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Missouri-UConn: Comfortable cushions, effective blitzing, and who will be Beckner’s huckleberry?

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The Tigers throw a whole bunch of players at the field in another rout.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Connecticut
Put your arms out like a helicopter if you’re quietly having a pretty killer season.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

If you followed along with my work in this space last year, you know that I endeavored to provide snap counts for every Missouri player for every offensive and defensive snap that counted during the season.

If you were not...well, I just explained what this is in the last graf. You should have paid attention.

Anyway, I pored over the film of the Tigers’ 52-12 win over Connecticut to see who Missouri used on offense and defense, how often and in what ways. Then I tried to gather it in a way that wouldn’t bore you too terribly.

Did I fail? Did I succeed? I suppose that’s up for history to decide.

On we go with Year 2 of ... Snap Chats...

Takeaways

  • Connecticut was way scared of Missouri throwing deep on it. How scared, you ask? Well, on the 37 Tiger pass plays that didn’t involve something in the backfield (touch pass to a jet sweeper/running back screen) or a blocker releasing (once), the Huskies player who was guarding the guy who got the ball for Missouri was giving an average of seven yards of cushion.
  • With all that room, Drew Lock basically sat back and picked at them all day, completing 25-of-31 passes for 357 yards (Micah Wilson also completed 3-of-6 for 31). Lock was more than happy to throw to the stop route to the wide side of the field and give his receiver time to put in a move or two against a backpedaling corner.
  • On the two most successful passes of the day — a 72-yard touchdown to Johnathon Johnson and a 35-yard loft to Johnson -- the receiver had nine and eight (respectively) yards of cushion at the time of the snap. J’Mon Moore had nine on his 23-yard gain, and Ish Witter turned four yards of cushion from the middle linebacker into a 22-yarder on a little out route.
  • Oh, pressing didn’t work, either. The only time Lock threw to a press covered receiver, Moore made Jamar Summers look foolish on a 13-yard touchdown.
  • Connecticut actually didn’t have as many drops as I thought, on second watching. The broadcast crew had the Huskies with nine or 10, but I only counted six. And, really, only three of those were costly, as they probably would have gone for first downs.
  • Plus that one on the sideline near the end of the half that was ruled an incompletion...even though it sure looked complete to me. Couldn’t really give Hergy Mayala a drop on that one when, in my view, it was the officials who took it away.
  • Missouri showcased a similar feature in all five of its sacks: at least one blitzer. And, in all cases but one, the blitzer was the one that got home.
  • Logan Cheadle, Brandon Lee, Cale Garrett and Anthony Sherrils all got at least a half-sack on blitzes, and Terez Hall gummed things up in the middle enough for Terry Beckner to break loose and put Bryant Shirreffs down for the fifth one.
  • After so many struggles to get a consistent pass rush, it’s got to be good for Barry Odom and Co. to see 10 sacks over the past two games. Now, whether they can do it against an SEC line is anyone’s guess...
  • All three of the Tigers’ main offensive sets netted more than 8 yards a play. Nice work if you can get it.
  • Missouri busted out that Alec Abeln H-back set once in the early going, then for an entire five-play drive in the third quarter, which ended on that Moore touchdown we talked about earlier.
  • Lock completed 5-of-5 for 48 yards on that drive. The cushions, as you can imagine, were quite generous.
  • I know I tweeted about this, but do we have a name for the Markell Utsey/Jamal Brooks offensive set yet? I’m going with “Son of JUGGERNAUT” — as it’s an obvious descendant to the Josh Augusta set from last year — until we do. Anyway, it got two first downs on three tries. Not bad.
  • The Tigers’ defense was back to a base “Nickel” team (that is, using a more safety than linebacker type at the Sam) with the re-emergence of T.J. Warren ... with whom we all knew exactly what the deal was before he just magically reappeared from a theretofore unannounced academic suspension ... right?
  • Anyway, the Nickel was good and the 4-3 less so, though not terrible. The 3-4 continues to be a world-wrecker, giving up only 22 yards on 16 plays to Connecticut. Give me Lee on one end, stand up Frazier on the other and I’ll give you some results.
  • The Dime continues to be the third-down set of choice, with mixed results still. Connecticut converted 6-of-15 third and fourth downs against the Dime (40 percent), which is a little above the Huskies’ average this year. So, yeah, the Dime is still a work in progress.
  • Missouri continues to tinker with the whole “play Frazier or Chris Turner inside” dealie with the Dime as well. The couple new wrinkles they brought out this week were — a 3-2-6 in which Beckner had his hand in the dirt wide and Frazier and Tre Williams were milling around standing up; and a 4-1-6 in which Turner, Frazier, Beckner and Williams were all standing at the snap.
  • On that particular play, Beckner came free and knocked the CRUD out of backup quarterback David Pindell, who still managed to deliver into the hands of Aaron McLean...who then dropped it.
  • I don’t know how much you can really glean from the playing rotations this week, what with about half the game being garbage time. All the offensive starters seem to have their spots locked in, though Tyler Howell keeps getting a series here or there for Yasir Durant and Adam Ploudre does the same for Kevin Pendleton.
  • Albert Okuegbunam is the very clear No. 1 at tight end and should be after the last couple of weeks. Jason Reese didn’t see his first snap until Wilson relieved Lock, so he’s a pretty clear No. 3.
  • It’ll be interesting to see if Dawson Downing can work his way into the back rotation if Damarea Crockett remains shelved. He did, after all, obliterate a Connecticut defender on a play.
  • Didn’t end up counting, though. Oh well...
  • Williams and Turner continue to carve out a niche at end, at the expense of Jordan Harold’s snaps. He’s still the starter, but he subs out on the speciality sets and has the young ones nipping at his heels.
  • I don’t know what to make of the tackles. It’s Beckner at the lead, obviously. And A.J. Logan is getting the starts, but that doesn’t mean he’ll always get the most snaps. It seems like every week, someone new is rising and someone else is falling off the map. It’s like safety, but with a heck of an anchor to hold the position down, at least, in Beckner.
  • Garrett and Hall got all the important snaps at Will and Mike. It’s their world.
  • A little experimenting with the extra DBs in the Dime. At first, it was Cam Hilton and Joshuah Bledsoe, like last week. Then it was Warren and Hilton, then Warren and Wilson, then to Bledsoe and Wilson at the end. Auditions, maybe?
  • The back four seems more settled now than it’s been all year, with DeMarkus Acy, Adam Sparks, Kaleb Prewett and Sherrils taking the lion’s share of the snaps. You’ve got to think there’s still room for Cheadle, Jerod Alton, Wilson and Ronnell Perkins to play their way into more time toward the end of the year, but it was pretty much a four-man show in the snaps that mattered against Connecticut.
  • Then again...these things have been known to change quite abruptly...

Connecticut Giving Cushion
Yds. from the Line: 256
Pass Plays: 37
Avg. Yds. from Line: 6.92
Result: 28-of-37, 388 yards (10.5 avg.), 5 TD, INT


Connecticut Drops
No.: 6
Yds. Downfield: 25

—————

Missouri Sacks
No. 1: Rush 5 (Terez Hall blitzing); Terry Beckner sack
No. 2: Rush 5 (Logan Cheadle blitzing); Cheadle sack
No. 3: Rush 5 (Brandon Lee blitzing); Lee/Marcell Frazier sack
No. 4: Rush 5 (Cale Garrett blitzing); Garrett sack
No. 5: Rush 5 (Hall/Anthony Sherrils blitzing); Sherrils/Frazier sack


Offensive Set Success

3-WR/2-RB
Run: 22 for 199 (9.05 avg.), TD
Pass: 14-of-18, 151 yards (8.39 avg.), 2 TD
Sack: 1 for -17
Total: 41 plays, 333 yards (8.12 avg.), 3 TD

4-WR/1-RB
Run: 2 for 8 (4.00 avg.)
Pass: 8-of-11, 114 yards (10.4 avg.), TD
Sack: 1 for -6
Total: 14 plays, 116 yards (8.29 avg.), TD

3-WR/1-TE/1-RB
Run: 4 for 11 (2.75 avg.), TD
Pass: 5-of-7, 83 yards (11.9 avg.), TD, INT
Total: 11 plays, 94 yards (8.55 avg.), 2 TD, INT

2-WR/1-TE/2-RB
Pass: 6-of-6, 58 yards (9.67 avg.), TD

Son of JUGGERNAUT
Run: 3 for 7 (2.33 avg.)

3-WR/2-TE
Pass: 1-of-1, 2 yards

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Wayward Snap: 1 for -27, safety

—————

Defensive Set Success

Nickel
Run: 19 for 98 (5.16 avg.), TD
Pass: 5-of-16, 27 yards (1.69 avg.), INT
Sack: 1 for -3
Total: 36 plays, 122 yards (3.39 avg.), TD, INT

4-3
Run: 9 for 34 (3.78 avg.)
Pass: 8-of-15, 110 yards (7.33 avg.)
Sack: 2 for -8 (-4.00 avg.)
Total: 26 plays, 136 yards (5.23 avg.)

3-4
Run: 8 for 14 (1.75 avg.)
Pass: 2-of-7, 12 yards (1.71 avg.)
Sack: 1 for -4
Total: 16 plays, 22 yards (1.38 avg.)

Dime
Pass: 7-of-14, 84 yards (6.00 avg.)
Sack: 1 for -10
Total: 15 plays, 74 yards (4.93 avg.)


Quarterback
Drew Lock — 55
Micah Wilson — 18
Jack Lowary — 3

Running Back
Ish Witter — 34
Larry Rountree -- 23
Dawson Downing — 18

H-Back
Albert Okwuegbunam — 21
Jason Reese — 12
Kendall Blanton8
Alec Abeln — 6
Jamal Brooks — 3
Markell Utsey — 3

Tight End
Kendall Blanton — 14
Albert Okwuegbunam — 7
Jason Reese — 3
Alec Abeln — 1

Wide Receiver
Dominic Collins — 41
Emanuel Hall — 40
Johnathon Johnson33
J’Mon Moore — 32
Nate Brown -- 23
Richaud Floyd — 19
Steven Spadarotto — 14
Daniel Ellinger — 10
Albert Okwuegbunam — 7
Jason Reese — 5
Kenall Blanton — 2
Ish Witter — 1

Line
Trystan Castillo — 58
Tre’Vour Simms -- 58
Paul Adams55
Kevin Pendleton -- 47
Yasir Durant — 45
Tyler Howell -- 39
Adam Ploudre — 22
Jonah Dubinski — 18
AJ Harris -- 18
Samson Bailey — 10
Alec Abeln — 7
Kyle Mitchell3


Defense

End
Marcell Frazier -- 42
Jordan Harold — 36
Tre Williams — 31
Chris Turner — 28
Nate Anderson — 14
Franklin Agbasimere — 5
Terry Beckner — 1

Tackle
Terry Beckner — 44
Kobie Whiteside — 30
A.J. Logan — 25
Walter Palmore -- 24
Rashad Brandon — 19
Akial Byers — 15
Markell Utsey — 13
Marcell Frazier — 5
Chris Turner — 4

Rush End
Marcell Frazier — 15
Chris Turner — 7
Tre Williams — 6
Jordan Harold — 3
Terry Beckner — 1

Linebacker
Terez Hall — 56
Cale Garrett — 45
Brandon Lee — 42
Eric Beisel31
Joey Burkett -- 31
Jamal Brooks — 6
Noah Robinson6

Nickelback
T.J. Warren — 42
Cam Hilton — 12
Joshuah Bledsoe — 9
Thomas Wilson3

Cornerback
DeMarkus Acy — 58
Adam Sparks — 50
Logan Cheadle — 37
Jerod Alton -- 35
Finis Stribling — 6

Safety
Kaleb Prewett — 77
Anthony Sherrils — 56
Thomas Wilson36
Ronnell Perkins — 16
Anthony Hines1