If you’re a Missouri fan, this game has to scare you a whole lot more than it did when it was first announced. Purdue, post-Drew Brees, is supposed to be an easy victory, especially at home. But with how the Tigers have looked in their first two games, and how Purdue has looked against some pretty good competition, this game is much less of a sure thing than originally thought.
In many ways, these teams are mirror images of one another. Both want to go a million miles an hour on offense, put up a bunch of and just hope they can get enough stops on the other side of the ball. With that said, the two programs are heading in opposite directions. Mizzou is reeling after being non-competitive for much of its loss to South Carolina, subsequently firing defensive coordinator Demontie Cross. But on the other side, the Boilermakers have to be feeling pretty good about themselves after destroying Ohio just a week after nearly upsetting Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and Louisville.
To simplify things, Missouri simply has to win this game if they want to have any shot at a bowl game this year. You just can’t lose to a Big 10 bottom dweller, even an improved one, and expect to get to the post-season while playing in the SEC. Lose this one, and you’re looking at an almost certain 1-3 September, which very well could have Barry Odom fighting for his job in his second season.
So what does that mean? Well, just like the South Carolina game, this is now the biggest game of the Tigers season. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how they come out in response to last week’s performance.
Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup between the Tigers and the Boilermakers.
Missouri football vs. Purdue football game time, details
The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. CT kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 16. Missouri will be hosting, and the game will be held at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo.
Which TV channel is Missouri football vs. Purdue football on?
Missouri vs. Purdue will air on the SEC Network.
How can I watch Missouri football vs. Purdue football online?
You can watch the Missouri football vs. Purdue football game on WatchESPN.
How can I listen to Missouri football vs. Purdue football on the radio?
Missouri football fans can listen to the game on the Tiger Network. Local listings for the Tiger Network can be found here.
Missouri football vs. Purdue football preview, keys to the game
1. Does the firing of Demontie Cross affect Mizzou’s defensive performance at all?
With Odom calling the plays, Cross had been Missouri’s defensive coordinator in title only for much of the last calendar year. However, play calling is only a part of those duties — Cross was still heavily involved in game planning and coaching throughout the week. Does his absence make a notable difference in the defense’s play? They actually looked decent during last week’s loss to South Carolina, as that loss falls more on special teams than anything else. However, anytime a team fires one it’s coordinators, it’s always interesting to see how they respond, whether or not that coordinator was heavily involved in the play calling or not. One thing potentially in Missouri’s favor: if Cross’ firing was indeed about his personality more than the Tigers’ on-field performance, as Odom claimed, then perhaps the players will be feeling a bit more laid back heading into this one.
2. Which team commits the first turnover?
We mentioned above how both teams want to play extremely fast. Both want to get the ball down the field in a hurry and maximize their possessions. However, that tempo can also lead to some avoidable mistakes, particularly in the passing game. We’ve seen it frequently with Missouri in the past two years; they march down the field, but eventually get in a hurry and commit an easily avoidable turnover. Purdue is much the same way: boom or bust. Therefore, whoever gets the first turnover could create quite a bit of momentum for themselves. If either team can capitalize on an early turnover and put themselves up by a couple of scores, it could cause their opponent to panic and played even fast, which in turn creates more mistakes. For Missouri, that means that quarterback Drew Lock, in particular, has to take good care of the football and make smart decisions. As any Tiger fan can tell you, he hasn’t always been able to do that.
3. Is Damarea Crockett as healthy as we’ve been led to believe?
If healthy, Crockett will be the best player on the field on Saturday. That obviously creates a big advantage for Missouri, as he figures to see 20-25 touches. But after leaving in the 3rd quarter of the South Carolina game with a bruised tailbone, it’s still worth monitoring whether he’s actually moving at 100 percent or not. If he is, he very well could be the difference in the game. If he’s not? Well then this game is even scarier than it already was if you’re a Mizzou fan. Regardless, if you’re just looking to watch an old-fashioned shootout — and if you’re neither a Missouri or Purdue fan, why else would you watch this? — then you should vote for Crockett to be at his best on Saturday. He’s really good.