1. Is there a bye week hangover?
This will be a pretty simple one for Missouri to answer. The Tigers are 0-7 all-time after any sort of prolonged time off before facing FBS competition in the Barry Odom era. While some of those matchups have been difficult, it’s one of the few remaining negative marks on the fourth-year head coach’s resume. Odom erased a huge blemish two weeks ago with his first victory over South Carolina and will look to keep things rolling against Troy. Odom has mentioned over the past few weeks how he has changed the program's approach to bye weeks by keeping coaches in town and other measures.
2. Do any of Troy’s habits look familiar?
Four weeks ago, Missouri earned its first win of the season in dominant fashion against West Virginia. Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown led Troy the previous four seasons. Now as the Trojans have Chip Lindsey calling the shots, are there any similarities the Tigers find between West Virginia and Troy? Both Brown and Lindsey are well-respected offensive minds. Troy has scored at least 35 points in each of its first four games. For that to continue, the Trojans will have to baffle a Missouri defense that’s been ready for most things thrown at it since the start of September.
3. Will Missouri get caught looking ahead?
As insistent as Odom or any other Tiger can be that they’ve learned from the Week 1 debacle in Wyoming, here’s the first chance to truly prove it. No MU player or coach needed extra motivation to get hyped for the West Virginia or South Carolina games because it was the Tigers' home and Southeastern Conference openers, respectively. SEMO was going to be outmatched no matter what. Troy presents the first road block in over a month that Missouri doesn’t know how high it’ll have to jump to clear. The Tigers could leap right through without issue, and that’s a likely scenario if they're locked in.
4. Can the Tigers put together a full performance?
Even for as reassuring as all three Missouri victories this season appear, the program believes the best is still to come. One reason for that is how Missouri has finished games. The Tigers didn’t keep their foot on the gas against either West Virginia or SEMO. Another area for growth is limiting unforced errors. A few occurred against South Carolina, and while the Gamecocks couldn’t make MU pay for them, another team could. Limiting unforced errors and finishing strong would help the Tigers leave no doubt Saturday entering the remainder of conference play.
5. Does Troy know how to unlock Missouri?
The Trojans have taken down a Power Five Conference team each of the past two seasons. Nebraska fell in 2018 and LSU was the victim two years ago. Missouri is the lone Power Five team on Troy’s schedule this season. With Brown’s departure and a few other talented players graduating, some key pieces from those victories won’t take the field Saturday at Faurot Field, but Troy knows what kind of reputation it has built. Will Troy be able to hold its own against the Tigers, or does it play like a team picked to finish fourth in the Sun Belt Conference?