The past few weeks, this spot has been saved for individual standouts and performances that are highlighted because of the lack of team success. This week is so much different, not just because Mizzou bested the defending national champions, but because this was a momentum swinging game in what is still a rebuilding year for Missouri.
- Here’s some love for the big boys up front on offense. This was by far the best game as a unit that the offensive line played so far this season, and it really helped the offense as a result of it. They opened up holes all day, and for the most part, kept Bazelak clean in the pocket. This was a hell of a response by the offensive line, and I’m looking forward to them keeping this momentum moving in the right direction.
- I’m just going to come out and say it: Connor Bazelak looked like a Drew Lock/Chase Daniel hybrid. Every throw seemed like it was on point. He made throws at every single level— short, intermediate, and deep. He made progressions, he made reads, and he didn’t flinch when going at future first round pick, Derek Stingley. I even liked how they had a couple of options that let him use his legs a little bit. Every drive there was a response, and every drive they moved down the field in such a methodical way. I know LSU’s defense was really bad, but there are still a bunch of four and five star recruits in that secondary and it didn’t matter.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to watch him grow during his next three (yes, three) years at Mizzou.
- The receiving corps had pretty low expectations with the news that Missouri would be without three of the top receivers in Chism, Hazelton, and Gicinto due to COVID-related reasons. There was absolutely no drop-off whatsoever, and honestly they were probably a net positive. They finished the day with no drops, and four different wide receivers made at least four catches. I don’t know what the plan is going forward, but at least it shows that there is some really interesting depth on this roster at receiver.
- The defensive line makes the good column. They were undermanned at defensive tackle, losing three to COVID/injury, and yet they limited the run game after getting gashed last week at Tennessee. They made Myles Brennan very uncomfortable at times. He was hit five times, three of them by Trajan Jeffcoat... which brings me to my next point. Trajan Jeffcoat is an actual impact player for this team. He has been effective as a pass rusher, registering a sack in each of his first three games this season, and an additional six QB hits. He has been fantastic, and is actually tied for second in the entire SEC for sacks so far.
- I don’t care if he missed his first kick (he barely missed from 56), The Thiccer, Harrison Mevis, is going to be a weapon for years to come at Mizzou.
- Coach Drinkwitz did a good job of getting his guys prepared to play, and really helping them embrace the “next man up” mantra. Not only that, but as a play caller, he was almost perfect. He did such a good job of using all of his misdirection and motion to confuse the LSU defense and every time LSU made an adjustment to take something away, he had a counter for it. It was really fun to watch.
If this is what an Eli Drinkwitz offense looks like, sign me up.
Terrace Marshall Jr. and Arik Gilbert really highlighted the difference in what elite, five-star talent looks like when going against even good three star players. Those two looked like they could play on Sunday right this second. They combined for 17 catches, 332 yards and 4 touchdowns. Marshall won every which way against the Mizzou secondary for most of this game. Gilbert, on a few catches, was actually covered well, but was just so physically imposing that it didn’t matter.
Despite the win, there was a good portion of the game that the secondary was helpless. There were breakdowns that can and will be corrected, but it was kind of a reminder to me of the talent gap between programs like LSU and Missouri, and the level of where Mizzou needs to recruit to compete for conference championships.
Imagine the score of this game if Mizzou hadn’t turned the ball over three times in this game.
Mizzou had officially four fumbles this game and lost three, but it felt like they were putting the ball on the ground a ridiculous amount for a stretch. Luckily they overcame it, but that is exactly what it was. Luck. You can’t lose the turnover battle by three and expect to win consistently.
I’m sure ball security and leverage will be addressed this week at practice. Better to learn that lesson after a win though, right?
Also, I wasn’t crazy about that fake punt, but I did like the idea of going for it.