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“We have a long ways to go.” Missouri searches for answers after Homecoming loss

Plagued with injuries, penalties, and defensive woes, Mizzou lost in a barn burner with team they were expected to beat.

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that wasn't fun. Missouri moved to 2-5 following a 51-45 loss to Middle Tennessee for Homecoming.

Due to costly injuries, flurries of offensive plays from both sides, and sloppy tackling, Barry Odom’s Tigers quickly realized MTSU was outplaying them.

Brent Stockstill and I’Tavius Mathers put on a clinic in the first half against a depleted Mizzou defense.

On MTSU’s fifth play of the game, Michael Scherer injured his right knee during a run stop. Meanwhile, John Gibson also found himself sidelined after MTSU’s first drive. This would be just the beginning of Missouri’s defensive struggles.

Offensively, Mizzou showed life with Damarea Crockett’s run game coming into fruition. Lock also had some solid passes, one in particular to Johnathon Johnson for a 38-yard touchdown. This would be reversed due to an offensive pass interference call against Emanuel Hall, however. Hall came back right after his penalty with a great catch over the middle, followed by a after-contact touchdown by Crockett.

Kendall Blanton must be watching OBJ highlights

Okay, Kendall... we see you

No hand holding for Mizzou going into the locker room, and no answers on defense going into the second half

Mizzou found itself again on its heels in the third quarter, with Mathers and Stockstill adding more yards to their combined over 200 yards on the ground from the first half. It was apparent that Demontie Cross and the defense did not have answers, and MTSU took advantage. On top of that, Terry Beckner Jr. also suffered a knee sprain, which kept him out of the rest of the half.

Mizzou bounced back in middle of the fourth quarter with a solid drive and a great Drew Lock to Ray Wingo touchdown to close in the deficit to just three points. Unfortunately this did not fully supplement the damage that was being done to Mizzou’s defense. In the end, MTSU simply outscored and outplayed Mizzou.

This was a very tough loss for a team that has already been through several tough conference and non-conference losses this year. On the positive side, Damarea Crockett produced 4 touchdowns, becoming the first true freshman in program history to rush for four scores. With that said, Mizzou should be set in the back field going forward.

After the game, Cam Hilton gave his thoughts on the mishaps the defense had against MTSU. “We practice tackling everyday. We need to do a better job,” Hilton said. “We need to get more three-and-outs and get off the field more.”

Barry Odom also took questions about the game, and gave his overall assessment. “Defensively we tackled poorly, and we didn’t get the ball back. Overall, defensively we didn’t give ourselves a chance to win… offensively though, we battled,” Odom said. “I’m frustrated to no end. I want to win this deal... we have a long ways to go”.

Mizzou will face a struggling Kentucky team next week at home. Between now and then, Odom and company will need to find solutions to a beat up defense that can't seem to find its rhythm.