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Texas-Missouri ponderables

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Mack Brown is 11-0 in games following the Texas-Oklahoma showdown.

But the Longhorns need a definitive performance tonight before a national audience to show they are in the running for the national title.

Alabama almost stumbled today, narrowly averting disaster in a 12-10 win over Tennessee. The Longhorns don't have that much of a margin and need to make something out of their exposure.

The Longhorns are hoping for more offensive production tonight as they will start Marquise Goodwin and Malcolm Williams, benching John Chiles and James Kirkendoll in the process. The move has enabled them to move Jordan Shipley back to flanker where he should be more productive after he produced only four catches for 22 yards last week. Also, don't be surprised if Shipley winds up in the slot, where he would be matched up against slower Missouri linebackers.

Missouri's defense will be more concerned with forcing turnovers after struggling with inconsistency throughout the season. The Tigers have forced only eight turnovers in the first six games of the season and two of those came on special teams.

Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert has been hobbled with a sprained ankle. His condition is improved from the second half last week, when he noticeably limped his way against Oklahoma State and the Tigers were shut out.

Gabbert came into Big 12 play with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. His numbers have gone south in the last two weeks -- one touchdown pass and five picks. He's got to play much better if the Tigers have any hope of springing the upset.

Texas has dominated the recent series, winning 13 of the last 14 games in the series since 1931. Missouri's only win during that period was a 37-29 triumph in 1997 in a season that was the Longhorns' worst during an 18-season streak.

Missouri also needs a more productive running game than in recent games. The Tigers have notched less than 91 yards in each of their last three games. And Texas has the nation's stingiest defense as they are limiting opponents to 35.8 yards per game. The Longhorns have limited their last four opponents to 29 rushing yards in their last four games, an average of 7.3 yards per game.