Two weeks ago, against the South Carolina Gamecocks, Barry Odom won an SEC opener for the first time in his career. Saturday was another first, as Odom won his first game coming off a bye week, beating Troy 42-10 to finish the non-conference portion of the season.
It’s another monkey off Missouri’s back, and the Tigers have moved to 4-1 on the season heading into next week’s Homecoming tilt against Ole Miss, the finale of their five-game home stand.
My offensive player of the game: Kelly Bryant – 12/19, 221 yards, 3 TDs
My defensive player of the game: Cale Garrett – Five total tackles, two interceptions with a pick-six
On the injury front, everyone was concerned with what would happen to Kelly Bryant, and rightfully so.
Kelly Bryant just threw a TD to put Mizzou up 42-7 on Troy and this happened to his left knee as he got hit late.— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) October 5, 2019
He’s gone to the locker room. pic.twitter.com/wljIgprTdE
Late Sunday night, though, Missouri got some positive news on the Bryant front, and he is expected to return to full activity this week after suffering what (thankfully) only ended up being a knee sprain.
However, in a truly unfortunate and unexpected turn of events, Missouri received some devastating news about another player, this time on the defensive side. Senior linebacker Cale Garrett has been ruled out indefinitely with a pectoral tendon injury and is expected to miss the rest of the season. He will have surgery on Tuesday, according to the team release.
Obviously, this is just a brutal blow for Garrett, who has been putting up career-numbers that many considered to be SEC Defensive Player of the Year and All-American worthy. To end a senior season like this would just be incredibly heartbreaking.
As for the Missouri defense, this is going to be a tough pill to swallow. Not only is it going to be extremely difficult to replace Garrett’s production on the field, but his character and leadership may be what’s missed most. Barry Odom called Garrett “the heart and soul of our team” after Saturday’s win.
For now, here are some key takeaways from this victory itself:
This defense has been lights out
Coming into this game, Troy came in ranked No. 15 in the country with 40.8 points per game, but Missouri held them to just 10 points. Again, the turnovers were the biggest story. With a positive three turnover differential on Saturday, Missouri’s turnover margin is plus-7 (10-3) over the last four games. Nick Bolton and Cale Garrett have contributed to six of Missouri’s 10 takeaways, and the Tigers currently lead the country with five defensive touchdowns on the season.
Takeaways = victories, y’all.
Missouri’s best offense has been their defense lately, and we’ll be in wait-and-see mode to find out just how much the Garrett injury impacts the Tigers’ performance going forward. It’s time for some of the other guys to step up.
Missouri continues their dominating play
Troy scored a touchdown on their opening drive and Missouri allowed their first score in the first quarter all season. After that, Mizzou took care of business— and they did it in convincing fashion with 42 unanswered points. In the midst of their current four-game winning streak, the Tigers have outscored their opponents a combined 164-31. And for the 10th consecutive game, Missouri has scored 30 or more points, trailing only Oklahoma for the longest such streak in the country.
This is a win that deserves some credit
Playing a team like Troy after a bye week was beneficial, but Missouri did exactly what they needed to do in this game. This wasn’t the same Troy team that beat LSU in 2017 and Nebraska last season, but Missouri took care of business, and that’s what good teams do in a situation like this. After the season-opening loss to Wyoming, these Tigers look 100% focused week-in and week-out, and they aren’t overlooking anybody. They are starting to show their true colors (stripes?), and Barry Odom deserves credit for this type of response.
Next up is a true test- how will the Tigers respond after the season-ending injury to Garrett?
Barry Odom has been here before. He and this Missouri team are used to battling adversity. This will just be another challenge that awaits.
As of right now though, Missouri is getting hot at the right time and playing their best football, living up to everyone’s expectations. The Tigers are 18-7 in their last 25 games and have won six straight at home dating back to last season. This is good to see, and things will only get better if they win their Homecoming game Saturday against Ole Miss.
Next week marks the halfway point of the season, and anything less than 5-1 will be a major disappointment.
It’s time to win for Cale Garrett.