TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09: Wide receiver Marcus Lucas #85 of the Missouri Tigers catches a 49 yard reception past linebacker Oliver Aaron #18 of the Arizona State Sun Devils during the fourth quarter of the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on September 9, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Tigers 37-30 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Now, our game predictions. The recent news around Missouri quarterback James Franklin's status has changed things a bit. Post your's in the comment section below.
Brad Denny: Missouri wins 27-24 (with Franklin), ASU wins 24-20 (no Franklin)
Arizona State has done some very impressive things over the season's first two weeks, but now the difficulty ramps up both in their opponents and with the intangibles. Heading out to SEC country will be a formidable mental task for the Sun Devils, as will a talented Tiger team. The key for ASU will be attacking a Missouri offensive line in disarray to contain talented quarterback James Franklin...or to rattle backup Corbin Berkstresser if Franklin can't go. On the flip side, can ASU's offensive line hold back a dangerous Missouri front seven? This one will be close whether Franklin plays or not, but in the end, the Sun Devils will use this as a spring board for better days ahead, win or lose.
Game MVP (if Franklin plays): James Franklin
Game MVP (if no Franklin): Taylor Kelly
Cory Williams: ASU wins 24-23
This isn't going to be an easy battle. Unlike Illinois, Missouri has their starting quarterback under center. A road game is never the same as a match in the friendly confines of Sun Devil Stadium.
Mizzou will be out for blood. They had a tough loss last week in their first SEC game, and they were defeated in a heartbreaker in Tempe last season. Revenge is on the agenda.
Taylor Kelly won't let that happen, however. Another methodical offensive game keeps the Tigers on their heels, and the occasional insertion of Michael Eubank into the game throws the whole Mizzou D in a loop once again. A balanced attack with both rushing and passing yardage all over the field gives the Devils a hair-raising, heart attack-inducing victory in hostile territory.
Game MVP: Taylor Kelly, Game Manager of the Year
Ryan Bafaloukos: ASU wins 34-27
ASU might catch a huge break tonight if James Franklin doesn't play. The junior quarterback is Missouri's best player on either side of the ball and last year Franklin torched ASU for over 400 total yards. If Franklin doesn't play, ASU has a great shot to pull the upset if they can force turnovers and not make mental mistakes. The Sun Devils will be able to score on a MIssouri defense that allowed 41 points to Georgia. I foresee a high scoring game with ASU pulling off a close victory.
ASU MVP: D.J. Foster
Cody Ulm: ASU wins 38-28
If James Franklin plays, I see the Tigers pulling this one out. But if they throw redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser behind a shuffled offensive line instead, I see Arizona State winning by at least 10 points. Berkstresser is dual-threat just like Franklin but I don't see him handling Todd Graham's aggressive 3-3-5 very well. Taylor Kelly will still probably have his worst game of the season but he'll make just enough plays to give the Devils the edge. And if the Tigers' offense begins to pile up the three-and-outs, ASU's deep running back corp should be able to wear their defense out. It will still be tight with it being the Devils first road test of 2012 but Arizona State
might actually win the turnover battle now if Mizzou is without Franklin's experienced composure.
Game MVP: Cameron Marshall - This is the game that Marshall finally breaks out of his 2012 funk. Marshall didn't have much success against Mizzou last year with 61 yards on 22 attempts but I see him busting off three or four long ones as Saturday's game wears on. If he can keep the defense honest, Kelly will be able to work the middle of the field with more confidence. Someone will need to set the tone on the ground in a hostile environment and I think Marshall is that man.