In a clash of the SEC and Big 12, the Missouri Tigers host the West Virginia Mountaineers for a showdown of second chances.
That’s right; a transfer quarterback duel featuring Missouri’s Kelly Bryant and West Virginia’s Austin Kendall. Both Bryant and Kendall proved different capabilities in their initial outings.
Kelly Bryant + Missouri = A match made in heaven?
Sure, Missouri fell behind in a wacky season opener against Wyoming. Turning the ball over three times isn’t the best look. But a 423-yard game is simply too difficult to ignore. Paired with a 64 percent completion rate, it’s apparent that Bryant still has “it.” Meaning, the lucrative championship caliber quarterback pizzazz he had for Clemson in 2017. Despite an interception, Bryant had himself a decent game. But he’s going to have to make the most of his lone season in Missouri if he wants any draft potential, or wants to lead Missouri in the direction of the Top 25.
Is Austin Kendall ready to fill Will Grier’s shoes?
The Mountaineers are in full rebuild mode. That’s why finding security in transfer quarterback Austin Kendall is crucial. A lackluster 24 carries for 36 yards against James Madison signals a bleak future for the Mountaineers’ run game. But the former Oklahoma quarterback led the Mountaineers on top, with a 260-yard game paired with two touchdowns. It’s not glamorous, but it’s sufficient against opponents like James Madison. But for Power 5 opponents, Kendall will need to amp up his game to make up for what the Mountaineers’ defense lacks.
A tale of two defenses
Giving up the Wyoming game is slightly alarming for Missouri’s defense. Leaving 27 points out on the line in the second quarter doesn’t bode well for a defense. But the Mountaineers forfeited 172 rushing yards against James Madison. A win is a win, but in a particularly ugly situation like that one, it’s questionable as to whether or not they can stack up to a capable Missouri rushing trio.
Catch the clash
The matchup will air on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 12 p.m. on ESPN2.