I don’t really have words to describe what happened, other than it was a complete and epic failure. It was a sorry ass finish to a sorry ass game, between what looks to be two sorry ass teams. There was some positives for Missouri and I’ll address some of those a little later in this piece (also check out Parker’s Sunday piece), but you can’t do that without first addressing the obvious.
For the record, taking the clock down at the four yard line while forcing your opponent to burn all of their time outs and kicking a chip shot field goal is not conservative football. It’s managing the game correctly by the numbers. I don’t think there’s a way to account for your All-SEC kicker, who has never missed a kick inside 30 yards, pushing a chip shot to the right.
That’s not on coaching; that’s on execution.
Just wanted to get that out of the way.
Lets get Positive!
The Offensive Line looked a lot better
Despite the horrific nature in which they lost, Missouri managed to impress in a few areas that would lead you to believe that there could be some sort of improved play in the future. That was first and foremost apparent on the offensive line.
The Offensive Line finally pieced together a competent run game this week. You could see guys getting downfield, executing double teams correctly, and generally doing a better job at preventing upfield push.
For example, on the Tigers’ first touchdown, look at the blocking that springs it:
It’s a sprint option to the right, and if you look closely, you can see big #66, Connor Wood, getting downfield and sealing the edge just enough for Cody Schrader to squeak through into the endzone. It’s not a flashy play, but it’s one that shows signs of competence from a unit that has struggled tremendously.
Missouri used fewer packages with two tight ends and started replacing one of their tight ends with an extra offensive lineman occasionally. This was a smart choice as they’ve relied on two tight end sets through Drinkwitz’s first two seasons, but this year they just don’t have the run blocking from that group to justify trotting out two tight ends. It was a nice change of pace and I hope they lean into that more going forward.
The Running Backs had a (mostly) good day
We know what happened on the last play of the game, but it was hard not to notice how good of a day Nate Peat had. He showed good vision, some nice power and really helped breathe some life into the run game. 20 carries for 110 yards is a solid day. Even Cody Schrader, who would go on to take a backseat to Peat, ran hard while he was in the game. Both guys had good days and showed that this run game CAN have some teeth to it.
Missouri has a True Star receiver
Dominic Lovett has truly made the leap.
Every week, as the competition takes it up a notch, so does he. After another 100 yard game on Saturday, Lovett has entrenched himself firmly as Mizzou’s number one target. So far, through four games, Dominic Lovett is leading the entire SEC in receiving yards and he is doing so with what would be considered below average quarterback play.
With all of the inconsistencies on offense, Lovett has been a constant positive for the unit. Now.... If only his five star teammate could get involved...