Win game one. Check.
Regardless of your expectations going into the season, everyone had Mizzou winning their opener against Louisiana Tech.
Maybe there were some butterflies during the first quarter. The offense looked stodgy, the defense created pressure but allowed some free ball movement, and despite being in good scoring position at the end of the first quarter, Mizzou still trailed La. Tech 3-0. Hopefully most of the butterflies were assuaged within a minute of the 2nd quarters start. A quick rushing touchdown followed by an interception returned for a score resulted in Mizzou being up 14-3. The rest went as expected as the Tigers largely dominated the game. They made Tech uncomfortable on offense and capitalized on turnovers to expand the lead to 52-17 before a garbage time TD helped the final score.
So did this win fall short, meet, or exceed expectations?
Met. That’s where we are this season, I believe. At least until this week has wrapped up. Because as much as this season is still on the “build” part of the rebuilt, the part where Eli Drinkwitz and his program are hitting expectations or exceeding them are going to come down to the toss up games in a much stronger way that the opening week might’ve taught us.
The good signs were there. We saw what a special player Luther Burden was. We saw a disruptive defense. Once again Special Teams were reliable. If you were skeptical on Brady Cook as the quarterback, he left that door open plenty. But he was also pretty good and even made some special plays. It’s clear Nathaniel Peat should be option 1 at tailback, but he had help and other backs showed some promise.
Before I get too far into any game review, I’ll just re-plug BK’s 5 takeaways piece from after the game. He tends to have a pretty good grip on things. And I feel like he pretty much nails it after the game.
Be excited. It’s a fun win. There was something for everyone. Big defensive plays, long returns, exciting play makers.
But that lingering feeling you have is also right. If you feel like you’re still not quite sure how you feel about this team in this season it’s because we want to see how they do in the toss ups. Kansas State is one of those games. The Wildcats were always one of those games. It seems an unlikely for a team in rebuild mode to go on the road in a rivalry game and walk about with a win. But that’s the difference between a forgettable season, and the one we’re all kind of hoping for... that season where maybe you’re not competing for an East Conference, but you’re competing for the season where the die hards talk about the wins before the breakout.
Kansas State is the kind of game where each of those two seasons are possible. Not every season hinges on one game in just one week. But on the road in Manhattan is a big one for many reasons. Drinkwitz and his QB can put their stamp on a season and rejuvenate a beleaguered fan base with a win.
Other SEC results:
- Alabama (1) 55, Utah State 0
- Georgia (3) 49, Oregon (11) 3
- Texas A&M (6) 31, Sam Houston 0
- Florida 29, Utah (7) 26
- Arkansas (19) 31, Cincinnati (23) 24
- Kentucky (20) 37, Miami OH 13
- Ole Miss (21) 28, Troy 10
- Auburn 42, Mercer 16
- Vanderbilt 42, Elon 31
- South Carolina 35, Georgia State 14
- Mississippi State 49, Memphis 23