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Missouri-Vanderbilt: Phat Albert, LBs wrecking shop, and a stable defense, at long last

It was a very good day for the Tigers’ linebackers and their freshman tight end. Oh, and Terry Beckner Jr.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Vanderbilt
Albert Okwuegbunam is going to be something special at Missouri. Maybe he already is.
Christopher Hanewinckel-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’ 45-17 win over Vanderbilt 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...


  • Albert Okwuegbunam had a phenomenal game. I mean, you can kind of glean that from the fact that he got 116 yards and two scores on five catches in six targets — a 355.73 rating, if you please — but he also did so much more.
  • First, he played 44 of the Tigers’ 64 plays (68.8 percent). On those plays, Missouri averaged 8.25 yards. On the 20 without him, the Tigers averaged 3.15 yards.
  • Just check out this sequence on Missouri’s last scoring drive. Okwuegbunam catches a 20-yard pass on a third-and-11 crossing route to keep the drive alive. Then, after a 1-yard Larry Rountree runs, he takes a play off. Then he comes back in on a third-and-8 to catch a 57-yard touchdown pass down the seam.
  • Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.
  • Also, blocking. Missouri used Okwuegbunam as the lead blocker on 12 running plays and got 88 yards (7.33 per) out of them. All other running plays -- minus a kneel — yielded 102 yards on 26 carries, or 3.92 per.
  • Speaking of running plays, the Tigers ran the speed option five times for 27 yards and a Rountree touchdown. Not so bad.
  • Not speaking of running plays, this week in drop watch, we have Emanuel Hall with two for a low end of 44 yards (and a touchdown) and Johnathon Johnson with one for 19 yards. That’s seven drops I count from Hall in the past two weeks.
  • If he can get those figured out, he can be something really special. Because everything else is there. He reminds me of that kid in Little Giants. Maybe he just needs to imagine the ball is toilet paper...
  • Come to think of it, Drew Lock kind of reminds me of Devon Sawa, too. Yes, this analogy is perfect.
  • Also having a fantastic game: Missouri’s entire linebacking corps. I’m talking about you, Terez Hall, Cale Garrett, Brandon Lee and Eric Beisel.
  • Those four combined for about 30 percent of the team’s non-special teams tackles and did so an average of 3.34 yards from the line of scrimmage. Or about 31 percent better than the 4.87 per play average the team gave up.
  • Not only that, but they managed one disruptive play every 11.7 snaps. I’m talking Garrett’s two tackles for loss, Brandon Lee’s pick-6 (and two pass breakups), a PBU from Hall and a hurry from Beisel.
  • Good stuff all around. Good on you, Brothers Odom.
  • The Tigers, again, leaned heavily on the three-wide, tight end in the backfield set on offense, going out of it on 46 of 64 plays, or 71.9 percent. While the passing wasn’t so great out of it, they did move the pile, with 31 carries for 173 yards.
  • The passing electricity came in the four-wide set, with 4-of-9 passing for 156 yards and the two biggest plays of the game — J’Mon Moore’s 71-yard catch on the free play and Owuegbunam’s touchdown.
  • Speaking of Okwuegbunam touchdowns, the only play in which the Tigers had three-wide and a tight end attached was Okwuegbunam’s first score, the 7-yarder.
  • On defense, the 4-3 was great against the run, yielding less than two yards a pop. Against the pass, it wasn’t so great, giving up 270 yards on 33 attempts.
  • The formula Missouri has figured out, though, is to get teams to third-and-mid to -long by being decent on first and second downs — and teams playing into their hands by running into the teeth of their improved run defense — then teeing off from the Dime on third down. Vanderbilt completed only 4-of-13 passes for 46 yards and an Adam Sparks pick against the Dime.
  • The Tigers trotted each of their Dime looks — four-front with an end inside; three-front with two linebackers — seven times each. The Commodores gained 5.14 yards a play against the first look, 2.86 against the second.
  • The 4-5 was a goal-line set with five defensive linemen and four linebackers, but Jordan Harold stood at the end, then Tavon Ross at safety and DeMarkus Acy at corner. It held for one play but allowed a 1-yard Ralph Webb plunge on the second.
  • Ish Witter and Larry Rountree continue to split the reps almost evenly: 33 for Witter, 31 for Rountree. Witter ran on 48.5 percent of his snaps, Rountree on 48.4 percent of his.
  • Cosmic.
  • Yasir Durant’s hold on left tackle seems more sure now than it’s been at any point of the season. Tyler Howell got two series and the kneel at the end of the first half.
  • Marcell Frazier played on 90 percent of the defense’s snaps, which is pretty mental. And one of those snaps, he had to sit out because he got yanked after a ... weird ... unsportsmanlike call against him.
  • And by “weird” I mean “not at all applicable.”
  • Whetevs, Terry Beckner ganked the ball out of the air on the next play.
  • A.J. Logan seemed to separate himself a little from the rest of the tackle pack when it came to reps, playing on 43 percent of the snaps. The next closest (Walter Palmore) played on 24.
  • Has Beckner finally found his huckleberry?
  • Beisel actually got three snaps in the normal course of the first defense in relief of Garrett, which is a change from the past few weeks. He subbed in at the end of the Commodores’ field goal drive.
  • At corner, Sparks only left the field for the 4-5 snaps. Acy left a couple times after getting shaken up or winded and was replaced by Logan Cheadle (three snaps) and Jerod Alton (four snaps).
  • Anthony Sherrils, too, seemed to need breathers every now and then, with Thomas Wilson stepping in for 12 snaps throughout the game.
  • Right now, though — at long last — Missouri’s defense is in a pretty stable place. Frazier, Beckner, Hall, Garrett, Lee, Sparks, Acy, Sherrils and Prewett all have pretty solid grips on their positions, with Jordan Harold/Tre Williams and Logan/the entire rest of the DT depth taking up the other two.
  • You want to know another good thing about that? Only five of those guys (yes, counting Beckner) are gone next year.

Missouri’s Offense with Albert Okwuegbunam
Run: 24 for 132 (5.50 avg.), TD
Pass: 9-of-20, 231 yards (11.6 avg.), 3 TD
Total: 44 plays, 363 yards (8.25 avg.), 4 TD

Okwuegbunam as Lead Blocker: 12 for 88 (7.33 avg.)

Missouri’s Offense without Albert Okwuegbunam
Run: 14 for 60 (4.29 avg.)
Pass: 1-of-5, 4 yards (0.80 avg.)
Kneel: 1 for -1
Total: 20 plays, 63 yards (3.15 avg.)

Missouri Runs the Speed Option
Run: 5 for 27 (5.40 avg.), TD

Emanuel Hall: 2 for 44
Johnathon Johnson: 1 for 19
Total: 3 for 63


Missouri Linebackers (% of Team)
Solo Tackles: 13 (29.5)
Assisted Tackles: 6 (35.3)
Total Tackles: 16 (30.5)
Sum Tackles: 19 (31.1)

2 TFL, sack, 3 PBU, INT, TD, QBH (disruptive play every 11.7 snaps)

Avg. Tackle Yards from Scrimmage: 3.34

Offensive Set Success

Run: 31 for 173 (5.58 avg.), TD
Pass: 5-of-15, 72 yards (4.80 avg.), TD
Total: 46 plays, 245 yards (5.33 avg.), 2 TD

Run: 3 for 5 (1.60 avg.)
Pass: 4-of-9, 156 yards (17.3 avg.), TD
Total: 12 plays, 161 yards (13.4 avg.), TD

Run: 4 for 14 (3.50 avg.)

Pass: 1-of-1, 7 yards, TD

Kneel: 1 for -1


Defensive Set Success

Run: 24 for 47 (1.96 avg.)
Pass: 20-of-33, 270 yards (8.18 avg.), TD, INT
Sack: 2 for -9 (-4.50 avg.)
Total: 59 plays, 308 yards (5.22 avg.), TD, INT

Run: 1 for 10
Pass: 4-of-13, 46 yards (3.54 avg.), INT
Total: 14 plays, 56 yards (4.00 avg.), INT

Run: 1 for 2
Pass: 4-of-6, 32 yards (5.33 avg.), INT
Total: 7 plays, 34 yards (4.86 avg.), INT

Run: 2 for 1 (0.50 avg.), TD


Drew Lock -- 64

Running Back
Ish Witter — 33
Larry Rountree — 31

Albert Okwuegbunam — 40
Kendall Blanton12
Alec Abeln4

Tight End
Kendall Blanton — 5
Albert Okwuegbunam — 1
Jason Reese -- 1

J’Mon Moore — 61
Emanuel Hall — 57
Johnathon Johnson — 46
Richaud Floyd — 13
Nate Brown6
Dominic Collins — 3
Albert Okwuegbunam — 3
Kendall Blanton — 2
Jason Reese — 2

Paul Adams64
Trystan Castillo — 64
Kevin Pendleton -- 64
Tre’Vour Simms -- 64
Yasir Durant — 56
Tyler Howell — 8


Marcell Frazier — 60
Jordan Harold — 37
Tre Williams — 33
Chris Turner18
Nate Anderson4

Terry Beckner -- 52
A.J. Logan -- 35
Walter Palmore -- 20
Kobie Whiteside — 19
Rashad Brandon — 16
Markell Utsey — 10
Marcell Frazier — 6
Tre Williams — 1

Rush End
Marcell Frazier -- 8
Jordan Harold — 2
Tre Williams — 2

Terez Hall — 82
Cale Garrett -- 72
Brandon Lee — 68
Eric Beisel -- 5

Joshuah Bledsoe — 14
Cam Hilton — 14

Adam Sparks — 80
DeMarkus Acy — 75
Jerod Alton -- 4
Logan Cheadle -- 3

Kaleb Prewett79
Anthony Sherrils — 68
Thomas Wilson12
Tavon Ross — 2
Ronnell Perkins — 1