Saturday, August 31st at 5:30 PM (Mountain) on CBS Sports Network
Not a ton of history. The teams have met only once. That would be last season at Missouri. The Tigers beat the Cowboys, 40 to 13.
Expect Wyoming to continue to run the ball. The Cowboys offense will be led by Sean Chambers at QB. Chambers gave opposing defenses more to defend last season as Chambers is a rushing threat from the QB position. The Cowboys have Xazavian Valladay at running back, replacing Nico Evans who carried the load for Wyoming last season. Expect to see Trey Smith, graduate transfer from Louisville, and Titus Swen, true freshman, to also get some carries. While Wyoming likely won’t throw the ball much, play-action opportunities could be available as the defense gears up to stop the running game.
Unfortunately for Wyoming, Missouri was very good stopping the run in 2018, finishing with the 19th ranked rushing defense in FBS. An interesting match-up as it looks to be strength versus strength when the Cowboys have the ball. Where Missouri was vulnerable in 2018 was through the air. Missouri had the 101st ranked passing defense in the country. Wyoming had one of the worst passing offenses in FBS last season, so I’m not confident the Cowboys will be able to exploit the passing defense of the Tigers.
On defense, the Cowboys will be going up against Kelly Bryant (formerly at Clemson) as the Missouri QB. Bryant is replacing Drew Lock (2nd round pick of the Denver Broncos). I expect Bryant will have a good year. Missouri finished 2018 with the 22nd passing offense and the 34th rushing offense. That’s a very well balanced offense. Considering that Missouri is bringing back depth at receiver, running back, and upfront on the offensive line, the Tigers look to have the makings of another very good offense. The Wyoming defense has played very well the last couple of seasons, but this will be a major challenge for that unit.
The spread has Missouri by 18. That feels a little too much. I expect Wyoming to come out fired up at home. Also, Bryant and the Tigers offense might not yet be hitting on all cylinders for this Week 1 game on the road. I think Wyoming keeps this close in the first half, but Missouri pulls away in the 2nd half. The Missouri offense appears to have too much talent to keep this a low scoring game, and I think the Missouri defense will be able to mostly handle the Cowboys offense.
Missouri 31, Wyoming 16