College Football Preview: The 2014 Missouri Tigers
2014 College Football Preview
Odds to Win National Championship: 66/1 See the Latest Odds
Overview: The Missouri Tigers had possibly their most successful season in program history last year with 12 wins and a trip to the SEC Championship Game. Of course, the Tigers fell short to the Auburn Tigers, but this was easily the biggest surprise team in the country considering they won just five games in their first season in the SEC in 2012. Missouri capped the season off with a bowl victory in the Cotton Bowl, its second bowl win in the last three years. While expecting the same thing this season would be a stretch, Missouri proved it can play with the big boys in the SEC.
Offense: With no more James Franklin, Maty Mauk is the new quarterback for Missouri. Last season in limited action, Mauk threw for 1,071 yards and 11 touchdowns, while rushing 229 yards and a touchdown. If Mauk can improve his completion percentage above 60 percent, Missouri has itself a solid signal-caller leading the offense. While Henry Josey is also no longer on the team, Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy are two running backs who topped 600 rushing yards apiece last season and form a nice little duo in the backfield. Wide receiver is the massive question mark for Missouri, as L'Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas graduated, and Dorial Green-Beckham was dismissed. That’s Missouri’s top three receivers from last year.
USA TODAY Sports
Defense: Missouri is going to be a young defense this season with players such as Andrew Wilson, E.J. Gaines, Michael Sam and Kony Ealy all moved on. That’s a lot of leadership and a ton of production that is no longer on the field. While it may look like the sky is falling on Missouri’s defense, Shane Ray and Markus Golden form a nice defensive end tandem that combined for 11 sacks last season. Kentrell Brothers is a playmaking linebacker who had three interceptions and 70 tackles as a sophomore. Braylon Webb is a versatile defensive back who racked up 89 tackles and seven passes broken up last season. There are still solid pieces along this defense, it’s just a matter of how well the younger guys can replace the leaders from a year ago.
Special Teams: Andrew Baggett has one of the strongest legs in the country and made 18 of 25 field goal attempts last season. Christian Brinser averaged just over 41 yards per punt.
Outlook: With a new quarterback, new running back, almost no experience at wide receiver and losing the best SEC defensive player, don’t expect a repeat of last season if you’re a Missouri fan. However, this team can still make things happen and remain fairly competitive in the SEC East. With a favorable schedule and a few breaks, Missouri could push for double-digit victories. With no breaks, Missouri is looking at a subpar season with seven to eight wins.