Ohio State Football: Confidence level against Missouri

Contributor Eric Boggs writes one final confidence level article for this season as the Ohio State football team squares off against Missouri in the Cotton Bowl.
The last time Ohio State played Missouri was in 1998.
The last time Ohio State played Missouri was in 1998. / Mark Lyons/GettyImages
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Defensive Confidence Level

The Missouri offense is going to be one of the better units the Ohio State football team has seen all season. Despite their improvements this year after being under the guidance of defensive coordinator Jim Knowles for a second straight season, the game against Michigan still leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Yes, the Buckeyes played much better. But at the end of the day, when Ohio State needed a stop, the Wolverines were able to continually get first downs on fourth down and on short yardage runs.

Missouri looks very similar to That Team Up North. They have a very physical and athletically gifted offensive line that likes to run block. Running back Cody Schrader was one of the leading rushers in the nation this year, and when the Tigers get in the red zone, they are the best team in the country at making sure they come away with points.

When the Tigers are forced to throw the football, they aren’t bad at that either. Brady Cook has thrown for over 3,000 yards this season with receiver Luther Burden III finishing the regular season with just under 1,200 yards. Former Buckeye Mookie Cooper is third on the team in receiving yards, which is something to keep an eye on come Friday as well.

I’m not too worried about Missouri beating the Buckeyes through the air given how well the defensive backs have played this season and given the reports that everyone is playing except for Lanthan Ransom who is still healing from an injury, I am confident that the defense will keep their passing game at bay. As for stopping the running game, this could become even more difficult if Tommy Eichenberg isn’t able to go. On Tuesday, it sounded like it was up in the air if Eichenberg would be available come Friday. Given this information, my confidence level in the defense is at 6.5.