Saturday night was supposed to be one of the most anticipated games of the season. It’s pretty incredible how quickly things can change.
Losing to Georgia on the road is totally fine. Everybody that is reasonable can understand that. Falling to 5-4 on the season, especially this season, however, is not. That’s perfectly understandable, too.
Playing their first ranked team all year, the No. 6 rated Bulldogs were obviously just too much for the Tigers as Missouri was completely overwhelmed, falling 27-0 in Athens on Saturday evening.
The defense did everything they could— that wasn’t the problem. The problem, once again, was that Mizzou got absolutely nothing from its offense. The scoreboard proves it. And to put it in perspective, this was Missouri’s first shutout loss since October 11th, 2014 against, you guessed it…Georgia.
For a team that just recently had 11 consecutive games of scoring 30 or more points, the offense has magically disappeared by scoring a combined 21 points during this three-game road trip.
We can pinpoint to a lot of things that have caused this offensive meltdown, but Albert Okwuegbunam’s regression is definitely a huge part of it. Where in the heck has he been? Seriously... because he, the future NFL TE, only had six receptions for 40 yards during this road trip. And it goes well beyond that.
Through eight games this season, he has 22 receptions for 280 yards. In comparison, he had 29 receptions and 415 yards in nine games in 2017, then 43 receptions for 466 yards in nine games last season.
So with another abysmal performance, the offense right now is being compared to 2015 levels bad, and that is certainly an alarming issue.
I mean, come on... this was a team that just recently finished a perfect five game home stand when the offense looked to be, at least compared to this mess, firing on all cylinders.
After being 5-1 with everything on the table to play for, this team alarmingly looks like it has given up. That’s what’s frustrating, and the fan base certainly deserves better than witnessing this.
So, what exactly happened to this team? It’s really hard to fathom and honestly just bizarre. There’s just really no logical explanation to go from a nationally ranked team and atop of the SEC East to a laughing stock in just a matter of weeks. Yes, there’s a coaching issue. Yes, there’s a chemistry issue. Yes, there’s a leadership issue. Losing a leader like Cale Garrett for the season and Kelly Bryant not being healthy lately certainly doesn’t help, but it feels like there’s much more to it. Either way, there’s plenty of blame to go around.
With Missouri desperately searching for answers and the season starting to fall apart, what’s next?
To even match last regular season’s 8-4 record, Missouri now must win out, which will include a Top 10 Florida team coming to Columbia next week. After just being shutout, the Tigers now have to face a Gators team that has already shutout three opponents so far this season.
It was fun to actually think about, sure, even with back-to-back losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky, but the Tigers officially no longer control their own destiny in the SEC East.
Look, chances were already slim to begin with coming into Saturday night, but when Taylor Powell was announced as the starting quarterback over Kelly Bryant, there just wasn’t much hope for Missouri to pull off the upset and turn their season around.
Well, can Missouri still even turn their season around at this point? With three games remaining, the Tigers’ best-case scenario is finishing with an 8-4 record, and that would be actually be good for second place in the SEC East.
But good luck with that, because this is a team that certainly looks like it has checked out on the season. More importantly perhaps, the fan base is completely disinterested as well, and that’s a major problem for a season that had such high hopes and expectations. With what has taken place, there’s just no other scenario where Barry Odom can win this fan base back over, at least for this season.
Since the Homecoming win over Ole Miss and what transpired afterwards, the momentum for this season is all but over, and it only took three games. Faurot Field was sold out on October 12th, and it might be a ghost town on Saturday.
This was supposed to be a season for fans to remember. Oh and they still will, just for all of the wrong reasons. Sorry, but this season has been developing into a total disaster, and there’s no other way to put it.