When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium
TV: SEC Network
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Radio: 107.5 FM
Three Story Lines
1. Reeling Tigers: Missouri is riding a four-game losing streak, with the last two coming against Middle Tennessee and Kentucky. The Wildcats ran for 377 yards, a sign of where things are for a program that rode defense to a pair of division titles in 2013 and 2014 before the offense fell apart last year.
2. Avoiding the letdown: The Gamecocks just posted the biggest win of the Will Muschamp era and the biggest victory in years. Now they have to turn around and refocus on a downtrodden Tigers squad. That isn’t always the easiest for a squad heavy on youth.
3. Win the tossups: South Carolina suddenly finds itself with a great deal of control over its bowl fate. If it sweeps Mizzou and Western Carolina, it’s going to the postseason. That means this Tigers squad, itself searching for a signature win with a new coach, becomes the No. 1 stumbling block in the way of that goal.
Three Players to Watch
1. Quarterback Drew Lock: Last year a wobbly true freshman thrown into the fire, Lock has progressed as a sophomore. At the helm of the Tigers’ hurry-up spread, he’s thrown for 2,215 yards, run for 139 more and tossed 18 touchdown, though 10 came in blowouts of Delaware State and Eastern Michigan.
2. Wide receiver J’Mon Moore: He’s only got seven more receptions than the No. 2 pass catcher, but he’s a workhorse for the passing game. He’d been targeted nearly twice as often as any other player on the roster before the Kentucky game and has 551 yards and six touchdowns on the season.
3. Defensive back Aarion Penton: The Mizzou pass defense is probably one of the things it does best, and Penton is key there. The junior cornerback leads the team with nine pass breakups, plus three picks and 30 total tackles.
▪ Missouri’s hurry-up spread attack is on the more diverse side, mixing a lot of different running plays and some simpler quick-read passing concepts. It’s not been a particularly good unit.
▪ Lock is more mobile than he seems, and they can move him around on occasion.
▪ The three tight ends the Tigers use are all very large, at least 6-foot-5, 250 pounds.
▪ Missouri does something Baylor used to do, which is have receivers who are not possible targets on simple run-pass options simply not run routes to preserve their legs.
▪ The Tigers defense can move seamlessly between three- and four-down fronts.
▪ The pass rush, usually a reliable area for Missouri, has been deeply lacking this season. The Tigers rank 107th in sacks per game (1.38) this season.
▪ The Tigers have had tackling problems in spots, and the loss to Kentucky was a good example.