Alabama vs Missouri :How Alabama can respond defensively after losing starting cornerback Trevon Diggs and allowing big numbers to Arkansas a week ago.
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The Tigers haven’t been the best defending the pass. The Tigers rank 117th of 130 FBS teams in passing defense. Purdue threw for 572 yards on Missouri back in Week 3. Meanwhile, Alabama has the nation’s No. 6 passing offense throwing for 345.3 yards a game. Starter Tua Tagovailoa hasn’t played a down even in the neighborhood of the fourth quarter, so the Tigers have a serious test against perhaps its greatest weakness.
It’s continued to be a mixed bag for Alabama. It has touchdowns both on kickoff and punt returns, but has given up a few big plays defending kickoffs. There’s also the matter of four missed extra points and an inconsistent field goal situation. Interestingly, the Tide hasn’t needed a punter in either of its last two games after freshman Skyler DeLong averaged just over 35 yards a punt in the first four games. None of it has cost Alabama much to this point but sharpening that tool will be important the deeper the season gets.
It’s gone pretty well to this point for Alabama. It’s plus-nine in the turnover ratio game after getting three more last week at Arkansas. The Tide’s 10 interceptions rank No. 4 in the country while the Tigers have struggled there. Missouri enters with two interceptions in five games and a negative-2 turnover margin. It has thrown four interceptions so far while Tagovailoa has yet to throw one this season. Alabama’s lost three fumbles and Jalen Hurts threw one interception as the blemishes on the Tide sheet.
There was frustration with the way Arkansas threw the ball last week in Fayetteville. And while Missouri will be missing a few key receivers like Emanuel Hall, the Tigers still have a dangerous passing game. The Tigers come to town with the nation’s No. 15 passing offense that throws for 318.4 yards a game. Quarterback Drew Lock is one of the nation’s best and he has the experience and knowledge to take advantages in the weaknesses they find. This will be the best offense — at least statistically — that Alabama will face all season and they arrive the week after starting cornerback Trevon Diggs is lost for the season.
The number of points Alabama has scored off the 13 turnovers it created from opponents. The only possession following a takeaway that didn’t result in points was Diggs’ interception on the final play of the first half against Louisiana-Lafayette.
The senior has his name all over the school record books already and has two games this season with more than 350 passing yards. He was just a few yards short of 4,000 last season with 82 career touchdown passes. He has, however, thrown at least one interception in each of the last three games with two last week in a downpour at South Carolina. Still, he’s a four-year starter who knows this offense and has the potential to hit for big numbers any night.