Matchup Preview: Mizzou vs. Southeast Missouri

Missouri suffered its first loss of the season in its SEC opener last week, falling 35-28 at Kentucky. Fortunately for a slightly beat up Tigers team, this week’s test is a bit less stern.

Missouri will host Southeast Missouri, its first matchup with an FCS program since the Tigers beat the Redhawks 50-0 in 2019. Since the inception of the FCS in 2006, Missouri has won all 14 of its matchups with FCS opponents, all by at least 20 points.

Here is everything you need to know to get set for the matchup.

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Missouri should hope to get running back Tyler Badie (1) and quarterback Connor Bazelak (8) some rest against Southeast Missouri this week. (J. Prather/USA Today)

Kickoff Information

Time: 11 a.m.

Location: Faurot Field, Columbia, MO

TV: SEC Network-Plus (Roy Philpott, Dave Steckel, Smacker Miles)

Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly, Howard Richards, Chris Gervino)

Spread: N/A

Series history: Missouri leads 4-0

Last matchup: Missouri won 50-0 in 2019

By the Numbers

2021 Offensive Statistics

2021 Defensive Statistics

Mizzou Injury Report

* Questionable:

CB Ennis Rakestraw

OL Case Cook

* Out:

WR Jay Maclin

DL Cannon York

Inside the Matchups

When Missouri has the ball:

SEMO’s defense has been terrible through two weeks — against FCS competition. The Redhawks have allowed nearly 50 points and 557 yards per game to the combination of Southern Illinois and Sam Houston. Missouri’s offense should be able to move the ball at will. The goal for the Tigers should be to make sure Connor Bazelak isn’t touched and give Tyler Badie a week off after he has touched the ball 53 times through the first two games.

ADVANTAGE: Mizzou

When SEMO has the ball:

This should present a get-well opportunity for a Missouri defense that currently ranks last among Power Five teams in both rush defense and total defense. SEMO has averaged a modest 3.5 yards per carry during its first two games. Meanwhile, starting quarterback CJ Ogbonna has completed less than 50 percent of his passes while throwing for two touchdowns and one interception through two games. The Tigers shouldn’t allow a touchdown, at least until the starters leave the field.

ADVANTAGE: Mizzou

Special teams

Eli Drinkwitz did make a point of mentioning that SEMO has blocked 12 kicks over the past three seasons, and Zion Custis averaged better than 30 yards per kickoff return in SEMO’s first game of the season, so it would be good for Missouri to avoid a protection bust or letting Custis get free. Barring those two developments, the Tigers should be fine.

ADVANTAGE: Mizzou

Blaze Alldredge and the Missouri defense will look to improve against the run versus Southeast Missouri on Saturday. (Denny Medley/USA Today)

Missouri’s keys to the game

1. Stop the run.

This has been one of our keys to the game for each of the first two weeks of the season. Missouri has struggled mightily to achieve it, particularly against Kentucky, when it gave up 341 yards on the ground. If the Tigers can’t get their run defense figured out this week, it’s officially time to panic. SEMO hasn’t run the ball particularly well against FCS competition so far this season, amassing 245 yards on the ground across two games. Perhaps tasting success against the run will boost the confidence of Missouri’s front six, even if it comes against an inferior opponent.

2. Take care of the ball.

Just about the only way to envision this game being competitive after halftime would be if Missouri gives SEMO several momentum boosts and easy scoring opportunities by turning the ball over. Fortunately for the Tigers, they’ve only given the ball away once through two games this year.

3. Stay healthy.

Winning the game should be a given, so this is really the biggest objective for Missouri. It would be a shame for a regular contributor to miss time later in the season because of an injury suffered against SEMO. Even though Drinkwitz didn’t want to talk about the possibility of giving his reserves some game reps during his press conference, it would seem a good goal to sit the starters for the entire second half.

Numbers to Know

7: Number of FCS teams that have defeated FBS opponents so far this season, as Drinkwitz made sure to remind his players during the week.

43.2: Average margin of victory by Missouri against FCS opponents since 2006.

99: Total points allowed by SEMO through two weeks this season.

392: Yards from scrimmage accumulated by Badie through two games, which leads the nation.

53: Receiving yards needed by Badie to become the first player in Missouri history to reach both 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in his career.

PowerMizzou predictions

Mitchell Forde: SEMO hasn’t even been good against FCS competition this season. The Tigers should be able to pick the number of points they want to score. Missouri 49, SEMO 3.

Gabe DeArmond: Missouri will score many points. SEMO will score many fewer points. On principle, I will do no more analysis than that. Mizzou 52, SEMO 17.

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