July 1st 2012. That’s the date that changed both West Virginia and Missouri’s college football fates. The Mountaineers moved into the Big 12, and Missouri moved out. Because of that realignment these two teams haven’t met as much as they could have if a few things went differently.
The Tigers, now in the SEC conference, have played West Virginia only once since that date. That game came in 2016 when the Mountaineers collected their first of ten wins that season.
This year it’s a complete 180 and the Missouri Tigers are the team that’s expected to collect their first of around ten wins. West Virginia enters as 14 point underdogs. It’s a power five matchup and one that West Virginia would love to steal. Here’s a few things to look for in this matchup against the Missouri Tigers.
Kelly Bryant’s Dual Threat Ability
Kelly Bryant transferred to Missouri last season after loosing out the Clemson job to Trevor Lawrence. He’s still a national champion caliber quarterback and Missouri got great news when he decided to head to Columbia. One year later he’s still the same dangerous QB he was at Clemson. In week one Bryant threw for 423 yards and ran the ball 11 times. There wasn’t much success when he ran but he’ll definitely have some against the Mountaineers. WVU straggled to hold Ben DiNucci in check last week and Bryant is leaps and bounds better when it comes to running the ball. If you take away the sacks, DiNucci ran for 66 yards. West Virginia needs to find a way to hold Bryant in check or he will surely run all over them.
West Virginia Has a Chance to Fix The Run Game
The Mountaineers simply could not run the ball against JMU. In an embarrassing effort WVU ran for 34 yards on 24 carries. With the quality running backs the Mountaineers have and the absence of talent on offense, the run game needs to fix itself. It will have a great chance against Missouri. The Tigers defensive line is definitely weak and that was on display in week one. They let Wyoming run for 297 yards. TWO-HUNDRED-AND-NINTY-SEVEN. If Wyoming can do that West Virginia should at least see some success, and boy, do they need it.
West Virginia Passing Defense Faces its First Real Test
The fact of the matter is Ben DiNucci didn’t throw the ball very well against WVU. West Virginia now faces a much more quality group of receivers and a much more talented quarterback. Missouri has Albert Okwuegbunam, an all-SEC caliber tight end. He’s very dangerous. Josh Johnson is a wideout who Bryant likes to target and Arkansas transfer Johnathan Nance caught Bryants only two touchdowns last week. Both Josh Norwood and Keith Washington had good games last week and Hakeem Bailey broke up three huge passes. Those three Mountaineer defensive backs had a pretty easy week one matchup, week two won’t be as easy.
What Will The Headline Be Tomorrow?
“Kelly Bryant puts the dual in dual threat, runs past West Virginia leading Missouri to first win of the season.”