November 2, 2007

Preview and prediction: Tigers vs Colorado

Each week, PowerMizzou.com will provide a complete preview and prediction on that week's game. On Thursday, we had a joint look at the game with BuffStampede.com. But on Fridays we take things in house. Here is the exclusive PowerMizzou.com breakdown of Saturday's contest against Colorado:

Missouri Keys to the Game

First off, the offense has to do what it usually does in the first quarter. More than any game this year, a two-touchdown lead in the first 20 minutes could put a nail in the coffin in this one. Next, and it's along the same lines, the Tigers have to slow down Charles. Stuffing the run game in addition to putting up early points means Hawkins has to win the game with his arm and that's not what Colorado wants to try. Finally, Missouri just can't beat itself. The Tigers are the better team. If they play as well as they can, Colorado can't win. But if Mizzou combines turnovers and penalties to keep Colorado in it until the fourth quarter, the Buffs have already proven they can get the job done.

Colorado Keys to the Game

Well, it's pretty much the opposite. An early lead would do wonders for Colorado. If they can get a stop or a turnover on the Tigers' opening possession and turn it into points, that's a huge plus. Colorado has to play from in front this week. They also need to do enough damage with their front four that Dizon is free to roam and make plays. He might be the best defensive player the Tigers will face all season long and he's got to be a difference maker for Colorado. Finally, we don't often put concrete statistical numbers as a key, but Hugh Charles has to have 100 yards or it will be very difficult for CU.

Final Analysis

Colorado is good enough to win this game. They've beaten the two best teams on their schedule so far. Missouri, though, is a better team and has an offense unlike the Colorado defense has seen all season long. This game will either be over at the start of the third quarter or will go down to the final drive. If Missouri can start hot and get confidence, the Tigers are good enough to win this by three or four touchdowns. But if they let the Buffs hang around, it's going to be trouble. If this is a one score game at the start of the fourth, we like Colorado. We just don't think it's going to be that close.

Prediction: Missouri 37, Colorado 20

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