Missouri vs. Kansas State: Preview, Key Matchup and Prediction

Bill RobbinsCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2011

Missouri starting QB James Franklin will make his Big 12 conference debut this weekend on the road against Kansas State.
Missouri starting QB James Franklin will make his Big 12 conference debut this weekend on the road against Kansas State.Brett Deering/Getty Images

The 2-2 Missouri Tigers will kick off their conference part of the schedule this weekend when they travel to Manhattan to take on the undefeated Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday afternoon.

Missouri is coming off of a 38-28 loss to then No. 1 ranked Oklahoma in Norman.

Kansas State is riding high after a thrilling 36-35 win over star QB Robert Griffin III and the Baylor Bears last weekend.

Mizzou's offense is led by sophomore quarterback James Franklin, and is quickly becoming a force this season.

Franklin has averaged nearly 264 passing yards per game and he has also rushed for 260 yards and four TDs as well.

The Corinth, Texas product likes to get the ball to junior wideout T.J. Moe, who leads the team with 23 receptions for 291 yards and a touchdown this year.

When Missouri decides to run the ball, they have one of the best backs in sophomore Henry Josey.

He has already racked up 533 yards rushing to go along with four touchdowns and an incredible 12.4 YPC average.

Thanks to Josey, the Missouri rushing offense is ranked No. 8 in the country this year.

The Wildcats will counter with a defense that is ranked No. 16 in the nation for total defense in 2011.

Junior LB Arthur Brown is a tackling machine, as he already has 33, to lead the Wildcats in that department so far this season.

Defensive linemen Jordan Voelker and Meshak Williams each have three sacks apiece, while juco-transer Nigel Malone leads the team with three interceptions.

The Kansas State offense will feature QB Collin Klein and his dual-threat ability at that position.

The junior signal caller has passed for 481 yards and rushed for 423 on the ground, while scoring 10 total touchdowns in the process.

In the ground game, the MU defense will have to account for Klein and sophomore RB John Hubert, who already has 343 rushing yards and a TD this year.

When Kansas State goes to the air, Klen's favorite target is junior receiver Chris Harper, who leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs, with 17, 189 and two respectively.

The Tigers' defense, led by senior linebacker Luke Lambert and All-Big 12 defensive end Brad Madison is ranked inside the top 20 for rushing defense in the nation.

They have a solid front seven, but if Kansas State can exploit the Tigers' more inexperienced secondary, it could be a long game for Missouri.


Key Matchup: Henry Josey vs. the Wildcats Defensive Front Seven

Missouri's starting RB Henry Josey's 133 yards per game average puts him at No. 6 in the nation. Kansas State's rushing defense is ranked No. 17 in the country. Something has to give in this game.


Prediction: Missouri 31, Kansas State 27

Although there is a lot of hype around this Kansas State team after a 4-0 start, I think that Missouri will prove that they are the better team once again this season by leaving Manhattan with a win, under the guidance of coach Gary Pinkel and his new QB James Franklin.