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badgerwolf Offline
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The following is from the online Columbia Daily Tribune (http://www.columbiatribune.com):

Missouri ready for unknown
MU a big favorite vs. Arkansas State.

By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff
Published Monday, August 30, 2004

Season-opening football games are usually a mystery for both teams as they prepare for the unknown of another season.

Facing a program it has never played adds a little more intrigue to Missouri’s opener Saturday night on Faurot Field. For the first time in their history, the 18th-ranked Tigers will play Arkansas State.

"First games are always a concern for both teams just because of anything new strategically that happens offensively defensively or kicking," said Pinkel, whose Tigers open the season nationally ranked for the first time since 1980. "We’re also concerned about having answers for things that might happen during games."

Missouri is an early 321/2-point favorite.

In preparation for the Indians, a member of the Sun Belt Conference who finished 5-8 last year, Pinkel said he’s relied on game films from the last half of the 2003 season.

"I see a very athletic team," Pinkel said. "I see a team that runs real well and they’re well-coached. It’s going to be a very difficult game."

One thing Pinkel will not see Saturday that he might have noticed on last year’s game films is Elliot Jacobs. Arkansas State’s starting quarterback for parts of the last three years, Jacobs left the football team just before the start of fall practice to concentrate on baseball.

Jacob’s void has left three quarterbacks to battle for the starting position. Junior Nick Noce is No. 1 at the moment, but ASU Coach Steve Roberts has said he might rotate two quarterbacks early in the season. Junior Brian Hicks and junior college transfer Devin Hollins are also in contention for playing time.

"Nick Noce is in the lead to earn the starting spot," Roberts said this morning. "Devin Hollins is picking up the scheme and … makes a lot of things happen. Brian Hicks has done some good things, too."

Missouri was scheduled to release its new depth chart this afternoon.

A position of interest is placekicker. Pinkel did not tip his hand today as to whether sophomore Alex Pettersen or junior college transfer Joe Tantarelli had won the job.

"Has someone dropped out of the sky and all of a sudden we’re kicking better? No," Pinkel said. "It’s been very competitive between those two."
09-01-2004 01:09 PM
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