Week 1 Matchup - Miami Univ. vs. Missouri
MU OG Brandon Brooks & Missouri TE Michael Egnew
MU OG Brandon Brooks & Missouri TE Michael Egnew
Posted May 10, 2011

A key Week One Matchup - Miami University vs. Missouri

Preview 2011

Week 1 Matchup

Miami vs. Missouri

- 2011 Miami Univ. Preview | 2011 Miami Univ. Offense
- 2011 Miami Univ. Defense | 2011 Miami Univ. Depth Chart

- 2011 Missouri Preview | 2011 Missouri Offense
- 2011 Missouri Defense | 2011 Missouri Depth Chart

Offense: The offense loses a first round NFL-caliber quarterback in Blaine Gabbert, and it could be even better. Even with Gabbert, it's not like the offense was an unstoppable machine finishing sixth in the Big 12 in yards and eighth in scoring. Gabbert was a special talent, but Mizzou still finished 64th in the nation and ninth in the league in passing efficiency. As long as James Franklin is merely above-average as the new starting quarterback, and he will be, the Tigers could go ballistic. All four starters return on the line, all the targets are back in the receiving corps, including the devastating 1-2 punch of T.J. Moe and tight end Michael Egnew, and backs Kendial Lawrence and De'Vion Moore are a dangerously quick tandem. Consistency has been a problem for the attack over the last few seasons, but there's too much experience returning to not be terrific.
Defense: The run defense got ripped to shreds way too easily and there weren't nearly enough key stops considering the Tigers were among the best in America at getting into the backfield. Even with the concerns, the D finished first in the Big 12 and sixth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 16.08 points per game, and finished third in the nation in total defense. The key will once again be the pass rush that led the Big 12 and should be dominant, even with Aldon Smith off to the NFL. The line has at least two good pass rushing options at each corner spot, and the tackles have the athleticism to make things happen behind the line. The back seven might not have a slew of all-stars, but it'll be fast and should fly around to clean up everything the strong line doesn't get to. This is an aggressive, fast defense that will shut down the mediocre offenses cold.

Best offensive player: Senior TE Michael Egnew. Moe led the team with 92 catches, but it was Egnew who has the talent and the ability to earn the big honors after deserving to win the Mackey Award last year. He was an unstoppable midrange target catching seven passes or more in seven game finishing with 90 catches for 762 yards and five scores, and he'll be a godsend on third downs for Franklin.

Best defensive player: Junior DE Brad Madison. There are several linemen who could end up being the star of the show, and if DT Sheldon Richardson is eligible, he might be the team's most dominant player, but it's Madison who should be the leader of a great line. The team's best pass rusher, Madison led the team with 7.5 sacks and he should do even more when turned loose in a bigger role.

Miami University
Offense: New offensive coordinator John Klacik will be running a relatively basic pro-style attack, but he'll use plenty of different sets. The strength of the team is a passing game that should be among the best in the MAC with two great quarterback options in Zac Dysert and Austin Boucher and some terrific receivers. The problem is a veteran line that needs to get more of a push for a ground game that finished 113th in the nation and did little in pass protection. The offense will get the ball moving through the air and will try to get vertical on the ground, but there might not be the immediate balance that the new coaching staff is hoping for.
Defense: The defense was the reason MU won the 2010 MAC Championship. Out of the blue, the defensive front was phenomenal at getting into the backfield and was strong against the run, and the production should continue with everyone returning on the line and Jerrell Wedge leading a terrific linebacking corps. The secondary is ridiculously small at corner, but very fast, while the safeties are experienced and productive. This might not be the most physical D in the MAC, but Pete Rekstis will have this group flying around. With all the experience returning, if there's a slide, it'll be on the coaches.

Best offensive player: Junior QB Zac Dysert or sophomore QB Austin Boucher. Dysert throws way too many interceptions and he has been banged up and bruised over his first two seasons, but he's NFL big, has a live arm, and has the experience to lead the way to another MAC title. Boucher already has the championship résumé, stepping in for an injured Dysert and going 4-0 with the conference title win over NIU and the bowl victory over Middle Tennessee. The RedHawks can win big with either one at the helm.

Best defensive player: Senior LB Jerrell Wedge. On a team full of veteran defenders, Wedge is the leader and star with 221 career tackles and 44 tackles for loss. He's not all that big at 5-9 and 223 pounds, but he's a big-time hitter who can play inside or out. After starring in the middle he'll work on the weakside where he can use his speed and range in space, and it'll be a shock if he doesn't hit the 100-tackle mark again with at least five sacks.