West Virginia football looking to prove doubters wrong vs. Missouri

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

West Virginia football travels to Missouri this weekend for a matchup with the Tigers. Here’s how you can watch the contest.

After toppling FCS-powerhouse James Madison in Week 1, Neal Brown and the Mountaineers hit the road for a matchup with the Southeastern Conference’s Missouri Tigers. The Tigers lost on the road to Wyoming last week, so they’ll be looking to get a win under their belts in front of their home crowd versus the Mountaineers.

West Virginia has a number of issues to address prior to suiting up against the Tigers, but Brown and Co. are confident in their team. The second half effort and production against James Madison was night and day compared to the first half, and it showed up in the boxscore and on the scoreboard.

After scoring only three points through the first two quarters, the Mountaineers scored 17 against the Dukes in the second half. The offense looked sharper, the younger players seemed to find their footing, and Austin Kendall looked like a quarterback that actually won the starting job in the second half. He did some nice things early, but really seemed to put it all together after the break.

The WVU defense doesn’t look ready to compete with Oklahoma and Texas just yet, but they did have a number of players step up: Josh Chandler made tackles all over the field; Kwantel Raines forced a fumble; Keith Washington made a game-changing interception; the defensive line racked up five sacks. If the ‘Eers are able to build on those positives, the defense will be prepared when they take on the Sooners and Longhorns.

Special teams was a bright spot for WVU. Although Evan Staley missed a 49-yard field goal early in the game, he connected on kicks from 36 and 43. The return teams didn’t make any mistakes like fumbling or pinning the offense deep in their own territory either, which is always a bonus. And the punting team, even though they were on the field eight times, did a good job of containing returns and even recovered a muffed punt.

Here’s how you can watch West Virginia team this Saturday take on the Missouri Tigers.

Date: Saturday, Sept. 7
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, Mo.
Venue: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium
Live Stream: WatchESPN | MountaineerTV (audio)

Keys to Victory

For the Mountaineers to stroll into Columbia and keep the Tigers winless, they’ll need to do three things: play well from the beginning — starting after halftime won’t work against Missouri, figure out their running game, and maintain their gaps defensively.

A slow start could have the ‘Eers trailing by two or more scores by the second quarter, and not being able to run the ball at all could really wear the defense down. And if the defense is tired and trailing early on, WVU could surrender points in a hurry against Clemson-transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant.

Betting Odds

Odds courtesy of Bovada

Point Spread: Missouri -14
Over/under: 62.5

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West Virginia is going to have a tough time with Barry Odom and the Tigers. In his three years at the helm of the program, he’s never lost a home opener. And coming off a loss to Wyoming of the Mountain West Conference, the Tigers will have a lot to prove. This spells disaster for the Mountaineers, and Neal Brown will suffer his first defeat as head coach of the WVU football program.

Final Score: Missouri 24, West Virginia 20