Missouri vs Wake Forest prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl, Friday, December 23
Missouri vs Wake Forest Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl Prediction Game Preview
Missouri vs Wake Forest How To Watch
Date: Friday, December 23
Game Time: 3:00 ET
Venue: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
How To Watch: ESPN
Record: Missouri (6-6), Wake Forest (7-5)
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Missouri vs Wake Forest Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl 5 Things To Know
– Missouri needed a win over Arkansas in the regular season finale just to get here, and now it needs a victory to finish with a winning campaign. It’s missing some big players on defense – more on this later – and the offense has to be consistent, but the team is great at controlling the clock and the defense should still be okay.
– Wake Forest is fun. It might have collapsed over the finishing kick going 1-4 in the final five games, but the offense is going to throw for over 300 yards, the defense will give up a ton of big plays, and it all mixes together for what should be a high-energy bowl. Mizzou will have to keep up the pace.
– A good bowl team under head coach Dave Clawson, Wake Forest is 4-2 in the post-season in its last six, coming off a 38-10 blasting of Rutgers in last season’s Gator. The program is 10-6 all-time in bowls with 13 of them played after 2000. It’s still a big deal for Wake Forest to go bowling.
– Missouri is a bit more used to the bowl life – this is the 34th for the program, going 15-19 starting with a loss to USC in the 1924 Los Angeles Christmas Festival. However, it lost its last three including both of the chances under head coach Eliah Drinkwitz. The Tigers don’t have a bowl win since beating Minnesota in the 2014 Citrus – the loss to Army in last year’s Armed Forces Bowl hurt.
– This is the first time the Gasparilla Bowl has featured two Power Five teams – now it needs a little luck to finally come up with a good game. Last year’s UCF 29-17 win over Florida was entertaining for a whole slew of reasons, but it was the fourth straight game and ninth in the 13 decided by double-digits.
Why Missouri Will Win The Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
The Wake Forest defense is a tad wobbly. It allowed well over 1,500 yards in its final three games of the season, it’s not doing much against anyone who wants to throw, and it gave up 30 points or more in its last five games.
Not helping the cause is the loss of corners Gavin Holmes and JJ Roberts to the transfer portal. Missouri doesn’t have a high-powered passing game, and losing top target Dominic Lovett to the portal hurts, but it’s 5-0 when throwing for more than 220 yards.
The Wake Forest pass defense doesn’t get out of bed in the morning without giving up 220 yards through the air.
When it does allow fewer, it’s usually because the offense on the other side is too busy running. Mizzou has to balance out the attack, do what it does to control the clock, and the defense that’s so good on third downs and so good at getting into the backfield has to be fired up from the start.
Why Wake Forest Will Win The Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
It’s all hands on deck against the Wake Forest passing game.
The Missouri defense that was so great this season will be without a few key pass rushers – Isaiah McGuire opting out really hurts – and will miss a little depth in the secondary.
The wins might not have been there over the second half of the season, but the Demon Deacons, but QB Sam Hartman kept bombing away with the offense hitting 300 yards through the air in each of the last six games and in nine of 11.
Missouri’s offense is balanced and can grind a bit, but it’s not built to get into wild shootouts. It takes 30 points to beat Wake Forest – it’s 5-0 when allowing fewer and 2-5 when giving up more – but the Tigers have only hit that mark against Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, and Abilene Christian.