Missouri returns dual-threat QB James Franklin who will host Arizona State on September 15. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Know the Opponent: Missouri Tigers

We’ve got our first SEC team as we enter the top 10 of the know the opponent series. Enter the Missouri Tigers, formally of the Big XII Conference. Pac-12 fans will see the Tigers on September 15 when the Arizona State Sun Devils travel to Columbia, Missouri at 4:00 p.m. PT .on ESPN.

Missouri is coached by Gary Pinkel who’s in his 12th season. Last season, he led his team to an 8-5 record which included a bowl win. Last year in Tempe, the Sun Devils knocked off Mizzou 37-30 in overtime.

Junior James Franklin begins his second year as the team’s starter after throwing for 2,865 with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Franklin also had a 63.3 completion percentage going 238-for-376 in Mizzou’s spread offense.

The Tigers are a team that run mostly out of the spread and they’ll return last season’s leading rusher junior Henry Josey, who had 1,168 with nine TD’s. Senior Kendial Lawrence missed time last season with a broken leg but before the injury had 566 yards with five scores. Franklin contributed with 981 yard of his own and also made the endzone 15 times.

Senior TJ Moe led the team in receiving last season with 649 yards and four touchdowns on 54 catches. Junior Marcus Lucas who tied for a team high five TD’s is also back after a 414 yard campaign. The player to watch in this group is heralded freshman Dorial Green-Beckham who was the number one recruit in the nation.

On defense junior strongside linebacker Andrew Wilson returns after a team high 98 tackles in 2011 with nine tackles for loss. Senior weakside linebacker Zaviar Gooden who was third on the team in tackles with 80 returns, he also had five TFL, four pass breakups, two interceptions and a sack.

Moving from the Big XII to the SEC will provide a great challenge for the Missouri Tigers in 2012. Can their offense make a mark against stout defenses that they hardly saw in the Big XII? With all that considered I think they find a way to a bowl game.

2012 Missouri Tigers Schedule –

Southeastern Louisiana 9/1
Georgia 9/8
Arizona State 9/15
@South Carolina 9/22
@Central Florida 9/29
Vanderbilt 10/6
Alabama 10/13
Kentucky 10/27
@Florida 11/3
@Tennessee 11/10
Syracuse 11/17
@Texas A&M 11/24

Check out the entire archive of “Know the Opponents,” a series of all Pac-12 non-conference opponent previews, here.

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Tags: Arizona State Sun Devils Football Gary Pinkel James Franklin Missouri Tigers Pac-12 SEC

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