1. How does being back on the road impact Missouri?
The last time Missouri played away from Columbia, it was August. Seven weeks have passed since the Tigers' season opener at Wyoming, and finally, they head back out of state for their Southeastern Conference road opener against Vanderbilt in Nashville. How does breaking their home regimen affect the Tigers? Does it bring them closer together or have the opposite effect? Missouri is still winless on the road this season, but it hasn’t yet had a chance at redemption away from Faurot Field. Missouri gets that opportunity against the 1-5 Commodores.
2. Are there any new wrinkles to Missouri’s defense?
Missouri now has a full game under its belt without linebacker Cale Garrett. Cameron Wilkins started in his place and didn’t have a defensive touchdown but didn’t make many errors either. Now Wilkins is listed on the depth chart as a co-starter with Jamal Brooks. Did Missouri head coach Barry Odom learn anything from the Mississippi game that led to the personnel change? Do we see a rotation between Wilkins and Brooks beside Nick Bolton throughout the game? Missouri knows of Vanderbilt’s offensive struggles and may be more aggressive as a result.
3. What exactly did Missouri learn from the loss at Wyoming?
As Missouri takes off for Nashville, it gets to show exactly what it has learned since its previous road letdown. The upcoming game is a little bit similar to the contest in Laramie. MU is favored by about three touchdowns. This is a game Missouri should win without much of a fight and it would be a big red mark against the Tigers should they lose. Now that a lot of those season-opening wrongs have been fixed, can Missouri officially offset the experience in Week 1 with its first road win of the season?
4. Will Missouri’s running backs continue to have success?
Odom and MU offensive coordinator Derek Dooley have a trio of reliable running backs. Larry Rountree and Tyler Badie established themselves coming into the season, and after his touchdown run against Ole Miss, Dawson Downing has been solidified as the third tailback. With a new rotation at the forefront, do the Tigers stay with the pattern they created last week? Do they turn to the hot hand, which Rountree would have the first go at? This is a good problem to have if you’re Missouri, especially with the extremely physical nature of the SEC.
5. Kelly Bryant isn't the center of attention this week. Does that affect his performance?
Bryant had injury concerns heading into the game against Ole Miss but didn’t miss a snap while leading the Tigers to an 11-point victory. Now with attention being paid to Vanderbilt’s woes and other Missouri players, Bryant has a little bit of unfamiliar breathing room in a Tiger uniform. There’s always going to be some attention paid to a team’s starting quarterback, especially a former national champion like Bryant, but this week it appears the cameras won’t be primarily pointed at him. Does he gain that attention with a dazzling outing or stay status quo?