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Missouri-Missouri State: Rotating receivers, tandem tight ends, and YAC!

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Tigers receivers made catches against the Bears...then kept going...and going...and going...

NCAA Football: Missouri State at Missouri
J’Mon Moore did much more work with the ball in his hands Saturday than as it was coming toward him.
Denny Medley-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’ 72-43 win over Missouri State 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.

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

Takeaways

  • For as much credit as Drew Lock is getting for his record-breaking game — and he should — the receivers did their fair share of work as well. Missouri got 60.3 percent of its passing yards after the catch — 314 on 21 catches, or 15 yards after the catch per catch.
  • J’Mon Moore (31.0 per), Albert Okwuegbunam (17.5), Johnathon Johnson (15.8), Kendall Blanton and Emanuel Hall (11.0) all averaged more than 10 yards after the catch per catch. That’s some fancy running.
  • Missouri State’s offense moved very slowly, so Missouri’s defense didn’t have to worry that much about getting gassed. The Tigers did, however, have to worry about getting fooled by the Bears’ pre-snap motion. And boy, did they. Missouri gave up 180 yards on 20 plays in the first half in which Missouri State deployed pre-snap motion, including touchdown runs of 75 and 34 yards by Calan Crowder.
  • In the second half, Missouri clamped down on motion plays...but Missouri State also stopped deploying them, dipping from 52.6 percent of plays in the first half to 30.6 percent in the second. Perhaps that’s because the Tigers only let up 1.45 yards a play on 11 motion plays in the second half.
  • Halftime adjustment? Or Missouri State abandoning something that was working too soon?
  • Like last year, Josh Heupel appears to be devoted to using tight ends often and in a variety of ways. Missouri used at least one tight end on all 75 of its offensive plays in the opener, 44 percent attached to the line, 39 percent in the backfield and 17 percent split wide.
  • Also like last year: the 3-0-2 is the Tigers’ heavy run set (69.0/31.0), the 4-0-1 is their heavy pass set (15.4/84.6), and the 3-1-1 is their balanced set (54.5/45.5). You’d hope they can vary it up a little more when going against tougher defenses.
  • After getting the bad end of a 70/30 split last year, the nickel is making a resurgence with Kaleb Prewett. The Tigers lined up in it 75 percent of the time against the Bears, with Prewett taking all but three snaps and Joshuah Bledsoe taking the other three in garbage time.
  • Missouri also unveiled a Dime set with Anthony Hines and Cam Hilton subbing in as the extra defensive backs. It was out there for two plays: Crowder’s aforementioned 75-yard touchdown run and Malik Earl’s 89-yard touchdown catch.
  • 82 yards a play. Woof.
  • The Tigers ran 17 plays with an actual linebacker at that third linebacker spot and netted two turnovers and a 3.06 yard-per-play average. Not too shabby.
  • Damarea Crockett enjoyed a 51-27-23 rep advantage over Ish Witter and Larry Rountree (with no Nate Strong...) overall and a 54-29-17 advantage with the first-team offense in. Might have been even more lopsided, too, were he not taken out for a little after that (stupid) celebration call and his fumble.
  • You know I’m obsessed with tight ends, right? Good. Let’s move on. Even though Jason Reese was the listed starter, Kendall Blanton actually started and logged the most snaps at 35, to Albert Okwuegbunam’s 26 and Reese’s 16. Blanton’s attached/backfield/wideout splits were 43/34/23; Okwuegbunam’s were 42/46/12; and Reese’s were 44/31/25.
  • So Blanton and Reese were used approximately the same, but Okwuegbunam was used much more extensively in the backfield.
  • Another interesting tight end wrinkle, if you’ll indulge me. On a 3rd-and-10 from the 11, Missouri trotted out Reese and Okwuegbunam wide (in addition to Moore) and Blanton attached to the line. It went for an 11-yard touchdown strike to Reese. An intriguing red zone look, no?
  • A lot of subbing with the receivers in this game, with Hall and Richaud Floyd actually playing more than the “starter” they were playing behind. Part of that was the blowout, yes, but the backups were subbing in pretty regularly throughout the game. It looks like Missouri could want to go to war with six guys who will play pretty regularly every week.
  • On the line, too, Adam Ploudre and Yasir Durant saw meaningful series in the regular flow of the offense. Ploudre came in at left guard and Kevin Pendleton shifted to right (or, sometimes, Tre’Vour Simms stayed there), and Durant came in at left tackle to spell Tyler Howell.
  • So it would appear that those two backups may be the closest to their starters right now on the line?
  • Trystan Castillo is the rather unlikely iron horse this week, playing 74 of 75 offensive snaps.
  • Jordan Harold (89 percent) and Marcell Frazier (76) played an obscene amount of snaps for defensive ends, especially in an opener against an FCS team. But the toll wasn’t that bad on them because of Missouri State’s lack of pace.
  • Chris Turner subbed in for both of them, which to me means that Missouri only trusts three ends in the regular state of play right now. Not that great.
  • The tackles were a jumble, with Terry Beckner’s 47 percent of the snaps leading the way. Then Rashad Brandon (who had a monster game, by the way) and Kobie Whiteside played 42 percent each, Markell Utsey played 34 percent, and Walter Palmore played 32 percent.
  • That spot should continue to be a proving ground with those five, one would assume, until A.J. Logan gets back. And maybe even after...
  • Terez Hall (70-30) and Cale Garrett (65-35) saw the lion’s share of snaps over their “OR” starters Joey Burkett and Eric Beisel. You’d expect that to continue at about the same pace, unless Burkett or Beisel makes a significant move.
  • DeMarkus Acy and Logan Cheadle saw all the cornerback snaps until they were both abruptly pulled in the middle of series and gave way to freshmen. Maybe they sustained little bumps and bruises and the coaches didn’t want to push it? The plays before they were pulled weren’t egregious coverage bursts or anything.
  • Jordan Ulmer got relieved for three series by Hilton, and may have had more on the game plan before Hilton’s ejection in the second half. Hines spelled Anthony Sherrils for a play here or there before getting a garbage-time series to himself. Ronnell Perkins and Thomas Wilson were nowhere to be found on defense.
  • If you want a deeper look into the numbers, keep reading...

Missouri Offense Yards After Catch
Johnathon Johnson: 5 for 79 (15.8 per)
J’Mon Moore: 4 for 124 (31.0 per)
Albert Okwuegbunam: 2 for 35 (17.5 per)
Kendall Blanton: 2 for 22 (11.0 per)
Emanuel Hall: 2 for 22 (11.0 per)
Richaud Floyd: 2 for 17 (8.50 per)
Dominic Collins: 2 for 11 (5.50 per)
Dimetrios Mason: 1 for 4 (4.00 per)
Jason Reese: 1 for 0 (0.00 per)

Total: 21 for 314 (15.0 per)
% of Total Passing Yards: 60.3
—————

Missouri Defense Struggles with Pre-Snap Motion

1st Half
Run: 15 for 155 (10.3 avg.), 2 TD
Pass: 4-of-4, 26 yards (6.50 avg.), TD
Sack: 1 for -1
Total: 20 plays, 180 yards (9.00 avg.), 3 TD
% of Total Plays: 52.6

2nd Half
Run: 8 for 4 (0.50 avg.), TD, fumble lost
Pass: 2-of-3, 12 yards (4.00 avg.)
Total: 11 plays, 16 yards (1.45 avg.), TD, fumble lost
% of Total Plays: 30.6


Offensive Set Success

3-WR/1-TE/1-RB
Run: 18 for 86 (4.78 avg.), 3 TD, fumble lost
Pass: 9-of-15, 297 yards (19.8 avg.), 4 TD
Total: 33 plays, 383 yards (11.6 avg.), 7 TD, fumble lost

3-WR/2-RB
Run: 20 for 199 (9.95 avg.)
Pass: 5-of-8, 112 yards (14.0 avg.), 2 TD, INT
Sack: 1 for -6
Total: 29 plays, 305 yards (10.5 avg.), 2 TD, INT

4-WR/1-RB
Run: 2 for 15 (7.50 avg.)
Pass: 7-of-11, 112 yards (10.2 avg.), TD
Total: 13 plays, 127 yards (9.77 avg.), TD
—————

Defensive Set Success

Nickel
Run: 26 for 78 (3.00 avg.), 2 TD
Pass: 18-of-27, 213 yards (7.89 avg.), TD
Sack: 2 for -15 (-7.50 avg.)
Total: 55 plays, 276 yards (5.02 avg.), 3 TD

4-3
Run: 7 for 12 (1.71 avg.), TD, fumble recovery
Pass: 3-of-4, 41 yards (10.3 avg.)
Sack: 2 for -13 (-6.50 avg.)
Total: 13 plays, 40 yards (3.08 avg.), TD, fumble recovery

3-4
Run: 1 for 2
Pass: 2-of-3, 10 yards (3.33 avg.), INT
Total: 4 plays, 12 yards (3.00 avg.), INT

Dime
Run: 1 for 75, TD
Pass: 1-of-1, 89 yards, TD
Total: 2 plays, 164 yards (82.0 avg.), 2 TD


Offense

Quarterback
Drew Lock -- 70
Jack Lowary -- 5

Running Back
Damarea Crockett -- 38
Ish Witter -- 20
Larry Rountree — 17

H-Back
Kendall Blanton — 12
Albert Okwuegbunam — 12
Jason Reese -- 5

Tight End
Kendall Blanton — 15
Albert Okwuegbunam — 11
Jason Reese — 7

Wide Receiver
Emanuel Hall — 48
J’Mon Moore -- 38
Richaud Floyd — 37
Dominic Collins -- 32
Johnathon Johnson — 32
Dimetrios Mason -- 21
Kendall Blanton -- 8
Daniel Ellinger — 5
Steven Spadarotto — 5
Nate Brown 4
Jason Reese — 4
Albert Okwuegbunam — 3
Cameren Rivers — 1

Line
Trystan Castillo — 74
Paul Adams70
Kevin Pendleton — 60
Tre’Vour Simms — 57
Tyler Howell — 47
Yasir Durant — 32
Adam Ploudre — 31
Alec Abeln1
Samson Bailey — 1
Jonah Dubinski — 1
AJ Harris — 1


Defense

End
Jordan Harold — 55
Marcell Frazier — 46
Chris Turner14
Nate Anderson — 6
Tre Williams — 3

Tackle
Terry Beckner -- 35
Rashad Brandon — 31
Kobie Whiteside — 31
Markell Utsey — 25
Walter Palmore — 24

Rush End
Jordan Harold — 11
Marcell Frazier — 10
Chris Turner3

Linebacker
Terez Hall — 50
Cale Garrett -- 44
Eric Beisel -- 24
Joey Burkett — 21
Brandon Lee17
Jamal Brooks — 6
Jacob Trump — 3

Nickelback
Kaleb Prewett — 52
Joshuah Bledsoe — 3
Cam Hilton — 2
Anthony Hines — 2

Cornerback
DeMarkus Acy -- 62
Logan Cheadle -- 48
Adam Sparks — 26
Jerod Alton12

Safety
Anthony Sherrils — 67
Jordan Ulmer — 60
Cam Hilton — 14
Anthony Hines — 7