Five Big Games for Missouri in 2023

    After finishing the last four regular seasons with a .500 record, Missouri head coach Eliah Drinkwitz will look to take his program to the next level in 2023. Last season, the Tigers lost multiple close games by one possession in a 24-17 loss at Florida and a 26-22 loss to Georgia, who went on to win its second national championship in a row. Missouri has a rough schedule this upcoming season, and here are five games that stand out for the Tigers in 2023:

    Kansas State (9/16)

    Kansas State rolls to 40-12 win over Missouri

    Photo Cred: Kvoe

    Missouri will face off against Kansas State in back to back in September. The Tigers got dismantled by the WIldcats 40-12 when Kansas State hosted Missouri last season. The Wildcats will be heading into 2023 ranked no. 14 in the nation according to CBS after finishing with a 10-4 overall record and winning the Big 12 championship against TCU last season.

    Kansas State has some talented players returning this season. Starting quarterback WIll Howard, who recorded 1,633 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, is back. The WIldcats will also be returning DJ Giddens and adding Florida State transfer Treshaun Ward who will be favorites to replace Deuce Vaughn. Vaughn rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns against Missouri last season. If the Tigers want to reach a bigger bowl game and improve their record, this is a big game in front of their home crowd. 

    Memphis (9/23)

    Pageantry Team Celebration

    Photo Cred: Memphis Ahtetics

    The matchup between Missouri and Memphis will take place in St. Louis. The neutral site game against Memphis is not something that the Missouri Tigers should take lightly. The Memphis Tigers are coming off a 7-6 record in 2022 with wins against Navy and Utah State in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl. Memphis also suffered some close losses last season as a 35-28 loss to then no. 25 UCF, a one-point loss to Houston and a three-point defeat at SMU.

    Quarterback Seth Henigan leads the Memphis Tigers offense. He’s poised for a big year in 2023. Henigan ranked no. 16 in the NCAA last season in passing yards with 3,559 yards with 22 touchdowns. The Missouri Tigers defense will also go up against former Missouri wide receiver Tauskie Dove who found success during his time in Columbia. With Missouri’s schedule in 2023, this is a must win, and the Tigers can’t afford to fall short in this contest if they want to make strides this season. 

    LSU (10/7)

    Nov 5, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Jarrick Bernard-Converse (24) reacts after intercepting Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) in the enedzone during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

    Photo Cred: The Athletic

    Missouri has a huge chance to gain national recognition as it hosts LSU in October. The LSU Tigers are coming into this upcoming season ranked at no. 16 in the nation according to CBS. LSU is fresh off of a 10-4 season and a trip to the SEC championship after winning the West division in Brian Kelly’s first year as the head coach. In 2022, LSU had victories over Ole Miss, Florida and an overtime victory over Alabama on a game winning two-point conversion.

    The LSU Tigers will be returning multiple talented players as starting quarterback Jayden Daniels who recorded 17 touchdowns last season. Alongside Daniels, Missouri’s defense will also face wide receivers Malik Nabers and Alabama transfer Aaron Anderson. The Missouri Tigers’ offense will also go up against defensive lineman Mehki Wingo who spent one season with Missouri before ultimately transferring to LSU. This will be a big challenge for the Missouri Tigers but a giant opportunity to make some noise in SEC play.

    At Kentucky (10/14)

    NCAA Football: Kentucky at Missouri

    Photo Cred: Sea of Blue

    Missouri has lost the last two matchups against Kentucky in close games. The Tigers couldn’t keep up with the Wildcats in a 35-28 shootout in 2021, and a controversial call on a punt ended Missouri’s hopes in coming out victorious in the Tigers’ 21-17 loss to Kentucky last season. A win over Kentucky on the road would be a step in the right direction for Drinkwitz and his program. 

    Defeating Kentucky would be no easy task. Expected starting QB is North Carolina State transfer Devin Leary, replacing Will Levis. Leary put up 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Wolfpack last season. Kentucky will also be Courtland Ford at the offensive tackle position, where he previously played at USC. The Tigers only have four road games this season, and a win in Lexington would be a key victory for the program. 

    Tennessee (11/11)

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Capital One Orange Bowl

    Photo Cred: USA Today

    Much like the LSU game, this is a massive opportunity for Missouri to gain some respect on the national stage. Tennessee is coming off an impressive 11-2 season in 2022 with wins over Alabama, LSU and Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Last year, Missouri stayed within reach in the first half but couldn’t keep in the second as it got steamrolled by the Volunteers 66-24 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

    The Volunteers are starting 2023 ranked at no, 6 in the nation according to CBS. After a strong Orange Bowl performance, Joe Milton III will replace Hendon Hooker as the starting quarterback this upcoming season. In order to have a chance to win, the Tigers’ defense is going to need to come up big against a fast-paced Tennessee offense. This is a big game as Missouri gets a chance to knock off a top-ranked team at home towards the end of the regular season. 

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