The Missouri Tigers’ defense once again came up big Saturday night and delivered another win in a season that wasn’t supposed to feature many of those.
This Tiger defense isn’t flashy. There’s no surefire first round picks, and heck, Nick Bolton is the best player and will play on Sundays, but even he still seems to go about his business very quietly.
On the season, the Tigers are surrendering 29.2 PPG and 376 YDs of offense. They’ve had games where they surrender 35+ points four times this year in only 6 games, yet that can be so misleading as to what this defense has shown Tiger Nation this year.
In each of Mizzou’s victories in this first season with Eli Drinkwitz at the helm, you can pinpoint the defense as a clear reason why. They stopped LSU at 1st and Goal from the 1 YD line to win and had put on a defensive masterclass against Kentucky that left the Wildcats stunned. Last night was more of the same.
About four minutes into the 2nd quarter, Mizzou’s offense disappeared, and they had to lean on the defense once again. South Carolina didn’t go down easy either; they turned to a backup QB who provided a momentary spark, but once again the Tiger defense delivered.
I think that after the LSU game, the offense got a lot of attention, and rightly so. However, the defensive stand was more indicative of what makes this Missouri team so likable. Last night was no different. There were moments in the game where punts went back and forth, and it was easy to find the game boring. But to have little to no help from the offense and play defense the way the Tigers did last night? It was mpressive and needs to be appreciated.
Next week, the Tigers’ defense will have another chance. They match up very similarly with Arkansas, and both lean on their defenses heavily. I think it will come down to which side refuses to lose more. Arkansas has gotten the headlines this year as they have returned to respectability, but I think Mizzou is just as good (if not better) and seems to be falling under the radar.
Tiger fans should be confident going into the Battle Line Rivalry because one thing is for sure, the 2020 Mizzou Tigers have a defense you can lean on.