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Missouri vs. Purdue: Bad. Just Bad.

Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Missouri
Missouri’s season is falling into a predictable rhythm, like the persistent drumbeat of footsteps accompanying Anthony Sherrils as he sprints across the field to try and clean up someone’s broken coverage.
Jay Biggerstaff-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’ 35-3 loss to Purdue 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...


  • Purdue spent the majority of its time on defense with six men in the box. That is, spreading its secondary out deep and wide and daring Missouri to beat them with the run.
  • The Tigers couldn’t: They ran for 41 yards on 12 carries (3.42 per) with six Purdue defenders in the box. Not only that, but they were infinitely more inept through the air, completing only 3-of-15 passes for 18 yards.
  • This next point comes back to some of that predictability in play-calling we’ve discussed here before, and a bit of a chicken and the egg argument. Purdue put seven players in the box 16 times against Missouri. Instead of using the relative scarcity of defensive backs to try to throw the ball, the Tigers instead opted to run 10 times out of 16 and only gained 2.2 yards a pop.
  • Now, here’s the wrinkle: in all 16 of those occasions, Missouri had only three wideouts and a tight end either attached or in the backfield. If Purdue were reading these snap count blogs ( know...doing any sort of statistical analysis for itself), it would have seen that the Tigers are a 62-38 run team with only three players split wide this year. And, indeed, against the Boilermakers, Missouri 64-36 distribution with three-wide, even though the run just wasn’t working.
  • So...did the Boilermakers, seeing those formations, already know the run was more than likely coming, so it made it easier to stop? That’s where a little more play-calling variety comes in handy.
  • In the past, Missouri has sucked teams into the box with that look by pounding them on the ground, then went over top down the seam to a tight end. But against Purdue, there was no pounding on the ground. And nary a tight end target.
  • Purdue was remarkably balanced on the ground, punishing each side of the Tigers’ defense in equal measure. The Boilermakers did have a little more success, though, outside the tackles (5.3 yards a carry) than inside (4.1). That seems to be consistent with the early book on Missouri’s defense. If you get them going sideways, you have a better chance of gashing them.
  • In the pass game, Purdue was merciless to the safeties and nickelbacks, hitting them up for 170 yards and a touchdown on 14-of-14 passing. That also confirms some early conventional wisdom about the Tigers. They have, like, six guys in the mix at the three safety/nickel slots, and none of them have especially differentiated themselves.
  • On defense, the Tigers unveiled a couple new wrinkles that we haven’t yet seen this season. First, a goal line set with five down linemen, four linebackers, a corner (DeMarkus Acy) and a safety (Tavon Ross, surprisingly enough). It managed to keep the Boilermakers out of the end zone for one play, then yielded a fourth-down, 1-yard touchdown swing pass.
  • Also: the 3-3-5, with all tackles across the front — Terry Beckner and Markell Utsey wide, flanking Kobie Whiteside. It gave up a first down before ceding way to the Nickel and Dime.
  • Which, by the way, were not so great against the Boilermakers. Missouri gave up 6.23 yards a play with fewer than three linebackers on the field, 4.82 yards a play with three or more. I thought Kaleb Prewett at the Sam full-time was the answer as well, but maybe it’s time to start exploring more Brandon Lee...
  • Welcome, Micah Wilson and Akial Byers to the snap count chart. May your stays be long and fruitful.
  • Byers saw 10 snaps in place of the injured Walter Palmore. While Beckner has a rightful stranglehold on one of those tackle spots, the other one still appears to be very much up for grabs between Utsey, Rashad Brandon and (to a lesser extent) Whiteside.
  • Damarea Crockett, hurt tailbone and all, still saw the most tailback snaps. Even if he did look less than himself and ineffective.
  • Jason Reese (20 snaps) and Albert Okwuegbunam (18) got first and second crack at the tight end snaps this week, even though they ended up being fairly even with Kendall Blanton (14) when all was said and done.
  • Still, targets for the tight ends all game. This is a far cry from #TightEndPassGame
  • Kind of alarming that, not only did Kevin Pendleton lose his starting spot to Adam Ploudre, but he and Tyler Howell each played less than 20 snaps. You could try to chalk that up to resting them in the second half of a blowout, but Trystan Castillo and the right side of the line remained intact.
  • I don’t see this optimistically, like two upstarts coming in an unseating good players on the left side. I see this as more of a sign of regression from two guys who seemed to be pretty money heading into this year. Unless there’s an injury explanation...though I haven’t seen one yet [Editor’s note: My hypothesis is an injury]
  • Emanuel Hall’s first-half injury meant beaucoup snaps for Dimetrios Mason, and the blowout meant a little more action for Dominic Collins. Strange, though, that even in such a blowout, Missouri didn’t go to the third guy at any of those positions. Almost like the Tigers only have six receivers they’re comfortable trotting out in games right now.
  • Adam Sparks got some good reps in for DeMarkus Acy in the second half. Missouri’s going to need some third corner to step up, and Sparks is probably their best shot, for now and the future. Didn’t get to tackle his brother, though.
  • Safety is still a mystery. Four main guys, none of them especially standoutish, trading reps as easily as one would trade a 1984 Biff Pocoroba Donruss card. Jordan Ulmer was here, now he’s disappeared. Thomas Wilson had fallen off the edge of the earth, now he’s the most-repped starter.
  • This isn’t one of those “good problems” coaches are always blathering on about. This is a lack of identity on the back end of the defense. How long will it be until they find one?

Missouri Offense w/ X Purdue Defenders in Box

4-5 Defenders
Run: 2 for 7 (3.50 avg.)
Pass: 5-of-7, 73 yards (10.4 avg.), INT
Total: 9 plays, 80 yards (8.89 avg.), INT

6 Defenders
Run: 12 for 41 (3.42 avg.)
Pass: 3-of-15, 17 yards (1.13 avg.)
Total: 27 plays, 58 yards (2.15 avg.)

7 Defenders
Run: 10 for 22 (2.20 avg.)
Pass: 4-of-6, 43 yards (7.17 avg.), INT
Total: 16 plays, 65 yards (4.06 avg.), INT


Purdue Running to...
...the Left: 22 for 103 (4.68 avg.)
...the Right: 22 for 101 (4.59 avg.), 2 TD

Off Tackle: 20 for 106 (5.30 avg.), TD
Between the Tackles: 24 for 98 (4.08 avg.), TD


Purdue Passing Against...
Cornerbacks: 9-of-12, 71 yards (5.92 avg.)
Safeties: 9-of-9, 117 yards (13.0 avg.), TD
Linebackers: 3-of-8, 31 yards (3.88 avg.), TD, INT
Nickelbacks: 5-of-5, 53 yards (10.6 avg.)


Offensive Set Success

Run: 13 for 39 (3.00 avg.)
Pass: 6-of-10, 57 yards (5.70 avg.)
Total: 23 plays, 96 yards (4.17 avg.)

Run: 3 for 7 (2.33 avg.)
Pass: 5-of-16, 73 yards (4.56 avg.), INT
Total: 19 plays, 80 yards (4.21 avg.), INT

Run: 8 for 24 (3.00 avg.)
Pass: 1-of-2, 3 yards (1.50 avg.), INT
Total: 10 plays, 27 yards (2.70 avg.), INT


Defensive Set Success

Run: 23 for 129 (5.61 avg.), 2 TD
Pass: 13-of-19, 167 yards (8.79 avg.), TD, INT
Sack: 2 for -12 (-6.00 avg.)
Total: 44 plays, 284 yards (6.45 avg.), 3 TD, INT

Run: 10 for 45 (4.50 avg.)
Pass: 7-of-8, 46 yards (5.75 avg.)
Total: 18 plays, 91 yards (5.06 avg.)

Run: 9 for 27 (3.00 avg.), TD
Pass: 1-of-1, 21 yards
Total: 10 plays, 48 yards (4.80 avg.), TD

Run: 1 for 7
Pass: 4-of-5, 37 yards (7.40 avg.)
Sack: 1 for -10
Total: 7 plays, 34 yards (4.86 avg.)

Run: 3 for 19 (6.33 avg.)

Run: 1 for 0
Pass: 1-of-1, 1 yard, TD
Total: 2 plays, 1 yard (0.50 avg.), TD

Drew Lock — 48
Micah Wilson — 4

Damarea Crockett — 24
Ish Witer — 21
Larry Rountree — 7

Albert Okwuegbunam — 13
Jason Reese -- 6
Kendall Blanton4

Tight End
Jason Reese — 5
Kendall Blanton — 4
Albert Okwuegbunam — 1

Wide Receiver
Dimetrios Mason — 47
J’Mon Moore -- 41
Johnathon Johnson30
Richaud Floyd — 22
Dominic Collins — 11
Jason Reese -- 9
Kendall Blanton — 6
Emanuel Hall — 5
Albert Okwuegbunam -- 4

Paul Adams52
Trystan Castillo — 52
Tre’Vour Simms -- 52
Adam Ploudre — 34
Yasir Durant — 33
Tyler Howell — 19
Kevin Pendleton — 18

Jordan Harold — 53
Marcell Frazier — 48
Nate Anderson13
Chris Turner6
Terry Beckner — 3
Markell Utsey — 3

Terry Beckner — 61
Markell Utsey -- 34
Rashad Brandon — 33
Kobie Whiteside — 25
Akial Byers — 10

Rush End
Marcell Frazier — 17
Jordan Harold -- 11
Chris Turner10
Nate Anderson — 4

Cale Garrett -- 56
Terez Hall — 47
Joey Burkett35
Brandon Lee — 33
Eric Beisel29

Kaleb Prewett — 47
Cam Hilton — 7
Anthony Sherrils7

Logan Cheadle82
DeMarkus Acy — 63
Adam Sparks — 21

Thomas Wilson54
Anthony Sherrils -- 47
Ronnell Perkins — 35
Cam Hilton — 28
Tavon Ross — 2