What to watch for as Missouri faces Indiana

Starting quarterback Maty Mauk has thrown for 12 touchdowns this season.

Starting quarterback Maty Mauk has thrown for 12 touchdowns this season.

By Brandon Kiley, KBIA Sports

The Indiana Hoosiers (1-1) travel to Columbia, Missouri on Saturday to take on the No. 18 ranked Missouri Tigers (3-0). Here’s what to watch for.

  1. Indiana will run, run and run some more: The Indiana offense is predicated on a dominant run game. Junior running back Tevin Coleman is the fifth leading rusher in the country, rushing for more than 400 yards in Indiana’s first two games of the season. Missouri’s defense has struggled against the run at times early this year, ranking 44th nationally in rushing yards allowed per game. Indiana will try to exploit that weakness, and Coleman has the potential to break a long run if Missouri’s defense isn’t careful. The junior running back ran for at least 10 yards on 13 of his 44 total carries this season. Missouri needs to slow down Indiana’s dynamic rushing attack to win the football game.
  2. Tigers defensive ends have impressed: Despite Missouri losing Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, two 2013 All-SEC defensive ends, to the NFL, the pass rush has still been a strength for the Tiger defense. Missouri is tied for the sixth most sacks in the country with 12 sacks through the first three games. Maybe even more impressive than the total number of sacks is the fact that Markus Golden and Shane Ray, the defensive ends that replaced Ealy and Sam, have combined for nine of those sacks. Going up against Indiana will be a good test for the Tigers pass rushers, though. The veteran Indiana offensive line has only given up two sacks on the year.
  3. Dark-horse Heisman Candidate: Sports Illustrated listed Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk as a dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidate before the season. Through three games, the redshirt sophomore quarterback has not disappointed. Mauk is tied for the most passing touchdowns in the nation, and his 176.6 passer rating places him among the top 20 nationally in the statistic. Mauk has a chance to add to his eye-popping numbers against a shaky Indiana pass defense. The Hoosiers allowed 395 yards passing in their 45-42 loss to Bowling Green last week.
  4. Gone Streaking: It’s the gift that keeps on giving for Missouri; the Tigers have forced a turnover in 47 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the nation. Missouri forced nine turnovers during its first three games, while Indiana has a negative turnover differential on the year.
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