DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 15, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (68,349) -- Columbia, Missouri.
Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Arizona State 2-0, Missouri 1-1. Away
Record: Arizona State 0-0, Missouri 0-0. Neutral Record: Arizona State 0-0,
Missouri 0-0. Conference Record: Arizona State 0-0, Missouri 0-1. Series
Record: Tied 3-3.
GAME NOTES: Todd Graham will make his first road appearance as head coach
for Arizona State when the Sun Devils head to Columbia to take on the
Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium.
The Todd Graham era at ASU has gotten off to a very good start as the Sun
Devils come into this game 2-0 and with an offense that has posted scores of
63 and 45 in consecutive weeks. On Saturday the Sun Devils routed Illinois
45-14 to get revenge from a 17-14 loss on the road last season. Graham is now
just the seventh Arizona State coach to start his career 2-0 and one of six
coaches in 2012 to accomplish the feat.
Missouri got its first taste of SEC action in week 2 and although the outcome
was not desirable, the 41-20 loss to nationally ranked Georgia did have some
bright spots. The Tigers led 10-9 at the half and hung around in the game
before being worn down and allowing 17 unanswered points in the fourth
quarter. In its history, Missouri is 24-16-1 all-time against SEC opponents.
These two squads met in Tempe last season in week one of the season. The Sun
Devils pulled out the victory in overtime, 37-30. The win evened the all-time
series up at 3-3. Now that Missouri is a member of the SEC, Arizona State has
a chance to rectify an all-time record of 0-5 against schools from the
For the second straight week Arizona State was able to pile up yards and
points on offense, as Graham's new system continues to pay dividends. In the
win over Illinois the Sun Devils finished with 510 total yards and 45
points. Arizona State currently ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in yards per
game (532) and leads the conference in scoring (54.0 ppg). For a team with
so much firepower, Arizona State has relied on a more balanced attack with
567 total yards through the air and 497 on the ground.
That balance was in full effect against Illinois as the Sun Devils rushed
for 192 yards and also put up 318 yards in the passing game. That included
a hefty 13.8 yards-per-completion average. Taylor Kelly completed 18-of-24
passes for 249 yards before he was relieved by Michael Eubank, who was a
perfect 5-for-5, with a pair of touchdown passes.
Tight ends have yet to see the rise in usage that the NFL has in recent
seasons,, but Chris Coyle didn't seem to notice as he pulled in 10 passes for
131 yards and two scores in the game. It was the highest reception total by
a Arizona State tight end since 1999.
Both the offense and defense showed a great amount of discipline in the
game with only one penalty for five yards over the entire game.
With the offense running on all cylinders, the defense was able to relax a
bit and in doing so allowed 332 total yards to the Illini but only 14
points. The Sun Devils collected three interceptions in the game to limit
the scoring and kept Illinois out of scoring position for most of the game.
allowing only two trips to the red zone.
The defense also applied pressure all game long on the way to a six-sack
performance led by Carl Bradford, who had 2.5 quarterback takedowns in the
contest. Carlos Mendoza collected two of the team's interceptions and helped
make up for the loss of Brandon Magee, who was sidelined with concussion
Missouri showed flashes of the explosiveness its spread offense has become
known for in recent years in the loss to Georgia. The team's first touchdown
of the game came on a 41-yard strike from James Franklin to Marcus Lucas
and the team also scored on a three-play, 70-yard drive in the third
quarter that took only 46 seconds. Still, the Tigers were inconsistent and
finished with 371 total yards and more importantly only 20 points.
The play calling was balanced (41 pass, 39 run) but the yardage differential
was hard to ignore. James Franklin threw for all 269 yards and both of the
team's scores while the running game managed 102 yards with no back gaining
more than 43 yards. Franklin carried the ball a team-high 20 times for 65
yards but ended with only 25 net yards by losing 40 yards in negative plays.
Marcus Lucas (88 yards) and L'Damian Washington (81 yards) showed their big
play ability in the losing effort with each catching touchdown passes of at
least 40 yards, including Washington's 69-yarder in the third quarter.
If Missouri could have had the same success on defense in the second half
as it did in the first, against Georgia the outcome may have been a bit
different. Unfortunately after holding the Bulldogs to only nine points in
the first two quarters, the Missouri defense was lit up for 32 points over the
last two. The unit limited Georgia to 355 yards, but allowed too many
sustained drives with the Bulldogs making five successful trips to the red
Will Ebner led the team with nine tackles in the game and Brad Madison
picked up a pair of sacks to highlight the defensive effort. Madison needs
only 1.5 more sacks to reach the top-10 in program history.
Arizona State has enjoyed the comforts of playing at home and has been able
to pour it on offensively in the first two weeks. Missouri doesn't have the
defense to slow the Sun Devils, but Missouri does have the high-powered
offense to keep pace. With the added advantage of hosting this contest,
the Tigers should end up with a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri 42, Arizona State 34