Missouri won its home opener in convincing fashion over SE Missouri State on Saturday, controlling the Redhawks from wire-to-wire in a 34-3 victory. On the offensive side, the story of the day was centered around Drew Lock's debut as the backup quarterback to Maty Mauk. On defense, it was all about Kentrell Brothers.
The senior linebacker had a career day with 16 tackles (1.5 tackles for loss) and a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown. Not too bad of a start for the SEC's returning leading tackler from last season.
"He's everywhere. He's all over the place," Gary Pinkel said of his senior linebacker. "It's instinctive. He's just thinking on a different level. He can see everything."
Let's check out a few plays from Saturday's game, and look back on Brothers' dominant performance. (I'm still a GIF newbie, so be gentle.)
Play 1 -- 13:59 left in Q1
The Redhawks are lined up in the Pistol on second down, with running back DeMichael Jackson set behind quarterback Tay Bender. On defense, Tigers have four down lineman and three linebackers. Before the ball is snapped, Kentrell comes up to the line next to Charles Harris. The ball is snapped, with both Harris and Brothers filling in the "C" gap. The left tackle forces Harris behind the play, while Brothers cuts inside untouched to bring Jackson down after just a one-yard gain.
Even though the play was run opposite of Brothers, he still shows great pursuit from the backside for his first tackle of the afternoon.
Play 2 -- 4:39 left in Q1
The Redhawks line up in the shotgun this time, with Jackson next to Bender on first down. Missouri has three down linemen, with Marcell Frazier up on the left end. Kentrell is lined up at the SAM spot.
The ball is snapped, with the RT and TE double-teaming Terry Beckner Jr., and the Center and RG pull to the right.
The center's job is to seal off Frazier at the edge, while the RG will try to read what Brothers is doing and seal a hole for Jackson.
Neither are able to get the job done.
Brothers blows by the right guard and is able to bring down Jackson for a loss with Frazier, Dennis, Nate Howard, and Rickey Hatley in tow.
Play 3 -- 14:09 left in Q2
SEMO is lined up in the Pistol, with Missouri sporting two down lineman and Charles Harris and Donavin Newsom standing on the edges. The Redhawks try a counter right on third-and-7, with Brothers waiting and reading the movement of the RB. If the center is able to seal off Kentrell, it's a first down for SEMO and potentially much more.
Instead, Brothers makes the read and slips past the center to make the tackle (again).
Play 4 -- 7:43 left in Q3
SEMO lines up in the Shotgun with Trips to the left, while Mizzou has four down lineman up front with Michael Scherer and Brothers behind them. The Redhawks run up the middle, only to be met by an unblocked Charles Harris and Brothers through the "A" gap for the loss.
One of the more simple tackles made by Brothers on Saturday, but certainly one of the more effective ones.
Play 5 -- 0:22 left in Q3
The dagger. The Tigers were already up 17 as the third quarter winded down. The offense had hit a lull, kicking two field goals between the second and third quarter after scoring two touchdowns in the opening ten minutes. What better way to light a fire under everyone than a little special teams scoring?
Bender was lined up in the shotgun with two receivers to his right, facing a Missouri D with three down lineman.
Brothers comes up to the line before the snap, then easily makes his way into the backfield to block Bender's attempted pooch punt. Aarion Penton catches the ball in stride and takes it to the house for the score.
I love that Penton wasn't really paying attention till right before the ball is snapped, then he starts slowly jogging toward the line, and then--BALLBALLBALLBALLBALLBALLBALLBALL.
As David Morrison put it in his post-game recap of the SEMO-Missouri game, "It almost sounded as if the Memorial Stadium public-address announcer's feed was stuck on repeat."
Kentrell Brothers' name echoed throughout Memorial Stadium multiple times during the Tigers win over the Redhawks. The LB was all over the field and registered a tackle on almost everyone under the sun. The SEC's returning leading tackler might have tackled you, and you wouldn't even know it.
Brace yourselves, Arkansas State, a Kentrell Watch has been issued for your area.