Things couldn’t have started much worse for Missouri in Saturday’s homecoming game. Cornerback John Gibson was lost for the game with a knee injury on Middle Tennessee’s first play from scrimmage. On the Blue Raiders’ fourth play, MU linebacker and team tackles leader Michael Scherer went down, also with a strained knee ligament. [...]
It wasn’t Mizzou’s last injury. Defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. left the game for good in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury. It’s not the same knee that he hurt last season that required ACL and MCL repairs.
Earlier in the game, Mizzou lost tight end Jason Reese with a rib injury and safety Thomas Wilson with an undisclosed injury.
The Tigers played without right guard Alec Abeln, who re-injured a sprained right ankle in Thursday’s practice.
Scherer fell to the turf as he attempted to make a tackle on tailback I’Tavius Mathers. Blue Raiders offensive lineman Jonathan Roth hit the back of Scherer’s knee and the Missouri linebacker took one step before stumbling to the ground. [...]
"He’s the voice," senior defensive tackle Rickey Hatley said of Scherer. "That’s a big loss for our defense, but we’ll find a way to come back.
"We’ll have a full evaluation (Sunday) — an MRI to see where it’s at," first-year coach Barry Odom said. " … We had a number of guys (who) went down. John Gibson went out on play No. 1, Beckner went out and we had a couple more. The next guy’s got to stand up, he’s got to be ready to go play and we’ve got to be great coaches to put them in position to be ready to go play."
On Mondays, my Football Study Hall stat profiles go up. But for obvious reasons, when I'm prepping the templates to make sure everything looks right, I use Mizzou as the guinea pig. I might write more about this later in the day, but Mizzou's stat profile made me feel quite a bit better about Saturday's game.
Mizzou dominated the efficiency battle which would have resulted in a win more often than not -- MTSU needed a huge big-play advantage (and help from penalties) to win the game. That doesn't make it any less of a loss, but it wasn't necessarily a replicable loss, a damning loss. In fact, because of the efficiency advantage (and because of the importance of efficiency), Mizzou actually rose in my S&P+ rankings. (I swear I don't have a Mizzou Bias factor in there.)
Because Missouri didn't actually fall, and because South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas all looked demonstrably bad on Saturday, the Tigers' odds of reaching 6-6 or better only fell from about 53 percent to 44 percent per S&P+. That's encouraging...
...until you look at the husk of Missouri's former first-string defense. By most accounts, Scherer's injury sounds really bad. We'll probably find out more about Gibson and Beckner today. Wilson, too, hopefully. If they are to all miss time, Mizzou's defense just saw its ceiling and floor both fall quite a bit. Scherer was the obvious quarterback, the guy Mizzou could least afford to lose, and the Tigers lost him almost immediately after the game started. They lost the underrated Gibson even before I got to my seat.
Scherer, Gibson, and Wilson have been three of probably Mizzou's five best defensive players this year. Beckner's obviously the guy with the highest ceiling. Even if Missouri's stats didn't actually take a hit on Saturday, it's really hard to imagine this defense playing at even a No. 54 level (per Def. S&P+) without them, and that makes a 44% chance of bowling seem artificially high. (It might have seemed that way to you even without the injuries.)
More wonderful MTSU links
MUtigers.com: @MizzouFootball Falls to Middle Tennessee, 51-45
The Trib: Net loss for Tigers: Middle Tennessee upsets Missouri on homecoming
The Trib (Blake Toppmeyer): MTSU-MU rewind: Game balls, grades and key plays
Post-Dispatch: Mistake-prone MU suffers a Homecoming humbling
KC Star: Tigers stunned by Middle Tennessee 51-45, spoiling Mizzou’s homecoming
The Missourian: Missouri's lackluster performance against Middle Tennessee leaves season outlook in doubt
PowerMizzou: Grading the Tigers
Crockett a clear bright spot (Witter, too!)
It's one thing to post harmless smack talk (and yes, even for a journalism school, it was totally harmless in my book). It's another to then delete the tweet. Stick to your trash-talking guns and take the loss!
First place, baby
As dreadful as the week may have been for Mizzou Football, it was pretty awesome for your first-place volleyball team.
Isn't the best?!— Mizzou Volleyball (@MizzouVB) October 24, 2016
Thank you as always Mizzou fans for an unforgettable atmosphere at today's big win! pic.twitter.com/doUOh736tx
A hell of a comeback
The weekend was pretty decent to the soccer team, too, which fell behind 2-0 to Georgia almost instantly, then roared back.
If you want to talk about football but just don't have the stomach to talk about Mizzou anymore, here you go.