#23 Missouri Football 2015 Preview

Missouri Tigers

Overall Rank: #23
#7 SEC

Missouri Team Page#23 Missouri Football 2015 PreviewBuy Missouri Football Tickets

The Missouri Tigers just keep quietly taking care of business and winning SEC East Championships while everyone else in the division gets all the hype and attention. The Tigers won their second consecutive East title riding an excellent pass rush and timely play making back to Atlanta and the SEC Championship game. There are questions to be answered at receiver and along the defensive line with the loss of Harold Brantley for the season. But, make no mistake about it, Missouri will be right there in the mix once again for the SEC title and people need to start taking them seriously in SEC country.

2014 Record: 11-3, 7-1
2014 Bowl: Citrus Bowl vs. Minnesota (W 33-17)
Coach: Gary Pinkel 113-66 at Missouri, 186-103-3 overall
Offensive Coordinator: Josh Henson
Defensive Coordinator: Barry Odom

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Russell Hansbrough, RB, 1,048 yards
Passing: Maty Mauk, QB, 2,648 yards
Receiving: Russell Hansbrough, RB, 58 yards
Tackles: Kentrell Brothers, LB, 122
Sacks: Charles Harris, DE, 2.0
Interceptions: Aarion Penton, CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: C Evan Boehm, CB Kenya Dennis, LB Michael Scherer, LT Conner McGovern, K Andrew Baggett, TE Sean Culkin

Key Losses: TB Marcus Murphy, WR Bud Sasser, DE Markus Golden, DE Shane Ray, DT Harold Brantley

Maty Mauk is back at quarterback and is expected to be healthier than he has ever been heading into the 2015 season. Mauk, at times, was hard to watch last season because he would turn the ball over and the offense as a whole would struggle. But the bottom line is winning football games when you are the quarterback and Mauk just finds a way to get it done. The offensive line should be very good led by center Evan Boehm, who is on the Rimington Award watch list for the third consecutive season. Linebacker Kentrell Brothers is the leading returning tackler from last season with 122. Brothers is going to be even more of a big-time playmaker defensively with all the inexperience along the defensive line. Andrew Baggett is back at kicker and will be a prime candidate to be an all-conference caliber of kicker in 2015.

The pass rush is going to be a huge question mark with the departure of Markus Golden and Shane Ray to the NFL. One thing that has helped Gary Pinkel and the Tigers adjust to the Southeastern Conference so quickly is the emphasis on great defensive line play. Charles Harris returns at defensive end and will need to get much more than 2.0 sacks in 2015 if Missouri is going to contend in the SEC. Replacing Marcus Murphy in the return game is going be vital to the success of the 2015 season for the Tigers as Murphy led the SEC in all-purpose yardage last season and could take kicks in the house at any moment. The wide receivers were also decimated by graduation and the top five receivers from last season are all gone. Nate Brown is the most experienced returning receiver and he caught just five passes in 2014.  

The Bottom Line:
The schedule will allow coach Pinkel and his staff time to get things sorted out on both sides of the ball. A road game at Kentucky will be a little tricky on September 26th, but overall Missouri should be 6-0 heading down to Athens to play Georgia on October 10th. If Missouri can steal that one they will be in the driver’s seat to win the SEC East once again as the only other tough road game is at the end of the season on November 27th at Arkansas. BYU will be an intriguing out of conference matchup in Kansas City on November 14th that should be more of the norm in the SEC for non-conference games in November instead of playing FCS schools. Missouri is one of the best programs in the country when it comes to player development, but it might take some time for the Tigers to find a way to get a decent pass rush and get enough receivers to step up and make a difference this season. Look for Missouri to take the SEC East race down to the wire but fall just short of a three-peat.

Projected Bowl: Texas Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 177.9 (53rd in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 189.1 (99, 10)
Total Offense: 367.0 (95, 13)
Scoring Offense: 27.8 (70, 12)
Rushing Defense: 133.7 (27, 4)
Pass Defense: 212.7 (39, 6)
Total Defense: 346.4 (23, 7)
Scoring Defense: 21.1 (19, 6)
Turnover Margin: 0.64 (20, 3)
Sacks: 3.14 (10, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.64 (35, 6)

Madness 2016 NFL Draft Rankings:
#39 Josh Augusta
#97 Evan Boehm

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#17 Terry Beckner Jr.
#111 Drew Lock


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