♫ I’m So Sophisticated ♫
Ah, the old ham sandwich look. Mayo on both slices of bread with some mustard.
This... doesn’t work for me. I’ve always been an advocate of mostly white fits, and I’ve yet to be let down by the myriad of combinations. But from what I can remember this is the first time they’ve done a white-yellow-white triplet and it’s just too much. There’s not enough body or pop, and the script gets washed out in the bright colors.
We all have our bad days. It is unfortunate this one comes on senior day, though.
What’s On Tap?
We’re in the dregs of the season, and it’s getting harder to get creative with our drink choices here. Luckily, New Mexico is pretty broadly known for a specific cocktail, one that works perfectly as the weather quickly shifts from autumn to winter here in Missouri.
The Chimayó Cocktail was created in the Land of Enchantment and features some of my favorite ingredients: tequila, the king of liquors; apple cider, the king of juices; and crème de cassis, the... not king, but maybe duke of fruit liquers?
These are all widely available, and it’s an easy drink to put together. Nothing like taking it easy against a low-level opponent. What could go wrong?
Thanks to The Spruce Eats for the recipe.
1 1/2 ounces tequila
1/4 ounce crème de cassis liqueur
1 ounce unfiltered apple cider
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Apple slices, for garnish
In an old-fashioned glass filled with ice, pour the tequila, crème de cassis, apple cider, and lemon juice.
Garnish with apple slices. Serve and enjoy.
Know Thy Enemy
While comfortable wins are a bit of a luxury at this point in the life cycle of Mizzou Football, New Mexico State represents one of Missouri’s best opportunities this whole season. Going into a Battle Line Rivalry game that could mean bowl eligibility for the winner, having fresh, uninjured starters will be key. To quote Nate Edwards in his preview:
Get up by four scores (lol) and put in the backups for the second half. Simple!
The Aggies — no, not those Aggies — boast one very strong unit, and it’s unfortunately a unit that could cause some problems for the Tigers. NMSU’s pass defense is ranked 16th in the country, meaning Mizzou’s offensive line will need to open up some holes for the run game. Fortunately, the Aggies’ run defense is just as bad as their pass defense is good.
They do, however, stink it up in rushing defense, ranking 94th against the run, 109th in stuffing runs at the line of scrimmage, and 59th in explosive plays allowed on the ground. That should be music to Eli Drinkwitz’s ears.
As for the New Mexico State offense, well... it stinks. It stinks like a dog turd in July.
That being said, they do sometimes find success in breaking off big plays on the ground. If the Tigers can limit these explosive plays, the Aggies won’t have much, if any, margin for error.
NMSU doesn’t do anything well but, if they’re moving the ball, it’s via an explosive play on the ground. That has to be minimized or eliminated, ideally with less than 5 explosive plays allowed at the end of the day.
Games like this seem simple and they absolutely should be! But it’s hard to feel overly confident in a blowout when you consider this Missouri team had to play its starters for all four quarters against Abilene Christian.
Last week... well, we shouldn’t talk too much about last week. Are you taking much stock in the Tigers’ disappointing trip to Knoxville or are you trying to leave it in the rearview mirror?
Nate Edwards, Football Editor: We don’t put much stock in any game Missouri plays against an FCS team and we should do the same for this game as well. Tennessee is much better in tactics and scheme and was uniquely prepared to take advantage of the one weakness Mizzou’s defense has. And the offense was better but was never equipped to hang in a shootout for long. It was an admirable effort, leave it at that.
Parker Gillam, Beat Writer: Not too much stock. Tennessee’s offense has been befuddling defenses all season long, and even Mizzou’s stout unit couldn’t handle them. Did they get thoroughly out-played? Yeah, but that doesn’t turn me away from thinking of them as a great defensive unit.
In addition, I was really encouraged by the potential the offense, and specifically Brady Cook, showed in this game. The season now comes down to two games, no point in dwelling on anything else.
Josh Matejka, Deputy Site Manager: You know the defense is constantly in “bend, don’t break” mode for about three quarters and usually runs out of steam around the fourth quarter? It happened again, albeit a little early, against Tennessee, and Josh Heupel teams don’t miss opportunities to bury a broken defense. This was a good game much longer than the final score shows, and even featured some of the strongest offensive play of the season. You hate to lose by 40+ points, especially against a vile program like the Volunteers’, but I wouldn’t take too much away from Missouri getting shellacked by one of the country’s best teams.
Levi Hutmacher, Digital Media Producer: I am not even going to entertain what happened much on the field last weekend in Knoxville. There were moments where the offense left me a little hopeful. I still think they aren’t great, but hey, it wasn’t super painful watching them the whole time!
The defense though? What in the heck happened? I think maybe it was just one of those off days. This weekend seems like a nice opportunity for the defense to get back in their groove before a tough Arkansas matchup that will likely determine bowl eligibility.
Aaron Dryden, Staff Football Writer: There are a couple of things that are tangible that you can take away from that shellacking in Knoxville. I think the first is that Brady Cook, the good version of him, is a solid player and can do some exciting things in the running game. When everything is working right, he’s competent. Still though, even the best version of him wasn’t enough to hold up to an offense at the level of Tennessee. Second, it was interesting to find out after the fact that Bush Hamdan was actually the primary play caller for this past week. The fact that the “sticks” may have actually gotten passed, even temporarily, is a curious choice to make given the opponent and the timing in the season.
I don’t put too much stock into the defensive side of the game. I’m more likely to believe this was a fluke game against a really good opponent. They’ve got enough of a track record to earn that benefit of the doubt.
Much of the conversation this week has shifted to Mizzou’s seniors and who will be returning for their extra year of eligibility. If you had to recruit one of Mizzou’s seniors to stick around for one more year, who would it be and what’s your pitch?
Nate Edwards: Darius Robinson is a good one, but I’m not convinced he’s actually leaving. Measurables would tell a more complete story but is he actually getting 1st-3rd round buzz from NFL folks? I’m also a huge fan of Martez Manuel and would like him to stick around another year just because he’s a good player and a good dude but his replacement is also pretty good and I want Martez to get that NFL cash so I’m good with that one. So I guess my answer is Nate Peat; yes, this staff likes Schrader better and Peat’s gone through some nightmarish scenarios in his brief stint at Mizzou. But I’ve seen the hints of massive potential he has and would love another year of seasoning in CoMo to see if he can achieve it.
Parker Gillam: The man pictured, Darius Robinson. While I can understand him wanting to test the waters, I don’t think it’s a guarantee that he’ll get drafted right now. Another year could not only benefit his draft stock, but he also is one of the most vocal leaders on this team. His personality is infectious, and he can help this program maintain its current upward trajectory with his bubbly personality and experience on this roster.
So, come back, be the true leader of another elite defense, win more games, and get into that top 3-4 round discussion in the NFL Draft. There’s my pitch to him.
Josh Matejka: It’s hard not to say Darius Robinson, who often looks like Mizzou’s best overall lineman. I agree with Baker’s assessment — he could be the next day-one pick out of Columbia with some more refinement.
For my money’s worth, however, I’d do everything I could to convince Martez Manuel to come back. Mizzou’s secondary has been a weapon this season and Manuel is clearly the group’s figurehead. Has he had the production of Jaylon Carlies or the headlines of Kris Abrams-Draine or Ennis Rakestraw? Not necessarily. But Blake Baker is going to have a hell of a job keeping this unit together this offseason — transfer portal poachers are already reaching out, I’m sure — and securing Manuel’s extra season would likely help with cohesion. And hey, he’s pretty good on top of everything else!
Levi Hutmacher: Jack Abraham 100%.
Ok, just kidding. He is like, what, 43? I would go with Parker and Blake Baker on this one. I am recruiting Darius Robinson as hard as I can. He is a good player who I believer hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. He would get to come back, get more playing time most likely, and have a chance to show out and improve his draft stock. Darius, please come back!
Aaron Dryden: Darius Robinson has been a staff favorite, and for good reason. So to be a bit different, I’ll say DJ Coleman. Coleman has been a pleasant surprise making the jump up from the FCS level. If I could make a pitch, it would be to come back for another year and prove your value to NFL teams in a feature role. He’s been extremely impactful in a rotational role this season, but he’d need more than rotational snaps to find a way to get drafted. Come back, dominate 45-50 snaps a game in 2023, and get your paper.
While Mizzou certainly shouldn’t overlook New Mexico State, the big date on the calendar comes next week in the annual Battle Line Rivalry with Arkansas. Should the Tigers build a formidable lead, should the coaching staff rest some starters or would you view this as a good tune up opportunity?
Nate Edwards: I think the defense could use some backups getting noticeable time, mainly because there are quite a few pieces who could be gone it would be nice to see some of those blue chip defenders get on the field and get some experience. For the offense...yeah, I’d love to see Horn and Jones and Miller and Whisner...but, come on, this offense can’t build a multi-score lead that’s comfortable enough for Drink to bring in the backups. And this unit struggles enough that I’d say let the starters gets some confidence-building reps on (what should be) and overmatched opponent. Plus, if Bush Hamdan is calling plays again, he needs reps as well with the starters on the field.
Parker Gillam: On defense and in the wide receiver corps, yes I believe that they should. Dominic Lovett and Luther Burden have already dealt with injuries this year, as has Martez Manuel and Kris Abrams-Draine among others. Those are must-have players to take down Arkansas, so I would certainly avoid any risks if possible.
However, I think Brady Cook and this offensive line need all the time on the field they can get. Cook needs to try to build off of the Tennessee performance, while the O-line just needs to continue to build chemistry. As I’ve said before, both Cook and most members of the line are playing for their jobs not only in 2022, but in 2023 in these final couple of games.
Josh Matejka: I’m in agreement with Nate and Parker — the offensive line needs as many reps as it can get, and Brady Cook looks like he’s coming on strong with every game. Give them the whole game to work ahead of Arkansas. You can certainly give Dominic Lovett and Luther Burden some extra plays off, but everyone else on the offense needs some extra prep time before Arky comes to town.
Levi Hutmacher: With it being a short week, I lean a little more towards getting them rest. However, I would focus more on getting the defense rest, while letting the offense get some more reps. Hell, let Bush Hamdan take control of the play calling again and try out some new schemes or plays!
Aaron Dryden: There is not one damn person on that offense who should be “resting”. Everyone on the offense needs those reps for one reason or another. On defense though, I wouldn’t be opposed to it for the more experienced players.
PICK ‘EM! Mizzou is a heavy favorite to get their fifth win of the season, but we’ve seen them struggle against blood donors this year. Does Mizzou win comfortably or will we be sweating out another W?
Nate Edwards: There’s nothing that this offense has shown you that can give you the idea of dumping four touchdowns on any team quickly and calling off the dogs. The only way Missouri covers the spread is if the defense notches a few touchdowns or puts the offense at, like, the NMSU 10-yard line. I’ll take the Aggies covering the spread and Mizzou winning yet another uncomfortably close game.
Parker Gillam: Against most other non-Power 5 schools, I’d say they won’t cover given their inconsistent offense. However, New Mexico State, while an improved team this year, is a full 3-4 tiers below Mizzou on the totem pole of the FBS. The Aggies just do not have the talent to compete with the Tigers, specifically when it comes to their offense matching up with Mizzou’s defense. I see a first-half shutout as a near-lock, and I know Blake Baker sees this game as his chance to get a shutout this season.
Cook and the offense should look relatively crisp against NMSU, but again, I don’t trust them to be flawless. Give me Mizzou 34-3.
Josh Matejka: Call me crazy, but I think Missouri finally puts one away early. I don’t know that we’re in for a true blowout like we’ve seen in previous years, but I could see the Tigers building a 24-3 lead and opting to rotate players early on. Maybe the final score is a little closer than we’d like to see, but I don’t think the Tigers will be sweating too much in the second half.
Levi Hutmacher: I feel like Mizzou has been a second-half of the season team where they tend to make less mistakes and take advantage of more opportunities. I feel like they will go ahead and get a big lead and hold on to it ‘til the game is over. I think we see some solid flashes from the offense while the defense looks more like the defense we have seen all season long.
Now, this year is a bit of an outlier compared to years past. It seems this Mizzou squad often lets teams hang around for much of the game and don’t pull away as we thought they might. So, while I think Mizzou will win handily, I don’t think that big lead comes til late in the third quarter, leading into the fourth. Mizzou wins this one 41-10.
Aaron Dryden: I paid actual US dollars to go see this game, so I’m really hoping the Tigers can handle their business. However, if this Missouri team could “handle their business” they would have bowl eligibility, a ranking and a lot of momentum heading into 2023. I have been hurt too many times to be confident in this group, but I can’t believe they’ll lose to New Mexico State at home. I’ll pick Mizzou, 45-24.