Last year, Missouri trounced Arkansas State 52-20 in a gamee that was never all that close. However, the Indians did manage to roll up 438 yards of total offense, including 350 in the air. Arkansas State brings much of that offensive attack back as the Tigers and Indians square off Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium. Here is a quick look at ASU's personnel.
Nick Noce started against the Tigers in that 2004 game and was 19-for-26 for 240 yards and two touchdowns before leaving due to an injury. Noce threw for 2,115 yards last season and 13 touchdowns overall. However, he also was picked off 16 times, including one that Mizzou's Phil Pitts returned for a touchdown.
Noce's yardage was the most ever for a first-year starter at ASU. In addition to his game against the Tigers, Noce threw for 418 yards against Memphis.
When Noce went out last season, he was replaced by Devin Hollins, who threw for 110 more yards. However, Hollins is gone now. The ASU backup this season is redshirt freshman Travis Hewitt.
The Indians run a two-back offense most of the time with Antonio Warren at tailback. Warren ran for 1.036 yards, but just two touchdowns, last season. He had just six carries for four yards in last season's contest. However, Warren has been tabbed as the 14th best player in the Sun Belt Conference by one publication this year.
"Warren, their tailback, has got exceptional quickness," said Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel. "He's an experienced player, he's breaking all sorts of records at Arkansas State."
Warren ranks tenth on the career rushing list at Arkansas State with 1,974 yards.
At fullback is Oren O'Neal, who had a solid day in Columbia last season. O'Neal ran five times for 22 yards and also caught a six-yard touchdown pass. A good lead blocker, O'Neal also averaged nearly six yards a carry last season.
Receivers Chuck Walker set career highs against the Tigers last season with six catches for 126 yards. However, Walker is gone this season. In his place, Gary Vincent and Levi Dejohnette are listed as the starters. Dejohnette is the leading returning receiver after grabbing 25 balls for 280 yards a season ago. Vincent had 10 catches for 155 yards.
Sophomore Joe Smith and Patrick Higgins are the primary backups. They combined for just 11 receptions and one touchdown a season ago.
At tight end, 6-foot-4, 232-pound senior Manuel Burton is the starter. Burton caught tewo passes for 20 yards as a junior, backing up starter Jason Hood. Second string tight end David Johnson is a true freshman.
The Indians lost 68 percent of their receiving yards and 63 percent of their total receptions from last season.
The offensive front starts two seniors, two freshmen and a junior.
"We're pleased with how our offensive line is coming together," said ASU head coach Steve Roberts. "Obviously, with the things Missouri does defensively, they're tremendous at stopping the run with movement up front and zone blitzes, things that are difficult to prepare for. They did a great job of containing our running game last year and we had to go to the air."
ASU averaged 5.3 yards per play a season ago, and 4.2 yards per run. The starters range in size from 292 pounds up to right tackle Cody Brown at 326.
PowerMizzou.com will be your most comprehensive source for coverage of the Tigers throughout the 2005 season. Each Monday, we will provide you with a transcript of coach Pinkel's press conference in its entirety. Throughout the week, we will provide audio interviews, feature stories and analysis of the upcoming game. During the game, we will provide Instant Analysis of the contest and will continue with complete post-game coverage throughout the weekend. To talk about it with other Tiger fans, visit our premium forum, The Tigers' Lair.