Missouri's football season will get an early start.

The Tigers will kick off their Sept. 2 season opener against Missouri State at 11 a.m. on Faurot Field. The Southeastern Conference announced the game time on Tuesday. The game will be televised on the SEC Network. The conference also announced that Missouri's Sept. 16 home game against Purdue will kick off at 3 p.m. and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

This will mark the second straight season Missouri will open with a game that kicks off at 11 a.m. Central time. Last year, the Tigers opened on the road against West Virginia.

Only one SEC team will get its season started before Missouri. That's Arkansas. The Razorbacks will host Florida A&M at 7 p.m. Aug. 31.

Missouri will begin the season with four straight home games. Three of those game times have now been set, as it was previously announced Missouri's Sept. 9 game against South Carolina will kick off at 6 p.m.

HOWARD SET FOR PLEA HEARING: Missouri's suspended defensive end Nate Howard is scheduled for a plea hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning at the Boone County Courthouse, according to online court records.

Howard faces a Class D felony charge of possession of a controlled substance stemming from his June 14 arrest. Police say they found psilocybin mushrooms in the trunk of Howard's car following a traffic stop, according to the probable cause statement. Howard's attorney, Christopher Slusher, entered a not guilty plea on Howard's behalf on July 13.

Howard, a junior who has 15 tackles in 15 career games, exited the spring as one of the top candidates to earn a starting spot on the defensive line. He has been suspended since his arrest.

University policy states that any athlete facing felony charges will remain suspended until a judgment is reached in the case. If the athlete pleads guilty to the felony charge or is convicted of the felony, the athlete is permanently barred from competing in athletics for any school in the University of Missouri system.

Missouri opens preseason camp on Tuesday.

btoppmeyer@columbiatribune.com
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