July 19, 2006

2006 Look Ahead: Missouri Tigers

Oct. 21 @Faurot Field, Columbia, Mo.

Returning Starters: 17 (8 offense, 7 defense, kicker, punter)
2005 Record: 7-5
Coach: Gary Pinkel

Tiger(s) to Watch: Tight ends Martin Rucker (6-5, 245 Jr.) and Chase Coffman (6-6, 230 So.)
When breaking in a new quarterback it's always nice to have a reliable option at tight end, and the Tigers just happen to have two All-Big 12 caliber players at the position. Rucker and Coffman torched K-State last season for a total of 14 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns, but the Wildcats shouldn't feel too bad. The duo caused problems for everybody Missouri played, as they combined to make 94 catches for more than 1,000 yards on the season.

Wildcat to Watch: Linebacker Brandon Archer
Archer has truly been a Tiger killer during his Wildcat career. The senior linebacker returned an interception for a touchdown in Columbia back in 2004 to seal a K-State victory, then did essentially the same thing by picking off Brad Smith and scoring once again at the end of last year's meeting to cap K-State's comeback victory in Bill Snyder's final game. Chase Daniel will need to locate No. 46 before trying to force the ball to his talented tight ends in next year's meeting.

Instant Analysis: Missouri returns as many as 17 starters and tons of experience from a team that went 7-5 last year with a season-ending 38-31 triumph over Steve Spurrier's South Carolina team in the Independence Bowl. There's plenty of reason for optimism in Columbia, but one huge question begging to be answered: Can Chase Daniel successfully replace Brad Smith, the man Tiger fans recently voted the top player in school history?

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