Can SEMO challenge Mizzou as an FCS opponent?

After a competitive loss in an SEC opener against Kentucky, Mizzou football looks to get back on track against Southeast Missouri State.

“New week, new opportunity with an in-state opponent that’s going to present a very difficult challenge for us in a lot of different ways,” said Drinkwitz

He spoke highly of all of SEMO’s aspects of play, including praise of the Redhawks’ special teams unit’s ability to block kicks and execute trick plays, as well as their schemes on both offense and defense.

Geno Hess leads the SEMO rushing attack, which primarily runs zone plays. Hess averaged 73 yards per game across the Redhawks’ first two games of the 2021 season. The passing attack is the weaker component of the offense, as starting quarterback CJ Ogbonna has been held under a 50% completion rate thus far, contributing to the Redhawks’ 0-2 start with a combined score of 35-99. 

Defensively, middle linebacker Jacob Morrissey leads the team in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks, and his contributions on the front will be needed to stop a Missouri attack that, with Tyler Badie and its various receiving weapons, can spread the field and break big plays on the outside.

To be fair, the SEMO schedule opened to two of the FCS’s top teams in Southern Illinois and the defending FCS champions, Sam Houston. However, considering the Tigers handily defeated the Redhawks 50-0 in 2019, the challenge is one that Mizzou should be ready to meet with full force.

Case Cook and Ennis Rakestraw are both listed as questionable ahead of Saturday’s game. Cook previously took a probable listing on last week’s injury report, and Rakestraw picked up an injury late in the fourth quarter against Kentucky. His on-field appearances may be limited considering the team’s secondary depth if they’re looking to keep him healthy ahead of tough competition down the stretch.

It is Family Weekend at Faurot Field, and kickoff will be at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. The game will be televised on SEC Network Plus.

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