The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 7th, 2:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Faurot Field (68,349) -- Columbia, Missouri. Television:None. Home Record: Baylor 2-3, Missouri 2-2. Away Record: Baylor 1-2, Missouri 2-1. Neutral Record: Baylor 1-0, Missouri 0-0. Conference Record: Baylor 0-4, Missouri 1-3. Series Record: Missouri leads, 10-2.
GAME NOTES: The Missouri Tigers go for their second Big 12 win in a row this weekend, as they entertain the struggling Baylor Bears at Faurot Field in Columbia.
The Tigers finally snapped out of their funk and in the process captured their first Big 12 victory of the campaign, a 36-17 triumph at Colorado last weekend. The win put an end to a three-game slide, all against league foes, and pushed Missouri to 5-3 on the season. With one more victory, the two-time defending Big 12 North champs would become bowl eligible for a school record fifth consecutive season. A sixth win doesn't guarantee the Tigers of reaching a bowl, but it does put them in position to participate in the postseason.
As for the Bears, they come into the weekend riding the wave of a four-game losing skid, with each setback coming in Big 12 play. Last weekend, Baylor was defeated by Nebraska, 20-10, as it suffered its 10th straight loss in the series. The Bears, who haven't beaten Nebraska since 1956, are now just 3-5 on the season.
The all-time series between Baylor and Missouri is led by the Tigers, 10-2, and they are a perfect 7-0 against the Bears since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996.
The Bears' offense continued its downward spiral this past weekend, gaining a mere 276 total yards with no touchdowns in a loss to Nebraska. Baylor, which is averaging just 8.5 ppg during its current losing streak, hasn't been the same since losing star quarterback Robert Griffin III to a torn ACL in late September. Nick Florence got the nod under center this past weekend and he committed three turnovers, while being sacked seven times. He finished the game 19-of-38 for 222 yards, and Florence has thrown just two touchdown passes against four picks in six appearances this season. David Gettis was his main target against Nebraska with seven receptions for 124 yards, while Kendall Wright added four receptions for 48 yards. Wright leads the team with 40 catches for 448 yards this season, and Gettis follows with 31 receptions for 426 yards and a team-best three touchdowns. Baylor doesn't posses an effective ground attack, averaging just 122.1 ypg, so it will continue to air the ball out each weekend.
Defensively, the Bears did a sound job against Nebraska, limiting the Huskers' offense to just one touchdown and only 273 total yards. It was a nice performance from a unit that is giving up 385.1 total ypg on average. Baylor held Nebraska to just 11 first downs and blanked the Cornhuskers over the final two quarters. The defense even came up with a pair of turnovers, bringing its season total to 14, and Clifton Odom returned an interception 45 yards for the team's lone touchdown on the day. Joe Pawelek guided the defense in defeat with nine stops and he continues to be the unit's most consistent player, leading the way with 75 tackles on the year.
Missouri scored 33 straight points, including 21 in the first quarter alone, as it coasted to a 36-17 win over Colorado this past weekend. The Tigers rolled up 400 total yards, above their season average of 375.4 ypg, and controlled the ball for over 36 minutes. Derrick Washington led the ground attack, which amassed 184 yards, with 99 and a touchdown on 22 carries. A 1,000-yard rusher last season, Washington has now gone for 550 yards in 2009, although Missouri is averaging just 123.6 rushing ypg as a team. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert was also effective last weekend despite two picks, as he threw for 192 yards and a a pair of touchdowns. The sophomore gunslinger has done a decent job in his first go-around as a starter and he has now thrown for 1,896 yards, with 15 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Danario Alexander is his favorite target with 58 catches for 824 yards and seven scores, and Jared Perry also gets his fare share of looks, pulling in 36 passes for 542 yards and six touchdowns. Last weekend, Alexander was the one to step up, as he snared eight passes for 123 yards and a pair of scores.
The Tigers turned in a solid performance on the defensive side of the ball last weekend, as they held Colorado to just 176 total yards, including negative-14 rushing. The defense has done a rather solid job this season, limiting foes to 324.6 ypg, so last weekend's performance wasn't a big surprise, but it was a nice rebound after getting beat up by Texas and Oklahoma State in consecutive games. Missouri also forced Colorado into four turnovers, while racking up a whopping eight sacks. Aldon Smith accounted for three of those sacks, as he continues to shine for the Tigers with eight sacks and 13 TFLs on the season.
Missouri is coming off a nice win and it should be able to continue its momentum against a struggling Baylor squad. The Tigers should be able to control the game on both sides, as they pick up their first Big 12 home win of the campaign.