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The Good, Bad and Ugly: Mississippi State

Examining everything good, bad and ugly about Missouri’s loss to Mississippi State.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The Good:

  • Larry Rountree III continued to be Larry Rountree. He was effective on the ground once again, and also continued being the touchdown machine that he is. We’ve said it plenty of times, but damn am I going to miss that guy.
  • Shawn Robinson really embodies what it means to be a “team first guy”. He could’ve opted out, could’ve left the team after he was demoted to third string, but he didn’t. Not only did he stick it out, but he contributed on Saturday. He was all over the stat sheet, and actually came away with an interception. (He could’ve had two!) In a game that was such a disappointment, this was a bright spot. It makes me believe in the culture of this team going forward.
  • No sacks for our guy Trajan Jeffcoat, (he finishes T-2nd in the SEC in Sacks) but Isaiah McGuire finished with 2.0 sacks against Mississippi State. Both guys should be back next year, which makes that D-Line all the more intriguing.
  • Honestly, thank you to the guys on this football team. These guys have had a weird season, and this isn’t what anyone thought the season would be at the outset of 2020. Yet here we are, at the end of the season, barely with the numbers to compete, and these guys are grinding. They have laid a foundation, and have given us so many moments to be proud of over this year. If this program is experiencing the success we all envision in the future, this odd, pandemic version of a season will be remembered as the season that started it all off.
  • I’ll get into the defense in a second, but they did force three turnovers. I’ll take that 10 times out of 10.
NCAA Football: Missouri at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The Bad:

Four turnovers in a game is hard to overcome. It’s even harder when two of those turnovers result in 14 points. This team has avoided the turnovers for the most part this season, but on Saturday it just couldn’t be avoided. The Mississippi State defense made a few plays, and you just have to tip your cap to them for doing so.

The defense wasn’t great, but the circumstances really did impact this defense. With a secondary that had the amount of freshmen playing that Missouri does, it definitely wasn’t going to be an easy task. Subtract one of those freshman starting at corner, and you now have WR’s taking snaps at corner. Oh, and QB’s playing safety. I admit that Will Rodgers looked pretty good and made some nice throws, but the personnel issues for Missouri made his job pretty easy on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The Ugly:

I hate targeting. I hate it when it’s called against Missouri players, and I hate when it’s called against opposing teams. Both teams had players ejected for targeting, and I thought both calls were pretty bad. Did their head/facemask graze the tackled player? Maybe. But these are split second plays where your target is moving throughout the play. I get calling a flag, but the ejections go way too far. This is something that the SEC, and college football in general, needs to address this offseason. We’re getting to the point where it is almost impossible to play defense.

The rule, while having good intentions, has been a badly implemented rule and hasn’t legislated violent hits out of the game, which was the original intention. So, Commissioner Sankey, if you wanna earn some goodwill with pretty much every school in the conference, you’ll make the targeting rule a priority in the offseason.

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama at Florida Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

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