Missouri beat Eastern Michigan 61-21 for the first win of the Barry Odom era. Before we spend the next few days on heavy analysis, here are a few quick takeaways from tonight’s W.
1. All aboard the #DrewLockHypeTrain
Before tonight, Mizzou fans only had flashes – a deep ball here, a dart there – to point to as reason for justifying Drew Lock’s immense hype. But now we have a full game.
Lock was unstoppable tonight, throwing for 450 yards and 5 touchdowns. He could have had even more if not for a few drops late in the game. But what was even more impressive was just how confident Lock looked. Tonight was a far cry from the shaky and indecisive freshman we saw last year, and even the conservative sophomore from last week. Lock was in another universe tonight, throwing bullets and threading needles all over the field, making throws Mizzou hasn’t seen since the days of Blaine Gabbert – maybe even Chase Daniel.
This is the Drew Lock Mizzou has been hoping for. And this is the Drew Lock that could turn a good Mizzou team into a great one down the road. Maybe even this year. You could call that optimistic, but doesn’t it feel good to have hope?
Drew Lock's QB rating: pic.twitter.com/Kj3buOncnP— Jack Peglow (@JackPeglow) September 11, 2016
2. Look at all these playmakers!
For the second week in a row, Mizzou had two 100 yard receivers. The best part: neither of them had more than 100 last week. It was great to see Heupel willing to spread the rock to some hungry, young players. Johnathan Johnson was absolutely electric every time he had the ball, accounting for receiving and return touchdowns. RayWingo and Emmanuel Hall were two steps ahead of every defensive back. Even Dimetrios Mason, Kendall Blanton and Jason Reese got in on the action. And that’s not even counting the fact that J’Mon Moore and Chris Black never got anything going.
As for the running backs: I’m admittedly not a big Ish Witter fan. But Witter showed signs of life tonight, rushing for 61 yards on 4.7 YPC. He looked more explosive then ever, and he even broke a few tackles. My personal favorite player tonight? Damarea Crockett. Yes, it’s Eastern Michigan. But the freshman racked up 68 yards on a 5.7 YPC. He absolutely exploded through the line on almost every carry, and barreled through would-be tackles. What a recruiting coup that could turn out to be.
With a combination of a potent Drew Lock and a wealth of rising playmakers, the Mizzou offense could be in for an exciting few seasons.
3. Pacing, pacing, pacing
This could fall square under “nitpicking,” but I think its fair to have some slight anxiety about the pace of Mizzou’s offense. On nights like tonight, it’s hard to argue with the way Heupel called the game. But Lock won’t be humming like this every Saturday, and young players will make young-player mistakes. At what point do you sacrifice pace for simply good play-calling? Nothing got #MizzouTwitter more heated than the two failed Witter runs and Lock fumble in the red zone. When situations like those arise in games not against Eastern Michigan, will Heupel sacrifice quantity for quality?
4. The Unspeakable
I don’t want to have this opinion, but unless Mizzou shows differently next week, it might be time to consider…
Maybe this defense isn’t really that good.
It’s easy to say after two disappointing games. And I’d like to think they won’t really be that bad either. But it is fair to consider the changes in the coaching staff may have taken on a toll on this defensive unit. Aarion Penton looks like an All-SEC performer so far, but how bad is the injury he sustained tonight? Charles Harris, a pre-season All-SEC choice, has been nowhere to be found in the first two games of the year. And the much vaunted defensive line was absolutely mauled by the run game in the first half, and looked vulnerable without Penton in the second.
Again, it might be too early to say the Mizzou defense has taken a significant step back. But there’s certainly more to worry about than anyone could have guessed.
5. What kicker controversy?
Reports of a kicker controversy are greatly exaggerated. After some first-half consternation due to a few missed XP’s, Mizzou fans began to clamor for the days of old, when they instead would scream at Andrew Baggett instead of a true freshman.
Relax. Tucker McCann will be fine. He did miss one XP, but hit the other 5. And he consistently booted the ball out of the end zone on kick offs. It’s not hard to imagine a freshman kicker on scholarship would feel the weight of Columbia on his shoulders to start the season. McCann’s the guy. Let him grow.
Tonight was fun. Drew Lock is good. College football is the best. Bring on Georgia.
Georgia week.— Marcell Frazier (@YuskeFrazier) September 11, 2016
If you need me, I’ll be shooting Josh Augusta highlights directly into my veins.