As a formality, below we’ll walk through what the stats can tell us about Missouri’s last game — it’s something we’ve been doing for going on 10 years here, and it’s something we’ll continue to do.
As a formality, I’ll also mention that Missouri’s stat profile has been updated and that — SURPRISE! — the Tigers’ odds of making a bowl went from solid to horrid last Saturday. After not only dropping a game they were projected to win, but also falling nearly 20 spots in the S&P+ rankings due to such a pathetic, dreary performance, their postseason odds plummeted from 62 percent to 27 percent.
They are still at 80-plus percent win probability against awful Idaho and UConn squads, but all those relative tossups I’ve been talking about? No more. They have no better than a 40 percent win probability in any other game. That puts their most likely record at either 4-8 (27 percent chance) or 5-7 (29 percent). There are now better odds of finishing 2-10 (three percent) than 8-4 (two percent).
This is indeed a formality, though, because there’s really no point in talking about the future tense, at least beyond this coming Saturday.
In five days, your Tigers get to tell us whether they’ve completely packed it in or whether they actually want to fight back a little after what I maintain was the team’s most inexcusably awful performance in nearly 20 years.
We can continue to talk about Drew Lock’s awful numbers against P5 competition — that trend certainly didn’t turn around on Saturday. We can talk about how Mizzou once again bombed out in the red zone, and we can talk about missed tackles ... we can talk about all of that. But it’s hard to focus on a couple of things going wrong when everything went wrong. And again, nothing else matters until we know whether the Tigers have packed it in. They looked like they had last Saturday, and if they continue to play like that, they’ll lose to Idaho too.
I do almost feel bad for Purdue. The Boilermakers showed up with a pretty intriguing game plan, and they were sharp and ready to go seize their first road win against a P5 team in quite a while.
Instead, they didn’t even have to move to page two of the game plan. They got their win, sure, but they didn’t really even have to fight for it. There’s got to be something unfulfilling about preparing for a 12-round fight and having your opponent lead with his chin and fall to the mat on the first punch you throw.
- Little Things (big plays, field position, special teams, etc.).
- The Little Thing du jour: finishing drives
- Run defense
- Pass efficiency
- Tight ends
Mizzou was so hapless in No. 1, 2, and 4 that we didn’t even get to see if No. 5 would matter. The Tigers’ defensive line actually came to play and did a decent job of limiting Purdue’s run effectiveness, but it didn’t matter because pass defense, run offense, pass offense, and (Corey Fatony aside) special teams were all so ridiculously in Purdue’s favor.
I wrote last week that David Blough is the “take what the defense gives you” QB in the Purdue stable, and Elijah Sindelar is more of the “make something happen” guy. Well, needless to say, when the defense is giving you plenty in the early going, you don’t need to make a damn thing happen. Blough just threw mostly short passes and watched them turn into intermediate gains.
Purdue kept running the ball early on even though it wasn’t going anywhere. They had nothing to fear on second-and-long.
Blough’s first nine passes:
- Second-and-9: 9-yard pass
- Second-and-10: 21-yard pass
- Second-and-9: 9-yard pass
- First-and-10: 12-yard pass
- Second-and-5: 0-yard pass
- Second-and-10: minus-1-yard pass
- Third-and-11: 17-yard pass
- First-and-10: INC!
- Second-and-21: 25-yard pass
That’s six passing downs among nine attempt. Blough on those passing downs: 6-for-6 for 80 yards and an 83 percent success rate. And after the one unsuccessful play in that batch — the loss on second-and-10 — he simply moved the chains on third down instead.
Mizzou’s offense, meanwhile, warrants no mention here. When the Tigers punted on fourth down and less than a yard on their first possession, that said all that needs to be said. Only one team came into this game ready to compete and win.
Fuller did have a 36-yard touchdown run, but otherwise Boilermaker backs combined to rush 36 times for just 99 yards. Terry Beckner Jr. was playing his heart out (I noticed him around the ball a lot even though he didn’t credit for many tackles), and the rest of the line more or less did its part.
Meanwhile, if Damarea Crockett was miles from 100 percent, as he looked, then he shouldn’t have been playing.
Needless to say, tight ends didn’t end up playing the role I expected them to.
For the second straight game, Thomas Wilson was strong. As I wrote earlier today, he, Sherrils, and Marcell Frazier were trying as hard as they could to provide leadership. You still need people to follow you, though.