The Arizona St. Sun Devils have a chance to make a statement on Saturday night as they travel to Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers. The Devils have beaten up on Northern Arizona and Illinois, although neither team is looking like much a threat this season. That will change on Saturday night against the Tigers, who received votes in both major polls during the preseason.
Our ASU blog, House of Sparky, listed a couple keys to this week's game. Here they are.
#1 Win the Turnover Battle
Missouri's offense rarely gets stopped; the best way to beat them is forcing mistakes. At the end of the first quarter against No. 7 Georgia, it was knotted at zeros. To start the second quarter, Mizzou marched on an 11-play, 47-yard drive to take the lead, but they soon fumbled. ASU needs to have the same approach, searching for strips and jumping passing lines.
Expecting ASU to play completely clean football is a nice goal, but more realistically the Sun Devil Faithful hopes for no more than one turnover. If ASU has one or less turnovers, they will be in prime position to win.
#2 Make Missouri Running Backs Gain Yards
Daring Missouri backs to run is a dangerous task, but a risk that should be taken. Franklin is a dynamic player, requiring extra corners and safety to worry about the pass. Tigers senior starting running back Kendial Lawrence has been phenomenal so far, sporting 162 yards and two touchdowns.
I respect Lawrence's ability, but Mizzou wants to air it out or run with Franklin. ASU defensive ends need to contain, limiting Franklin's running ability. Devilbacker Carl Bradford will also be key in marking Franklins every footstep.
For more keys to the game for the Sun Devils and a final prediction, be sure to check out House of Sparky.