West Virginia. The unit played 100 snaps in the game, and Paul Adams, Kevin Pendleton, Sam Bailey, Alec Abeln and Tyler Howell allowed just one sack in the game.
Eastern Michigan's defensive line was a force to be reckoned with in its win over Mississippi Valley State. O'Connor finished with two sacks and two-and-a-half tackles for loss, while fellow defensive lineman Jeremiah Harris recorded a half sack and two-and-a half tackles for loss.
Additional Notes: Saturday's game will mark the first home game for Missouri head coach Barry Odom.
Supervising editor is Jaime Dunaway.