Sports, Football

Previewing 2021 Football: vs. Mizzou

Missouri football may not have any recruits from “the great state of Massachusetts,” but the Tigers will make a trip to Chestnut Hill on Saturday to take on Boston College for the BC’s last non-conference matchup of the regular season. With no series history and very little conference overlap between the ACC and the SEC, the teams will enter uncharted territory in Alumni Stadium. 

Who is BC playing?

Missouri

When is BC playing?

Saturday, Sept. 25, 12 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

How to watch:

The game will air on ESPN2 and BC Sports Network WEEI 850 AM.

Series history:

BC and Missouri will meet for the first time on Saturday in a non-conference clash, and the Tigers are the first SEC team to visit Alumni Stadium since Tennessee on Oct. 31, 1987—a 20-18 upset for the Eagles over the then-No. 13 Vols. Because the teams have no history, Mizzou head coach Eli Drinkwitz told the media on Tuesday that he would rather play a regional rivalry game which would attract more TV viewers and recruits. 

What to expect from Mizzou:

Offense

In three games so far, the Tigers have scored in every trip they’ve taken to the red zone. An efficient passing attack led by Connor Bazelak, the 2020 SEC Co-Freshman of the Year during his redshirt freshman season, is averaging just under 300 passing yards per game and has nine passing touchdowns to his name. The Dayton, Ohio product brought the Tigers back from a 14-point deficit against Kentucky only to lose by a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Bazelak shows flashes of Drew Lock, his predecessor at Mizzou, drafted by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Bazelak isn’t at Lock’s level yet, but the Tigers’ passing game never really took a step back. 

With receiver Tyler Badie in the lineup, Bazelak doesn’t have to look far for targets. He leads the Tigers in receiving yards with 142 and in receiving touchdowns with three. He’s also dynamic in the ground game, recording 345 net rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground this season. BC head coach Jeff Hafley also noted Elijah Young as a player he’s got his eye on, as the sophomore running back has 76 yards and a touchdown on the ground, as well as 22 yards and a touchdown through the air. 

Mizzou has shown all year that it can exploit both aspects of offense with its dynamic backs, and BC’s front seven will have a harder time stopping the run than it has so far this season.

Defense

The Tigers have given up at least 24 points in each of their first three games, including to both Central Michigan and Southeast Missouri State, the latter of which is an FCS program. Linebacker Blaze Alldredge sits at fourth in the SEC in total tackles with 25, as well as sacks with four. Defensive back Jaylon Carlies has already registered two picks this season, tied for second in the conference. 

Still, in the Tigers’ first conference game of the season, a 35–28 loss to Kentucky, Mizzou allowed 335 rushing yards, not to mention another 179 passing yards for the Wildcats. The pattern was similar against Southeast Missouri State, when the Tigers allowed 294 yards on the ground but limited the pass game. 

Outlook:

With no history between the teams and little to no overlap between conferences, it’s hard to accurately predict how the matchup will shake out. If BC’s run game can stay consistent with how it has looked over its last two games, the Eagles’ offense should stay afloat despite backup-turned-starting quarterback Dennis Grosel’s adjustment period. Mizzou’s running defense is the soft spot of its defensive unit, and Hafley and offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. certainly saw it on the film. BC’s defense, meanwhile, will have to prevent explosive plays from Badie and Young. Though it’s not a rivalry game in the traditional sense, both defenses will have their work cut out for them.

Featured Image by L.G. Patterson / AP Photo

September 24, 2021
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