As you know at this point, Missouri found a way to go on the road and beat a solid South Carolina team. There are many reasons that they were able to make that happen. Some may point to the improvement in quarterback play from Brady Cook. Some may point to the offensive line having their best overall game of the season. Some may even point to Dominic Lovett being literally uncoverable. All of those would be true and would be fair answers.
However, I would point towards the front six of Missouri’s defense for forcing South Carolina’s offense into being a one dimensional unit and completely dominating the line of scrimmage up front.
In All Aspects
In plays like this, you see an initial surge of penetration come from the right side of the defensive line, as well as the backside defensive end #9 Isaiah McGuire, chasing the pulling guard and tackle to make the play. Exactly how you would want to see a power read defended.
It’s not just the defensive line, though. Those safeties — Charleston, Carnell, Manuel — came down into the box to provide support and were a large part of disrupting South Carolina’s offense, too.
Here, on a third and long, you see Joseph Charleston slide down from a high safety look into the middle of the field and eventually loop around the defensive end.
Since South Carolina is an empty formation and has only a five man protection scheme (to block five defenders), this presents a problem for the offensive line, who will now have to shift to a one-on-one scheme all across the board. That check is obviously not communicated down the line, as Charleston blitzes through untouched, disrupts the play and gets South Carolina in a punting situation.
This kind of creativity on defense was seen all throughout the game. There were multiple blitzes coming from multiple different players and different spots on the field and you could tell that it was really impacting Rattler.
Here again, you see five men near the line of scrimmage, and they’re looking like a blitz is on the way. Instead of being in an empty package like they were last time, South Carolina leaves a running back in to help pass protect. This makes it a hypothetical six on five blocking scheme. However, one of those men who are near the line of scrimmage (#13 Daylan Carnell) drops out into coverage and creates a last second conflict for the offensive line.
Even with the running back chipping the defensive end, Missouri is still able to get consistent pressure with just four rushers. This was a major key all game, as it allowed them to make Rattler uncomfortable using just four rushers while dropping 7 into coverage.
For all of this game and for most of this season, the Missouri defense brought it. Coach Blake Baker had a nice package of exotic blitzes to confuse the quarterback and the offense as a whole. The defensive front executed the game plan to a ‘T’ as well.
Don’t believe me?
Ask South Carolina QB, Spencer Rattler:
Spencer Rattler’s comments after the Missouri game are pretty alarming for the coaching staff:— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) October 30, 2022
"I didn't feel like we had a good idea of knowing what to do.
“I’d say that’s what we need to get better at, is just preparing and knowing what to do.” pic.twitter.com/q2FwmitRQm