WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME
IT’S ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL FRIDAY AND OUR BOYS IN BLACK AND GOLD ARE BACK AT IT TOMORROW AGAINST [checks notes] THE SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE REDHAWKS.
OK, enough with the all caps. My throat is getting sore. Before we get started in earnest, two thoughts.
- Southeast Missouri State’s abbreviated form is SEMO, but shouldn’t it be SEMOST?
- Our lead football beat writer Ryan Herrera is on quite a steak to start the Pregamin’ season. After being one of three challengers to emerge from the week one scrum, he bested his beat partner Sean MacKinnon and also his fellow Rock M Ryan to move onto Week 3. SOMEBODY STOP THIS MAN!
Want to relive last week in Hype Video form?
So Fresh and So Clean, Clean
Clean. Simple. Nothing too fancy. Just like the game they want to play against SEMO.
Visual and thematic syngery, FTW!
If You’re So Smart, Tell Me What’s Gonna Happen
- Dave Matter says SEMO(st?) is no pushover, but Missouri shouldn’t have too much trouble dispatching them.
- The Missourian offers an in-depth review of the Redhawks, but ultimately decides that Saturday should be a “cupcakewalk.”
- Alex Schiffer didn’t offer any predictions, but apparently Corey Fatony is a grad assistant at SEMO? Maybe he can kick a few just for fun.
We all feel a little better after the Tigers backed a dump truck over West Virginia last week. But it’s hard to say how much we’ve really learned because WVU is, uh, really bad? Did the week two win do anything to reset your expectations following Wyoming?
Brandon Kiley, Lead Football Writer: It didn’t reset my expectations because my expectations really didn’t change after the Wyoming loss. I know that may sound strange, but I’ve been consistent on this. Missouri’s game against Wyoming was a classic test case in the importance of turnovers. The Tigers lost the turnover battle 3-0. That was the only formula for Wyoming to win, and they followed it to perfection.
Last week didn’t get me any more excited about the defense, or any more pessimistic about the offense. In some ways, it was a reflection of what we all expected the first two weeks would look like. Wyoming and West Virginia both came into the season with a Vegas win total hovering around five. They weren’t — and aren’t — good football teams. Mizzou, on the other hand, was and is a good football team. You can’t get this kind of analysis anywhere, you guys. This is exclusive at Rock M Nation.
In all seriousness, Missouri showed us last week what they’re capable of doing when they play their best. The defense is fast with playmakers at every level. The offense is loaded with talent, and if they put it all together they have the potential to be both explosive and efficient. Now it’s about doing so consistently.
Nate Edwards, Staff Football Analyst: Not really. I thought Wyoming was incredibly lucky to beat Missouri (and incredibly lucky to beat Texas State) and whipping a bad West Virginia team doesn’t change my expectation of a 9-win season. The margin of error has been removed, but the possibility is still there.
Ryan Herrera, Lead Football Beat Writer: I would like to start off my answers by proclaiming myself the King of Pregamin’. I’m currently on a two-week win streak with no signs of slowing down, (editor’s note: maybe that Natty Light does give you an edge) so don’t be surprised when you see me on next week’s Pregamin’ as well. But I digress: onto my first answer.
To be honest, the win didn’t reset my expectations because the loss didn’t really lessen my expectations all that much. Going onto my fifth season following the team, I’ve learned to be a critical follower of Mizzou. That being said, I’ve always pictured the 2019 version of the team as one that could win double-digit games. As of now, the only other game that seems like a sure loss on the schedule is the road matchup with Georgia. Sure, the Wyoming loss definitely left the Tigers’ with no margin for error, but this team can still be the 10-win team I think it is.
Playing blood donors like SEMO can be tedious, but there’s no doubt that winning football games by lots and lots of points is always enjoyable on some level. What’s your fondest memory of Missouri absolutely destroying an overmatched opponent?
Brandon Kiley: Is there any recent option other than Eastern Michigan in 2016? It was week two of Drew Lock’s first full season as the starter. He showed Mizzou fans what he was capable of by throwing for 450 yards and five touchdowns. The season went downhill from there, but that was the first time we really got to see what a Drew Lock-led team has the potential to do.
A lot of Lock’s legacy at Missouri is tied to destroying bad teams. That’s obviously a negative connotation, but man, was it fun to watch him sling it. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a prettier deep ball by a Mizzou quarterback. Lock to Emanuel Hall will forever go down as one of my favorite highlight reels to watch.
And that all started against Eastern Michigan in 2016.
Nate Edwards: Easily the Delaware State game in September 2016 where we set the team record for most points in a half (58), most points in a game (79), and even had the 4th most points scored in a single quarter (30).
Ryan Herrera: It’d have to be the second straight 50-17 win over Tennessee last season. (editor’s note: the prompt was dictated more towards FCS teams, but naming Tennessee is quite a flex, so we’ll let it slide.) (writer’s note: Tennessee was the definition of overmatched in that game, so I say it fits.)
The Tigers opened a can of whoopass (as the great Stone Cold Steve Austin would say) on the Volunteers in their own stadium. What made it even better is that Missouri did it to its true SEC rival in Tennessee. The shutout of Arkansas in last year’s Battle Line Rivalry game was cool too, but that “rivalry” has been shoved down our throats to the point that we resist even calling it a rivalry.
The rivalry between the Tigers and the Volunteers feels more organic, if only because the fan bases have bought into it more so than Tiger and Razorback fans. So watching Missouri stomp Tennessee into oblivion for the second year in a row provided a lot more happiness than most Mizzou football moments in my five years of fandom.
In what is essentially a scrimmage in uniforms, Missouri still has some tuning up to do before South Carolina comes to town. What specific areas of play would you like to see the Tigers work on against the Redhawks?
Brandon Kiley: I honestly don’t know how much Missouri can show us on Saturday that would change our opinion of the team. With that said, here’s what I’m looking for. I want to see the defense fly around the way they did last week. I want to see Larry Rountree get his swagger back. I want to see Albert O more involved and looking fully healthy again. I want to watch the safeties play fast and without thinking the way they did last week... and not the way they did in week one.
Most of all, I want to see Missouri dominate SEMO the way Missouri should dominate SEMO.
Nate Edwards: Deep throws down the field. Last week against West Virginia saw a few more, but I want to see Kelly Bryant connect on the deep routes, specifically to Jalen Knox and Kam Scott.
Ryan Herrera: The thing I want to see most from this game is some production from the return team. Missouri didn’t pick up a single yard on kick returns against West Virginia, but with only two opportunities the entire game, it wasn’t entirely the team’s fault. But on five Mountaineer punts, the Tigers didn’t record a single yard, either. Missouri was pretty awful returning the ball in 2018, and it’s shown little improvement so far. This game against SEMO should be the easiest game on the schedule, and with that, every unit on the team should have a field day. If the Tigers once again struggle in the return game, though, that’ll leave very little hope that the unit will produce once SEC play starts.
PICK ‘EM. Give us an over/under (67), a score prediction and an MVP pick.
Brandon Kiley: I’ll take the OVER 67. I think Missouri wins this game 51-17. I’ll go with Larry Rountree III as my MVP pick. He runs wild and reminds Missouri fans why everyone was so excited about him coming into the season.
Nate Edwards: In 3 games against FCS competition, the Odom regime has posted a point total of 79, 72, and 51. Now, those first two were with Josh Heupel and Drew Lock, so I feel like 51 is much more realistic expectation this year. If we score 52 and give up 14 that’s 66 (look at the state school math!) so I will go under. MVP will be Kelly Bryant, with some ridiculously efficient line of like 8-9, 198 yards, 2 TDs, 40 yards on the ground with another TD.
Ryan Herrera: As much as I want to say this offense is explosive enough to make it a 65-plus-point game, I don’t think Missouri runs up the score in the fourth quarter. So I’ll take the under, I’m calling a 54-6 win, and I’m going back to my Week 1 pick for MVP with Larry Rountree III.