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And then the rains came

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It’s Year 3 under Barry Odom. Shoudn’t Missouri be past games like this?

NCAA Football: Missouri at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Twenty-nine games into Barry Odom’s Missouri tenure, and the embattled coach is closer to King Sisyphus than Gary Pinkel.

Another top-of-the-hill moment eluded Odom in a rain-soaked 37-35 loss to South Carolina on Saturday; instead the boulder rolled back down.

South Carolina — by no means an elite team, but a quality one — provided Odom and Missouri with an opportunity to finally notch another solid win. So far, these twenty-nine games have been marked by empty wins and crushing losses. Outside of a stunning come-from-behind win in the 2016 finale against a bowl-eligible Arkansas squad, Missouri has failed to beat any other opponent with a winning record.

The Gamecocks most likely will be a bowl team by the end of 2018. They were without starting quarterback Jake Bentley — a quality player, if not yet the star many envisioned after his freshman year. Missouri out-gained the Gamecocks by over 100 yards; it ran for 286 yards.

Missouri led by nine at halftime, but that’s more of an indictment of squandered chances in the red-zone than anything. But with that whole picture painted, this should have been a game that the Tigers won, if not comfortably.

Instead, Missouri was undone by perhaps the most disastrous quarter in program history, one that saw South Carolina score 17 unanswered points with two red-zone trips netting zero points. It was undone — again — by miscommunication, as that was the reason for Tucker McCann’s ill-fated onside kick attempt.

At halftime, Odom said McCann “mis-hit” the ball. After the game, Odom and McCann clarified:

But there’s been far too many moments like this under Odom, especially in key situations and in key games. Entering Saturday as the least-penalized team in the SEC, Missouri had four personal foul penalties. While some were off-setting, a few came at critical moments as Missouri was staggering in the second half.

If there’s a Patient Zero for Missouri’s implosion, look no further than Damerea Crockett’s 70-yard touchdown run-that-wasn’t. Instead of a ten-point lead, Missouri ended with no points on that drive; on the next offensive possession, Drew Lock threw a disastrous pick-six.

In the second half, Lock went 3-of-14 for 20 yards and two interceptions.

After the game, rain-soaked and defeated, Barry Odom met with the press. This is about as telling as anything from Saturday:

In the first half, it didn’t look like the game would turn out this way.

And then the rains came, and the boulder — getting so close to the top of the hill for Barry Odom — rolled all the way back down.