Can the Missouri Tigers get the Barry Odom era off to a promising start?
Where: Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, West Virginia
When: 11:00 AM CT, Saturday, September 3, 2016
Vegas Odds: West Virginia (-10)
TV Broadcast: FOX Sports 1
Live Stream: FOXSportsGO.com, FOX Sports GO App
The Missouri Tigers kick off their 2016 football season on Saturday morning (or afternoon, if you’re actually there) at West Virginia, facing off against the Mountaineers for the first time since they beat them in the 1998 Insight Bowl, and traveling to Morgantown for the first time since 1993.
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The Tigers and Mountaineers
during their respective histories, with Mizzou holding a 3-2 edge in the series. Interestingly, the first two matchups came during the 1920s, with the subsequent three all coming during the 1990s.
Saturday represents a chance at a fresh start for the Tigers, who have dealt with plenty of turmoil over the past 18 months, including two athletic director changes (plus a small army of different interim ADs), a head coaching change, a high-profile civil rights protest, and the dismissal of the team’s starting quarterback and two of its best defensive players. This game will mark Barry Odom’s head coaching debut. It should be interesting to see what changes Odom and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel have in store for the Tigers.
It will also be a chance for quarterback Drew Lock to show that he’s the real deal as he enters his true sophomore season. Though second-stringer Marvin Zanders is expected to get some playing time on Saturday, Lock will be the starter, and he’ll be itching to repair his reputation after being unexpectedly cast into starting duty as a true freshman. Though he came into the program as Mizzou’s most highly-regarded quarterback prospect in a long while, Lock finished his first collegiate campaign with a disappointing 49 percent completion percentage, four touchdown passes, and eight interceptions while being sacked 25 times in 12 games (eight starts).
West Virginia’s offense, which finished 23rd in the country last year, is definitely expected to be the strength of the team again this year. The key for the Tigers will likely be getting to a vulnerable Mountaineer secondary that lost safeties Karl Joseph and K.J. Dillon to the NFL after 2015. Thus, it might all be up to Lock and an inexperienced group of receivers to guide the Tigers to victory on Saturday.