No. 1-ranked Alabama hosts Missouri on Saturday for homecoming. Here are four key questions that will be answered:
1. Can Missouri lure Alabama into a shootout?
Arkansas couldn’t keep pace with the Crimson Tide, but exposed some defensive weaknesses that might be further exploited. The Tigers are scoring 39 points per game, far behind Alabama’s 56 but perhaps enough to have a chance if this becomes a game of swapping touchdowns. UA would be best off controlling the ball and tempo.
2. Will Drew Lock challenge the Crimson Tide’s secondary?
The Tigers’ quarterback has an NFL arm and is averaging nearly 300 passing yards per game. The fact that Alabama lost last year’s entire defensive backfield has gotten lost in the excitement over Alabama’s own passing game, but Lock has the tools to challenge the Crimson Tide’s pass defense in ways no one has to date. This could be a real test.
3. Can Tua Tagovailoa keep it up?
Alabama’s sophomore quarterback is playing at a galactic level. The left-hander from Hawaii sees all and acts quickly to exploit any opening an opposing defense gives him. Tagovailoa has the accuracy to pinpoint passes and the knack for making big plays. He hasn’t thrown an interception while accounting for 20 total touchdowns. It begs the question of whether it’s sustainable.
4. Will Alabama students show up?
The student section was at least half empty two weekends ago when the Crimson Tide hosted Louisiana-Lafayette. Coach Nick Saban expressed his displeasure at the lack of support. This is a night game against an SEC opponent, so there shouldn’t be any excuses. It will be interesting to see if UA students really do care enough to be there to cheer for their team.