College football game previews are generally the worst, so let's try and keep this simple by hitting you with the bare minimum you need to know heading into tomorrow afternoon.
MISSOURI STATE BEARS (0-1)
Conference: Missouri Valley
2011 Record: 2-9
Preseason Conference Prediction: 10th (10 teams)
Week One Result: Lost 51-9 to No. 21 Kansas State
Three Things You Should Know
1. They're going to throw the ball
There will be no rest for the Cardinal secondary in week two as Missouri State will attempt to do a lot of what Kentucky did five days ago. Quarterback Ashton Glaser is a Missouri transfer who can the spread the ball around pretty effectively. The Bears threw the ball 51 times in week one, the majority of which were the same quick hitters we saw Maxwell Smith and company have some success with last Sunday.
Glasser's primary target in week one was Dorian Buford, a junior who had seen little playing time up until this season. Buford caught seven passes for 114 yards against K-State. Also worth keeping an eye on is speedy senior Cadarrius Dotson, who caught six balls for 82 yards in the opener.
The Bears will run a great deal of no huddle/hurry up, so expect to see some second and third string defensive Cardinals getting more snaps than they did against Kentucky. The key for Louisville is keeping Glaser and company from getting into a rhythm early. If the Cards can keep Missouri State from achieving much on their first handful of drives then it's hard to see this game being competitive.
2. They hung with Kansas State
Missouri State's 51-9 loss to Kansas State last weekend is a primary case of a final score not being at all indicative of what actually took place in the game. It wasn't until midway through the third quarter when K-State first found the endzone, and that score broke a 9-9 tie.
Early on, the Bears completely exploited the middle of the field against a Wildcat team that looked totally unprepared to face a hurry-up offense. The only reason Missouri State didn't enter the second half with a lead was because their drives repeatedly got too close to the goalline where their offense becomes more difficult to execute.
"I do not think the final score showed how we really played in the game," Glaser said afterward. "But it happens. We missed some opportunities."
One of those missed opportunities was a wide open receiver streaking downfield on the first play of the game for what would have been an easy score had the pass not been overthrown. Don't be surprised if the Bears take a similar shot on their first offensive play Saturday.
3. They're susceptible to the big play
The Bears blitz early and often. The only problem with that is that they don't have the personnel to limit big plays should their pass rushers not get to the quarterback. It's a large part of the reason Missouri State gave up nearly 40 points per game on their way to a 2-9 record last season.
We saw what U of L's offensive line did against UK. If they dominate in the same fashion this weekend then expect Teddy Bridgewater to churn out more than one completions of 35 yards or more.
Was hoping for something comical, but alas, K-State/Missouri State highlights from last week:
Ok, so notable alumni doesn't exactly fall under the umbrella of "bare minimum you need to know," but come on, John Goodman. Aren't you better off now that you can tell people John Goodman went to Missouri State during your tailgate?
Yes, you are. Don't look at me like that.