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The Good, Bad and Ugly: South Carolina

Examining everything that was good, bad and ugly in the win against South Carolina.

NCAA Football: Missouri at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The Good:

  • Nick Bolton remains the best player on the defense, and week by week he’s proving himself to be a blue chip NFL prospect. He flew around the ball making tackles behind the line of scrimmage while chasing tacklers from behind, too. Bolton has also taken another role as a pass rusher for this defense, and he does a pretty good job of creating pressure from his spot at inside linebacker. He’s been a pest all season for other teams, but he looked especially explosive this week.
  • The interior offensive line was a pleasant surprise. I thought Luke Griffin did a decent job in his first start ever, and the duo of Case Cook and Mike Maietti was solid as usual. The tackles struggled somewhat, but were serviceable. I’m hoping that these guys taking some of their lumps early in the season against some elite competition will benefit them down the stretch against teams that just don’t have the same level of competition.
  • A Keke Chism sighting! It was a slugfest of a game, but Chism was the leading receiver for the Tigers on Saturday and made at least a couple of catches for first downs. With the receiver position getting suddenly thin, getting Chism going is not just a good thing, but a great thing for this Tiger offense.
NCAA Football: Kentucky at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
  • How about some love for the special teams? Grant McKinniss pinned South Carolina inside of their own one yard line, not once, but twice! Shout out to him, as well as the coverage team, for getting down there. Those kinds of plays flip the field and also flip the game.
  • Every week that I see this Missouri defense, I get a little bit more excited for the development of Martez Manuel. He’s proving to be that hybrid safety that every defense nowadays is looking for. He was solid in coverage and was flying down into the box to stop the run. He also had two sacks on the day. The sophomore was all over the field and was a reminder of how special he could be by the end of his time at Missouri.
  • That’s it, it’s time to start the campaign: #FreeTauskieDove
NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Bad:

  • Everyone felt the change in momentum for South Carolina when the put their freshman QB, Luke Doty, in the game. He provided a spark with his legs, and for a little while, the Tigers let him get a little bit of confidence by running all over the place. South Carolina’s single touchdown drive was penalty-aided, where defensive ends flew upfield and failed to keep their containment of the quarterback. This is fixable, but it almost came back to burn the Tigers at the end.
  • A tad too many penalties in this game for Missouri. Ennius Rakestraw, Jr had a couple (and a sack) and the offensive line had a couple as well. There were a few tick tack calls, but 7 penalties for 77 yards will hurt your chances of winning 10 out of 10 times. Gotta clean it up.

The Ugly:

I’m prefacing this by saying that I understand that not only was this offense probably a little rusty, but they were undermanned as well. I also understand that South Carolina’s offense wasn’t especially threatening. But in the second half, the Tiger offense was ugly. They finished the second half with only five first downs, and just one in the fourth quarter. They finished with 79 yards in the first half. That’s unacceptable.

I don’t think that this will necessarily be a long term issue for Missouri, but you can’t have your offense being that incredibly stagnant for an entire half and expect to win. At least not in the SEC you can’t.

Follow me on Twitter @iAirDry