Playing an FCS team is as close to a guaranteed win as you can get, and Missouri proved that was the case tonight with a 50-0 win over SEMO in what was the 500th game played at Memorial Stadium. With the victory, Mizzou improved to 19-0 all time against FCS teams.
Let’s be honest, though. There isn’t a lot Missouri learned from this game, and that’s fine— maybe even a good thing. But hey, it does count as another win on the schedule, and now the Tigers are above .500 with a 2-1 record on the season.
My selections for Player(s) of the Game:
Offense: Larry Rountree III – 18 carries, 142 yards, 2 TDs
Defensive: Cale Garrett – Five total tackles and one interception for a pick-six
Finally, here are some takeaways from the (expected) win:
Getting off to fast starts is this team’s strength
We’re just three weeks into the season, but slow starts aren’t a problem for this Missouri team. Even in the Wyoming game, they jumped out to a 14-0 lead, and they led West Virginia 31-0 at the half. Tonight was no different, as the game was pretty much over from the get-go. This is something to build on, and if they can do this consistently week in and week out without letting their foot off the gas, they certainly can be a dangerous team.
Penalties are still an issue
Missouri penalty yards: 79— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) September 15, 2019
SEMO rushing yards: 40
SEMO passing yards: 54
After committing 10 penalties for 100 yards in last week’s 38-7 win over West Virginia, Missouri didn’t seem to address those issues against SEMO. In this contest, they came away with nine penalties for 79 yards. Not great. The talent differential is obvious when playing games like these, but the more superior team still needs to play disciplined football. Missouri didn’t do that tonight often enough, and will need to fix it soon. It hasn’t really mattered results-wise these last two weeks, but when the competition improves, you can’t be giving away free yardage.
Linebackers have been creating the turnovers
Missouri got back on the right track against West Virginia with a positive-three turnover differential (thanks, Nick Bolton). Cale Garrett followed that up tonight with a pick-six of his own. Takeaways = victories, y’all.
The starters played way more than they needed to
Much of the first string was still in this game by midway through the third quarter with a 40-0 lead, and I wasn’t sure why. In a game like this, there’s really no need to risk anything. You can even make an argument that the starters didn’t need to play this one at all. The one thing you hope to avoid in games against significantly weaker opponents is injuries, and unfortunately, we were not immune to this. Left tackle Yasir Durant ended up leaving the game in the third quarter with a neck injury. (editor’s note: Durant’s removal was precautionary, Coach Odom later said in the post-game press conference)
Attendance hasn’t been bad
Considering the disappointing loss to Wyoming, the first two games at Faurot Field have actually had respectable attendance numbers: 51,215 and 56,620, respectfully – so kudos to Mizzou fans. The fan buy-in may be increasing after the team’s dominating performance against the Mountaineers, despite facing an FCS opponent. (editor’s note: of course, game time and the opponent’s proximity could also be a factor for spiked numbers) There is still plenty of excitement to be had for this season, but to keep this fan base really interested, a win over South Carolina will be vital.
Next up— the Tigers’ season gets really fun with conference play starting next Saturday. What better way to start things off than with a crucial, crucial game. Almost everybody expected this team to be 3-0 heading into the South Carolina game, and guess what—they’re not. Yes, that is still a huge disappointment, but the Wyoming game wasn’t going to make or break Missouri’s season. South Carolina very well could. It all gets going next week.