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Barry Odom’s imprint on the defense looks pretty complete

Cale Garrett is a monster, and the defense has been outstanding now since cleaning up after Wyoming.

Troy v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Since Barry Odom was named head coach of the Missouri football team we’ve wondered what is the identity of Odom’s version of the Tigers?

In the early days there was this effort to utilize their best talent, namely Quarterback Drew Lock, and win through the air. There were mixed results. Even as recently as 2017, the Missouri offense was more high flying, and the defense was along for the ride.

Last year the defense ended up in the SP+ (formerly S&P+) top 25. But the scars of the last few years were still prevalent enough for many to think the defense wasn’t very good. Then came the Wyoming game, where the Cowboys used a handful of missed assignments by the Missouri defense, and scorched the Tigers with long runs on their way to an upset win. The Cowboys lit up the Mizzou defense with 37 points.

Since that game — in four games since — the Mizzou defense has given up just 31 points. Seven of those points were on a 1-yard drive by South Carolina, after a Kelly Bryant interception. Mizzou’s defense has been dominant in preventing scores the last four games. They’ve also been adept at scoring.

The last four games, the Mizzou defense has scored five times for 35 points.

You read that right. The Missouri defense has outscored their opponents the last four games 35-31. Missouri has scored 164 points total, that means the offense and special teams are responsible for 129 points. But the defense are giving them on average about nine points per game to work with.

That’s a nice buffer.

According to our friend Bill Connelly, heading into the game yesterday, Missouri had the 7th best defense in SP+. Troy had the 32nd ranked offense in SP+. In theory, the Troy offense should’ve been a challenge. But if you remove their first drive from the game (and obviously you can’t selectively do that stuff but it’s fun to do anyway), this is what happened:

  • 12 drives
  • 6 punts
  • 2 INTs
  • a fumble
  • 4 three-and-outs
  • 1 Field Goal
  • 136 total yards

136 yards over 12 drives is just 11.3 yards per drive. That’s very good. This continues a trend for Barry Odom’s program, an upward one.

The beginning of his tenure was incredibly bumpy, but if this is the vision Odom has for the Missouri Tigers realized, you should feel pretty good about the hands they’re in. Now the trick is to sustain this level of excellence as the talent level starts to climb. With Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky on the slate, Missouri has three more games against teams they’re better than on both sides of the ball before the competition really steps up.

Now, the big question needs to be answered and that pertains to the health of Kelly Bryant’s left knee. With a healthy Bryant, Missouri is looking a lot like a top 10 or 15 team. Without him, they’re going to rely on Taylor Powell and a running game. Then you’d better hope that defense is truly elite.

The Stats via StatBroadcast:

stat broadcast box troy 2019
stat broadcast box troy 2019

Other SEC Scores:

  • Florida 24, Auburn 13
  • LSU 42, Utah State 6
  • Georgia 43, Tennessee 14
  • Ole Miss 31, Vanderbilt 6

Yesterday at Rock M Nation:

GameDay Links: