Can the Missouri Tigers Reach Bowl Eligibility?

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Oct 16, 2015; Provo, UT, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Tanner Mangum (12) looks to pass in the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

About three weeks ago, this matchup looked like it would be between two top-25 teams.

So much for that wishful thinking. The BYU Cougars have come down from the high of the early season, and have been exposed as an alright team, rather than a College Football Playoff hopeful. The motor that powers the 37th-ranked offense in the nation is still QB Tanner Mangum, the freshman that replaced the injured Taysom Hill. Mangum, for his efforts, has established himself as a great quarterback; Mangum has thrown for 1668 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Cougars offense currently pumps out 29 PPG, according to ESPN.

Another note about Mangum, however, is that he has been sacked 18 times this season. Going up against the defense with nation’s leading tackler Kentrell Brothers could be a problem for the BYU offensive line. Getting to Mangum will be the key for the Missouri defense; when Mangum is up, he can change a game with one pass, but his offensive line lets him down often.

Staying up might be a problem for whoever starts against BYU for Missouri at the quarterback position. BYU, while having a defense that gives up 26 points per game, boasts one of the top sackers in the nation in Bronson Kaufusi, who has six sacks for the season thus far. Neutralizing Kaufusi will be imperative for the Missouri Tigers if the run game does not recover.

Outside of Kaufasi, though, the BYU defense will be easier than either Vanderbilt or Mississippi State. Aside from the aforementioned 26 PPG, the Cougars defense has given up 2745 yards, or 392 YPG. Ineffective as Missouri’s offense has been, surely it should be able to take advantage of BYU’s lesser defense after going up against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Missouri should have a decent chance to win this game.

Next: Tennessee