Even after losing eight players to the NFL draft, there's been zero letup anywhere. Alabama is the stingiest team in the nation in terms of points allowed, total yards allowed and yards per play.
Players don't seem too worried about the unknown associated with coming to Columbia, Mo., for the first time. They're expecting a raucous welcome from a hopeful sellout crowd, but a gathering that is likely to contain thousands of Alabama faithful.
"I mean, it's a different atmosphere and it's just something you have to get adjusted to," safety Robert Lester said. "Usually for me, personally, once I get started on the field everything else is an external factor, and it hasn't really bothered me."
At midseason, Missouri's streak of seven consecutive bowl trips is in jeopardy. The hope is that redshirt freshman backup quarterback Corbin Berkstresser, who was just 9 for 30 for 189 yards and one touchdown last week after stepping in for injured James Franklin, will play with more confidence and fewer jitters this time around.
"That really wasn't me, I felt uneasy about myself," Berkstresser said. "I'm not that guy that becomes nervous or anything, and I definitely felt uncomfortable. But definitely this week, I will be composed and ready to play."
Berkstresser will be taking snaps from another replacement, with Brad McNulty in for injured center Mitch Morse. Left tackle Elvis Fisher has been less than his best physically. Somehow, this offense must produce against a team allowing only a touchdown per game.
"They're pretty darn good," offensive tackle Elvis Fisher said. "We've got to be able to come out there ready to play our `A' game."
Wide receiver T.J. Moe said the most notable aspect of the Alabama defense is its pursuit.
"It's not that every guy's dominating everybody on the field, it's just that if you make one guy miss, there's three guys waiting for you," Me said. "So, you've got to get straight up field and get your yards."
Eliminate the mistakes, too.
"Nobody's ever played a perfect game," Moe added, "but we certainly have to play a lot better than we've played so far this year."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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