Once again, no one is picking Missouri to make a whole bunch of noise in the SEC title chase, and once again, it has a team good enough to win the division championship. First things first, the Tigers have to go through the motions against SE Missouri State this week, a weird road trip to Arkansas State to follow, and UConn after that before starting up the SEC season at Kentucky, and that’s a good thing – the team does have things it needs to work on. Meanwhile, SEMO is in its second year under head coach Tom Matukewicz, and he’s building a decent program after going 5-7 last season. The Redhawks needed an overhaul, and it’s happening.
Below we dive into the Missouri vs. Southeast Missouri State prediction and game preview.
Missouri vs. Southeast Missouri State Prediction & Preview
Date: Saturday, September 5
Game Time: 4:00 ET
Network: SEC Network
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Why You Need To Care
Mizzou has work to do. Yes, it won the SEC East again, and yes, it had a shot against Alabama to make some sort of claim that it belonged in the playoff, but the offense was very un-Mizzoulike at times without the normal pop or consistency. The defense, particularly the pass rush, managed to carry the team at times, and now the Tigers need the early part of the season to find those playmakers on both sides of the ball.
SEMO will have an interesting offense once it figures out its quarterback situation, and despite losing five of the last six games, it showed signs that things are starting to turn around under Matukewicz. It’s going to be a fight to keep up any sort of pace, but the Redhawks were able to push Kansas last season in a 34-28 loss. There’s a good chance they won’t let this get embarrassing.
Why SE Missouri State Will Win
SEMO has offensive weapons, particularly receiver Paul McRoberts and running back DeMichael Jackson. McRoberts missed time with a foot injury, but he still ended up making 44 catches for 711 yards and nine touchdowns in just seven games. Jackson led the team with just 734 yards, but he’s dangerous whenever he gets into the open field.
Why Missouri Will Win
Turnovers. It’s a new year, but Missouri is always solid in turnover margin, and last season, SE Missouri State was a disaster, giving away 26 turnovers and coming up with just 17. There’s no way the Redhawks can stay alive without being at least +4, but that’s not going to happen as long as Mizzou doesn’t take too many chances. It will – it’s trying to tune up – but SEMO doesn’t have the pass rush to pressure Tiger quarterback Maty Mauk into gaffes.
Player Who Matters
Who’s the next Michael Sam, Shane Ray, or Markus Golden for the Missouri defensive front? Who’s going to dominate into the backfield on a regular basis? SEMO was terrific in pass protection last year allowing just nine sacks, but all eyes are on sophomore Charles Harris to be the next big thing. Tremendously athletic for his size, the 6-3, 255-pounder was a special high school basketball player, but he’s built to dominate in the backfield from a defensive end spot.
What’s Going To Happen?
Missouri will crank up the offense with Mauk spreading the ball around well and with big runs coming from the backfield. SE Missouri will put some points on the board, but the Tigers won’t be threatened.
Missouri vs. Southeast Missouri State Prediction
The time has come for the Missouri vs. Southeast Missouri State prediction …
Final Score: Missouri 40, SE Missouri State 17