5 Things to Watch For – Mizzou vs. Murray State

October 15, 2011; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Henry Josey (20) runs towards the end zone as Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Jansen Watson (2) and Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Durrell Givens (24) chase him at Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Mizzou’s first game of the season is against an inferior opponent, so there’s not a lot that we will be able to say about them definitively after today’s game.  I expect the second string to get plenty of playing time in the 2nd half.  That said, here are the five things I’ll be looking for this week.

1. Is Henry Josey back?  Today will be Josey’s first real game actions since the Texas game in late 2011.  Josey is one of the keys to Mizzou’s season, and I’ll be looking to see if he’s returned to is own form.  Seeing that he has his old ability to cut in his first few carries would be a good sign.

2. How is the pass protection?  During last season’s opener, James Franklin did a little too much scrambling against an inferior team.  With a healthy line, I’ll be watching to see if Franklin has plenty of time to throw.

3. Does the first team defense dominate?  Against a team such as Murray State, the first team defense should have it’s way.  If they give up more than ten points, there could be some issues going forward.

4. What does the crowd look like? Mizzou is excited about having sold the second most season tickets ever.  Of course, that means they sold less tickets than last year.  Although the heat will probably keep some folks at home, it will be interesting to see how full Memorial Stadium is.

5. How does Maty Mauk look?  If the game is a blow out as expected, Mauk should get plenty of time on the field with the second team.  While you won’t be able to tell much about his skill level, I’ll be looking to see if he seems to have a good grasp on the offense.  As last season showed, a capable back-up QB is a must have in the SEC.

Watchability Rating (1 = Paint Drying, 10 = 2007 Fiesta Bowl): 2. Only because it’s been 9 months since the last game.

Prediction: Mizzou 52 Murray State 6

Topics: Henry Josey, James Franklin, Maty Mauk, Missouri Tigers

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