Auburn vs. Missouri NCAA Football Preview
Where: Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field — Columbia, Missouri
When: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 7:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPNU
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Betting on the Auburn Tigers (-19.5)
The Auburn Tigers may possess a winning record (2-1) but there’s still plenty of room for improvement for this SEC side. They looked far from convincing in last week’s 24-10 victory over homecoming opponent Mercer, committing a whopping five turnovers against the FCS program. Four of Auburn’s five turnovers in that contest were fumbles, a problem they would like to fix for their SEC opener against Missouri.
Much is expected from Jarrett Stidham in this clash. The sophomore quarterback was superb in the win against Mercer, completing 32 of 37 passes for 364 yards. Though Stidham didn’t throw a single touchdown, his 86.5 completion percentage was second-best by an SEC quarterback with a minimum of 30 attempts in a game. The real test, however, awaits for Stidham who will be making his SEC debut on Saturday. He will look to wreak havoc against a Missouri defense that’s surrendering 442.7 yards per contest, worst in the SEC and 102nd in the nation.
Help is on the way for Stidham as well with running back Kerryon Johnson about to return this coming Saturday. He has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Johnson rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown in the first half of Auburn’s season opener, and his return will mark the first time this season that the Tigers will have their top-two running backs available. Kamryn Pettway, who has carried the ball 56 times for 202 yards and three touchdowns over the last two weeks, was suspended for the opener.
Auburn is 4-6 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 road games.
Betting on the Missouri Tigers (+19.5)
Not even the sacking of coordinator DeMontie Cross can lift Missouri from its defensive woes. The Tigers surrendered a whopping 477 total yards in Saturday’s 35-3 loss to Purdue. Missouri’s rushing defense has been non-existent this season with the Tigers allowing 172.0 yards on the ground per game to this point. To make matters worse for head coach Barry Odom, his team’s offense is starting to misfire as well. After exploding for 72 points in the season-opener against Missouri State, the Tigers have scored a combined 16 points in two games since.
The pressure’s definitely building on Odom who’s just 5-10 in his coaching stint at Missouri. He will need quarterback Drew Lock to step up and inject some life to a Missouri side who only had 16:17 of the possession in the loss to Purdue. Lock was partly to blame for that low possession tally, completing just 12 of 28 passes against the Boilermakers for 133 yards with two interceptions. Things are bound to get tougher, though, for Lock as he will next face an Auburn defense that’s allowing just 202.0 total yards per game this season, second-fewest in the FBS.
Another guy who needs to deliver for Mizzou is running back Damarea Crockett. He rushed for just 19 yards on 10 carries against Purdue as he was limited because of a bruised tailbone. That’s Crockett’s least productive game since his first college game, when he ran for just four yards in last year’s opener against West Virginia. Crockett’s expected to return to the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against Auburn. That will be a timely boost to a Missouri side who managed just 70 rushing yards in the loss to Purdue.
Missouri is 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS in its last five home games.
Auburn (-19.5) wins, 38-17.
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