Not in my memory can I remember a game that sends mixed signals quite like this Nevada game that the Missouri Tigers are about to play.
On the one hand, you have Missouri coming off a 69-17 blowout in 2008. Out-coached and played in Columbia last season, Nevada was absolutely blitzed in every phase of the game. Gary Pinkel and Co. couldn't have forgotten last year's game plan right?
You also have a talented young quarterback poised to rip apart a struggling secondary in Blaine Gabbert. Jimmy Clausen torched the Wolf Pack for 315 yards and four TDs earlier this year. BG might have a similar performance. Blaine has completed 68 percent of his passes and thrown eight touchdowns to zero interceptions this season. Big numbers might come this Friday in Reno.
But on the other hand, you have the revenge factor. The Wolfpack was embarrassed last year. Senior quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a talented dual-threat in his own right, has got to be determined to give the Tigers a taste of their own medicine. And running back Vai Taua and wide receiver Luke Lippincott (who has been at Nevada for about a million years) are the type of players that would have gauged Mizzou's defense in recent years.
Plus, the Wolfpack are playing their first game at home of 2009. Although the maximum capacity in Reno might not exactly be "the big house," they'll still have a crowd that will be jacked and ready to roll against the Tigers on Friday night football. With the nation watching, they'll be looking to pull an upset.
And what about veteran head coach Chris Ault?
The guys about to notch his 200th career victory. He was admittedly angry at his team's performance at Faurot Field last year. He might not be Vince Lombardi here, but he's a very well-respected coach. If a coach is going to lead an upset, it'll be a guy like Ault.
What will happen this Friday in Reno? Of this two-faced matchup, I could truly see either side of this Jekyll and Hyde showdown coming to fruition.
Mizzou looked garbage against Bowling Green, and looked equally bad in the first two drives of their game against Furman. Although nobody will talk about it because the Tigers ended up dropped 42 on the Paladins in the first half, until Danario Alexander threw a trick play touchdown to Jared Perry, that the Tigers just might not be a very good football team.
In addition, people might mock this claim, but Kaepernick, Taua and Lippincott can get to the end zone, and the Tigers, while they've looked improved this season, have a tendency to give up big points.
I'm not gonna predict a choke job by Missouri in Reno. But be on the look out. This one's got potential to get wild.
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