Pete Scantlebury of RockMNation was kind enough to answer some questions regarding this matchup so that we can get to know the Missouri Tigers.
1. Missouri decided to run a basic offense last week, what can be expected in Week 2 now that the Tigers are playing an upgraded opponent on defense in Wyoming?
I don’t think Missouri made things too complicated against UT-Martin, but I don’t think it ran a basic offense. They rolled out a variety of formations, using their talented tight ends in various ways in various sets (although Albert Okwuegbunam and Kendall Blanton didn’t get to involved in the passing game).
But as that game played out, Missouri could just rely on being more talented than an FCS team — which is why FBS teams schedule FCS teams in the first place. I think against Wyoming, the most added complexity we’ll see is on the ground. Missouri’s ground game left something to be desired against UT-Martin, and Derek Dooley will almost certainly try to add some new wrinkles to get that going against an impressively stout-so-far Wyoming defense.
2. Who are the key players that Wyoming needs to look out for when Missouri is on offense?
Besides Drew Lock, the big names are receiver Emanuel Hall (4 catches, 172 yards, 2 TDs in Week 1), tight end Albert Okwuegbunam and the running back duo of Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree III.
Hall is going to be a really intriguing matchup in this game, because he’s at his best beating defenses deep, and one-high safety has not worked against him to date (nearly 25 yards per catch, 817 yards in 2017). So, if Wyoming does sell out to stop the run, Hall could have some opportunities.
3. The Wyoming offense is struggling to move the ball, and score points. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Missouri defense?
I don’t think we really know the strengths and weaknesses yet this year, but the carry over from last year seems to be a strength of stopping the run and a weakness of rushing the passer/stopping the pass. We didn’t learn too much against UT-Martin, but Missouri does have a very talented group of linebackers returning, while its secondary is still largely unproven.
4. What are the average fans thought about this Wyoming Cowboys team?
I’m not really sure how to speak for the fanbase, but I’d say there’s probably a healthy combination of “Missouri should win easy” and “Missouri might get upset.” After last season — 1-5 start, 6-1 finish — I think fans are expecting a roller coaster type year until proven otherwise.
This is certainly one of the more intriguing games on the schedule, especially considering Missouri has a road game against Purdue and then Georgia the two weeks after.
5. How do you see this game being played out?
Well, the forecast doesn’t look great, so that certainly could play a big factor. Missouri is around an 18-point favorite, and they looked steady in the first game, which was a positive sign — especially on defense, with not a lot of missed tackles and only one really egregious blown assignment.
I think this will play out similarly to Wyoming’s last game, with the Cowboys keeping it close to halftime and then Missouri pulling away for a two-touchdown win. I’ll say Missouri 38, Wyoming 24.