Preview: Missouri and Indiana ready for fast-paced showdown

BY foxsports • September 20, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Indiana coach Kevin Wilson already has a pretty good sense of what to expect Saturday night.

He
and Missouri coach Gary Pinkel have matched wits and recruited against
one another in two other conferences, and they subscribe to similar
offensive philosophies. So expect a good, old-fashioned wide-open
shootout -- just like these coaches used to have in the Big 12. Except,
of course, this time Wilson represents the Big Ten and Pinkel the SEC.

"It
really takes me back to playing in the Big 12 and the way they like to
throw the ball," Missouri cornerback E.J. Gaines said.

The SEC
has had the upper hand against the Big Ten and just about every other
conference in America over the last decade, and Saturday's game marks
the first head-to-head matchup between the two power conferences this
season.

On paper, it looks relatively even.

Missouri (2-0)
has started strong after going 5-7 last season and has a fifth-year
quarterback running one of the nation's top offenses. Indiana (2-1) is
attempting to overcome years of frustration, including last season's 4-8
mark and, like Missouri, has been scoring points by the dozens.

Nothing new there.

But Wilson also understands his team can't afford to make mistakes against a typically disciplined Pinkel-coached team.

"They're
not going to play sloppy. They're not going to turn it over," Wilson
said. "They have good balance on O, good defense, solid football team.
You've got to beat a team like that. They're not going to lose the game.
You have to play well to beat teams like this."

Here are five things to watch Saturday:

LIGHT 'EM UP

Indiana
and Missouri are both ranked among the top 10 nationally in scoring.
The Hoosiers average 50.0 points per game, Missouri 48.0. Don't expect
much to change this week. While the Tigers have allowed 18.5 points,
this will easily be their toughest non-conference matchup they've had.
Indiana's defense, meanwhile, played much better last week than the
previous one. While the Hoosiers are yielding 28.7 points, that number
has been skewed because two turnovers and a blocked punt were returned
for touchdowns.

QUARTERBACK FUN

Aside from seeing
another potential basketball score, again, this game may be one of the
most overlooked head-to-head quarterback matchups in the nation.
Missouri's James Franklin, once recruited by Wilson, leads a balanced
attack that averages 274 yards passing per game and 265 rushing.
Franklin also has four TD passes and is ranked No. 31 nationally in
passer efficiency (155.1). Indiana's Nate Sudfeld is off to a
surprisingly good start. Despite making only one start, he has thrown
for 917 yards and 10 touchdowns and is No. 7 in passer efficiency
(195.3).

PREP WORK

Missouri appears to have one
distinct advantage -- prep time. Not only are the Tigers already
familiar with Wilson's style from their days in the Big 12 together,
they also got the benefit of having an early bye week. It gave Missouri
two weeks to prepare for what is likely to be their biggest challenge
until mid-October. It will be interesting to see how much the extra time
helps. But the Hoosiers may have benefited, too. By playing last week,
the Hoosiers had an opportunity to move beyond the Navy debacle with a
big win over Bowling Green.

COACHES CORNER

Pinkel
has always won games. He left Toledo as the career wins leader and a win
Saturday would move him into a second-place tie with Dan Devine (93) on
Missouri's career victories list. Ten more wins would send Pinkel past
Don Faurot (101) for the school record. Wilson, meanwhile, is trying to
show Hoosiers fans he can meet this season's expectations. With five
straight home games to open the season, most figured the Hoosiers needed
to be 3-1 in non-conference play to have a shot at a bowl game. A win
Saturday would do just that.

LATE NIGHT WITH THE LETTERMEN

Two
of Indiana's three games have lasted well over 3 1/2 hours. The only
one that didn't go long was the Navy game, which kept the clock moving
with a 444-yard rushing game. Missouri is no Navy. The Hoosiers and
Tigers will both try to keep pressure on the defense by moving quickly
from one play to the next. And with an 8 p.m. ET kickoff, these teams
could keep fans burning the midnight oil, literally, before anyone
leaves Memorial Stadium.


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