Missouri HC Gary Pinkel: Key is to contain ASU offense

Not many have forgotten the thrilling overtime game between ASU and Missouri from Sun Devil Stadium from a year ago. But a lot has changed with both teams since the matchup. ASU with their new coaching staff and Mizzou now members of the South Eastern Conference.

Despite the changes, these two teams did meet just a year ago, and with Mizzou coming up just short in overtime, are the Tigers out for revenge this weekend?

“I think that’s a little blown out of proportion but I think we are certainly excited about playing again,” said Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel on ‘Big Guy on Sports’ Wednesday. “A lot of our kids are gone and a lot of things have changed there. It’s an important football game obviously for both of us and from our stand point it’s important to get back on the winning track.”

Getting back into the win column is important for Mizzou, as they are coming off a tough loss to Georgia in their first ever SEC conference matchup. A lot of the focus will be on the Tigers high-octane offense led by their quarterback, junior James Franklin. He led the team to eight wins a season ago and scored 35 touchdowns throwing and rushing combined.

“A player I think has a chance to be a great player but you got to go do it,” said Pinkel about Franklin. “The last three quarterbacks (Brad Smith, Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert) are all playing in the NFL and he is certainly at that level but the most important thing that they did is they won a lot of games…I have a very high expectation level for him.”

Pinkel added that his team’s biggest weakness resides with their offensive line as five of their ten lineman are out due to injury. And while ASU’s offense has received a lot of the recognition early, Pinkle believes that this Sun Devil defense will give them all that they can handle.

“They’ve got a lot of good athletes,” explained Pinkel. “They have an attacking-type scheme but they protect themselves because they don’t leave the middle of the field open…they’re an outstanding defensive team.”

As for that ASU offense that has put up 108 points in two games, Pinkel has been very impressed with how well they have looked and how well coached they are.

“I think you just try to contain them the best you can,” said Pinkel. “You know they’re going to make plays. There’s no question you have to try to eliminate the big plays. Their execution is absolutely outstanding.”

There should be plenty of fireworks on Saturday when the Sun Devils and Tigers face off from Memorial Stadium in Columbia, MO.

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