The old saying goes, "Stats don't lie" and the stats show that Missouri is the best team in the Big 12 in scoring defense. The Tigers are only allowing 10.8 points per game through the first the first six games of the season and are gaining more and more attention to a defensive unit that traditionally has been the cause of scrutiny. However, its also an in-depth look at the stats that helps to build a confident offensive game plan against the Tigers.
DE 13 Tkls/4 Sks DT 17 Tkls/1 Sk DT 20 Tkls/1.5 Sks DE 18 Tkles/2 Sks CB 22 Tkls/2 Sks/2 Ints CB 26 Tkls/1 Int LB 17 Tkls/1 Sk LB 40 Tkls/1 Sk LB 15 Tkls S 35 Tkls/2 Ints S 39 Tkls
13 Tkls/4 Sks
17 Tkls/1 Sk
20 Tkls/1.5 Sks
18 Tkles/2 Sks
22 Tkls/2 Sks/2 Ints
26 Tkls/1 Int
17 Tkls/1 Sk
40 Tkls/1 Sk
35 Tkls/2 Ints
The Tigers are ultra aggressive on defense. They are one of the best teams in the nation at getting after the quarterback. The Tigers have registered a total of 20 sacks (3.3 per game) and are unapologetically going to be in the backfield all day long. The end result has been productive for the Tiger defense. In addition to the aforementioned points allowed per game, they've also produced 9 interceptions and recovered 5 fumbles.
Linebacker Zaviar Gooden leads the Tiger defense in total tackles with 40. If defensive end Aldon Smith isn't able to make it on to the field then the name that will most likely be mentioned the most along the line is Brad Madison who leads the team in sacks. You also don't want to lose sight of corners Kevin Rutland and Carl Gettis. The Tigers are going to come after Landry Jones and leave these two corners on islands against Kenny Stills and Ryan Broyles.
Now, for what the stats show as far as game planning goes is something that should cause Sooner fans to be optimistic. The Tigers are third in the conference against the rush and fifth against the pass. Keep in mind that Illinois had one player run for 112 yards and another for 76 against the Tigers and San Diego State had a kid go for 228 on the ground and the Tigers.
When you have a defense that plays ultra aggressive like the Tigers do you can exploit that with a strong and fast running game if you have the personnel to do so. That's where I see Oklahoma starting their attack. With DeMarco Murray between the tackles and the bouncing outside followed by some screens to Madu, Broyles or Finch and then finally the flair passes to the outside to test the speed. That's a lot for the Tigers to have to defend and once you bring the defense up then you start to work the deep ball.
Granted, its a lot easier said than done but I think bottom line against this defense is if you protect the quarterback and protect the ball you'll come out ahead. Stat wise this Tiger defense is behind Texas in both rushing and pass defense and that worked out pretty well for the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl. This all means that in my opinion this game comes down to Oklahoma's defense against the Missouri offense. We'll discuss that tomorrow.