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

Bill RobbinsCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2011

Sophomore QB James Franklin hopes to get Missouri back on the winning track in their homecoming game against Iowa State this weekend.
Sophomore QB James Franklin hopes to get Missouri back on the winning track in their homecoming game against Iowa State this weekend.Brett Deering/Getty Images

The Missouri Tigers will be back at home this weekend when they face the Cyclones of Iowa State in an inner-conference matchup at Faurot Field.

This isn't just any game. This will be Mizzou's homecoming contest, so there is guaranteed to be a big crowd on hand for the Tigers' sixth game of the 2011 season.

Mizzou comes into this matchup having lost their last two games for a 2-3 overall record, while ISU has also lost their last two contests, but is one game better at 3-2 for the season.

This will be the 104th overall game between the two schools, with Missouri holding the advantage by going 60-34-9 in the series.

Offensively, the Tigers are led by sophomore quarterback James Franklin and sophomore running back Henry Josey.

Josey currently leads the Big 12 in rushing with 588 yards on the campaign, while Franklin is averaging about 240 passing yards and two total TDs per game.

When Missouri passes, Franklin usually goes to reliable junior wideout T.J. Moe or All-American tight end Michael Egnew, who are first and second on the team in receptions, respectively.

The Cyclones appear to have their hands full on the defensive side of the ball in this game, as they are 94th in the nation in total defense, allowing nearly 420 yards of offense per game.

On offense, Iowa State is led by running back James White and play-making senior wideout Darius Reynolds.

White already has 347 rushing yards and five touchdowns through five games this season, while Reynolds has 26 catches for 488 yards and six scores on the year.

The Tigers counter on defense with sack-masters Jacquies Smith and Brad Madison on the defensive line.

The ISU O-line will have their hands full trying to block these two talented defensive standouts throughout the game.

However, Missouri's secondary could be an area that the Cyclones could exploit, considering that this unit has seemingly struggled throughout nearly the entire season.

Key Matchup: Missouri's Rush Offense vs. Iowa State's Front Seven

Missouri has one of the more talented RBs in the conference in Henry Josey and sophomore QB James Franklin is also a threat to run the ball as well—as evidenced by his 306 yards on the ground so far this season.

If MU can get their running game going, it will open up the passing game for Franklin.

If Iowa State can shut down Missouri's ground attack, they can help slow down the game and have a chance to control the tempo of the game as well.

Prediction: Missouri 35, Iowa State, 17

I see Franklin, Josey and the Missouri offense being too much for the Cyclones and they should coast to any easy homecoming victory this Saturday in Columbia.