Five things to know about the Missouri Tigers

Auburn is set to open SEC play against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday and is looking to put a disappointing loss behind them.

The home Tigers were embarrassed by Penn State in their last game, falling 41-12 in Jordan-Hare Stadium for their first loss of the season.

While this Missouri team is not as good as the Nittany Lions and represents a great chance for them to open SEC play with a win, Auburn is a 7-point favorite for the game. Auburn will reportedly be without starting quarterback T.J. Finley, who is battling a shoulder injury.

Missouri is also 2-1 on the season and is fresh off a 34-17 win over Albaline Christian.

Here are five things to know about Missouri ahead of the game, which will kick off at 11 a.m. CT and will be on ESPN.

Eli Drinkwitz has ties to Harsin, Auburn

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Drinkwitz will be looking to pull off the upset over his old boss Saturday. He was Harsin’s co-offensive coordinator at Arkansas State in 2013 and followed him to Boise State for two seasons. He coached the tight ends in 2014 and in 2015 was his offensive coordinator. 

He also has ties to Auburn, he was a member of the 2010 national championship team as an analyst. 

Their first trip to Jordan-Hare since joining SEC

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Auburn and Missouri have only played twice since Missouri joined the SEC in 2012 and they have yet to make the trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn traveled to Columbia in 2017 and the teams faced off in the 2013 SEC Championship Game with Auburn winning both games.

Look out for Luther Burden

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Missouri signed the No. 1 wide receiver recruit last season in Burden and he has already started to make an impact for them. They have not shied away from getting him the ball and letting him make plays in space, he has seven carries for 40 yards and one touchdown to go with his 10 receptions for 78 yards and one touchdown. 

Expect them to move him around to try and take advantage of any mismatches they can create. 

These teams are similar on paper

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Both programs are 2-1 to start their season and were dominated in their only game against a Power 5 opponent, Missouri lost to Kansas State 40-12. 

Both teams have struggled with turnovers, Auburn has turned it over eight times while Missouri has seven times. The biggest difference is that Missouri has forced six while Auburn has yet to force a turnover. 

Like Robby Ashford, Missouri’s starting quarterback, Brady Cook, is also a threat with his legs. He is averaging 6.1 yards per carry and leads the team with 159 rushing yards this season.

Their defense may look familiar

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While Drinkwitz has more extensive ties to Harsin, Blake Baker, their defensive coordinator also does. He was the safeties coach for Harsin at Arkansas State in 2013 and also has familiarity with a coach who just shut down Auburn’s offense. Baker has worked with Penn State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz in two spots and Auburn can expect some similarities between the two teams. 

He coached safeties for Diaz in 2014 at Louisiana Tech and when Diaz left for Mississippi State he became their defensive coordinator. The two reunited at Miami in 2019 when Diaz hired Baker to be his defensive coordinator for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. 

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire