New Mexico State
Missouri quarterback Brady Cook (12) throws to a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Missouri Looks to Keep Bowl Hopes Alive Against New Mexico State

The Missouri Tigers (4-6) welcome the New Mexico State Aggies (4-5) to Columbia Saturday in the team’s senior night game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.

What’s at Stake

With both of these teams having four wins, they are fighting for bowl eligibility. If New Mexico State can manage the upset on the road, Missouri will be knocked out of bowl contention.

The Aggies are playing well as of late and are currently on their first three-game win streak since 2017.

However, Missouri is favored by nearly 30 points, despite being crushed by Tennessee last week. If they can secure the victory, their rivalry game against Arkansas on Nov. 25 will determine whether they are bowl eligible.

What to Keep an Eye On

The Aggies have a balanced offensive attack, but it’s not the most explosive. They accumulate less than 300 total yards per game, and they have not recorded 400+ yards in a game this year. Against an SEC team, especially one with a formidable defense, this could prove troublesome.

Missouri defensive lineman Isaiah McGuire is one of the most disruptive players in the conference. Against a schedule that contains mostly SEC teams, he has racked up five sacks, leading his team. With a comparatively weak offense like New Mexico State, McGuire and the other members of the Tigers’ front seven should have a successful day.

The Aggies’ defensive unit is led by Eastern Washington transfer Chris Ojoh. Ojoh is one of the best linebackers in the FBS, leading the Aggies in tackles with 78. He ranks in the top-40 in the nation in this category. He will need to have one of his best games of the season if he is going to keep up with an SEC offense.

On paper, the Tigers should have everything they need to win and get closer to bowl eligibility. Their defense has been solid for most of the season, but a defensive performance similar to the one against Tennessee could ruin the hopes of a bowl game. The team allowed 724 yards to Tennessee on Saturday. Their offense can put enough points on the board for this game to get out of hand, so expect Missouri to bounce back against an easier opponent on Saturday.

About Steven Hieneman

Senior Sports Media/Business Administration dual major at the University of Florida, ESPN Gainesville WRUF sports correspondent.

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