Missouri’s 2019 spring game was a low-scoring affair with only one touchdown — a Larry Rountree rush — through three quarters.
Still, there were some good performances and pleasant surprises from the 21-3 starters’ win over the reserves.
WR Barrett Bannister: 8 catches, 73 yards
Bannister surely got more reps because Johnathon Johnson was held out of action, but the walk-on-turned-starter impressed and was a top target — along with Johnathan Nance — for new quarterback Kelly Bryant.
Bannister looked especially adept at finding space when Bryant rolled out of the pocket. Johnson is still going to be the starter at the slot, but Bannister is more than just a feel-good story. He’s going to be a real asset for this team this season.
WR Johnathan Nance: 3 catches, 48 yards
Nance didn’t make an impact everytime he was on the field, but he had a run late in the first quarter in which he showed his chemistry with Bryant.
Nance’s best play was when he beat coverage deep and reeled in a perfectly-placed pass by Bryant for a 25-yard game. If you’re looking for who is going to replace Emanuel Hall as Missouri’s top receiver this year, Nance may be your best bet.
S Mason Pack: 7 tackles, 1 intercept, 1 pass break-up
Pack is a walk-on safety from Kickapoo, Mo., — and it’s unlikely he breaks into the rotation but, man, he was all over the field against the top offensive units. He nearly picked-off Bryant early in the game when the quarterback didn’t see Pack lurking over the middle, ready to jump a pass to a tight end.
He did pick off Taylor Powell on a deep, forced throw in the second half.
The redshirt junior was the defensive scout team player of the year in 2018; he’s going to make in impact on special teams this year.
QB Kelly Bryant: 12-for-17, 150 yards
It’s hard to gauge Bryant’s full performance because the totality of his skills aren’t evident in a situation like this. With no contact allowed for quarterbacks, there’s no real danger of him running, which certainly changes how the defense reacts to RPOs and play-action passes.
Still, his start was impressive, as he completed his first eight passes and was 10-for-11 for 133 yards before a lull before halftime. He forced two throws that could have been picked, but Bryant showed that Missouri’s offense is still in good hands.
S Ronnell Perkins: 3 tackles, 1 pass break-up
Perkins looked strong in coverage, and he also came up and made a huge, sound hit on Khmari Thompson to hold him to a short game. Perkins has drawn strong praise this spring and he’s playing a hybrid safety/linebacker role. He’s set himself up for a strong senior send-off.
WR Kam Scott: 3 catches, 73 yards, 1 TD
Scott had some early drops but came through in the end, catching passes from Taylor Powell. He had a great sideline grab where he somehow managed to tap his toe before going out of bounds; his final catch was a 31-yard touchdown in between two defenders; he managed to spin out of a tackle to score.
There were plenty of bright spots at receiver on Saturday; Bryant should have a plethora of weapons to utilize this season.