clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Keeping tabs on Mizzou’s 2023 opponents following Week One

Every team in the FBS put its first impression out for the world to see. Here’s what we learned about each of Missouri’s 2023 opponents on Labor Day weekend.

Syndication: The Tennessean Caitie McMekin / News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Week One of college football has come and gone, and thus we have a miniature sample size of what each team will look like in 2023. The period between weeks one and two has always been filled with overreactions, and while I do not plan on doing much of that here, I will still be making big-picture judgements based off merely one game of football. So, bear that in mind.

With that being said, here are the main takeaways from how Missouri’s future opponents fared during the first weekend of the season:

Middle Tennessee State

Week One Result: 56-7 loss to Alabama

Player Of The Game: Jakobe Thomas, Sophomore Safety (8 tackles, 1 pass breakup)

The Blue Raiders were envied by nobody when they travelled to T-Town to take on Alabama to begin the season, and the ensuing result was expected. Sophomore quarterback Nicholas Vattiato was never able to get into much of a rhythm, and MTSU’s defense fell victim to a Jalen Milroe breakout game.

A loss to Alabama is nothing to be concerned over for MTSU, but the Blue Raiders will want to see a cleaner game from its offense in Columbia on Saturday. Unfortunately, they take on a defensive that is of similar caliber.

Kansas State

Week One Result: 45-0 win over Southeast Missouri State

Player Of The Game: Will Howard, Senior Quarterback (297 passing yards, 4 total TDs)

The Wildcats began the defense of their Big 12 title with a convincing win over SEMO. Will Howard, who has bided his time behind multiple quarterbacks at K-State, carried over the momentum from his strong end to 2022 with two passing TDs, a rushing score and a receiving touchdown. And, of course, the defense lived up to Chris Klieman’s usual standard.

Former 4-star recruit and true freshman quarterback Avery Johnson also got some playing time, and he lived up to the hype he received as a two-sport star out of Maize High School in Kansas. He finished 3-for-4 for 55 passing yards, 32 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

The Wildcats will receive a tougher test from defending Sun Belt Champions Troy on Saturday before they head to COMO the next week.


Week One Result: 56-14 win over Bethune-Cookman

Player Of The Game: Seth Henigan, Junior Quarterback (334 passing yards, 2 TDs)

The Tigers cruised to a win over Bethune-Cookman thanks to a balanced offensive attack. Memphis ran for over 200 yards and Seth Henigan threw for 334, although three turnovers—two of which were returned for touchdowns—tainted an otherwise clean performance. Ryan Silverfield’s group will need to clean up those mistakes before traveling to take on Arkansas State and returning home to open American play against Navy.

Two interceptions from Henigan, one of the more experienced quarterbacks in the country, was uncharacteristic.

NCAA Football: Hawaii at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


Week Zero/One Result: 35-28 win over Hawaii, 47-13 win over Alabama A&M

Player Of The Games: AJ Swann, Sophomore Quarterback (452 passing yards, 5 TDs)

Vandy has had the distinct privilege of playing two games thus far, having participated in Week Zero festivities for the second straight season. The Commodores are unbeaten, but they received scares in both games. After the defense struggled to contain Hawaii’s run-and-shoot attack, the offense struggle in the first half against Alabama A&M before finding its groove in the second frame.

The AJ Swann-to-Will Sheppard connection has been stellar thus far, as the duo has linked up 12 times for 130 yards and four touchdowns. Still, early struggles against the Rainbow Warriors and Bulldogs may not bode well when the ‘Dores take on Wake Forest and UNLV away from home the next two weeks.


Week One Result: 45-24 loss to Florida State

Player Of The Game: Jayden Daniels, Senior Quarterback (347 passing yards, 64 rushing yards, 1 TD)

It was truly a tale of two halves for LSU on Sunday night.

The Tigers led 17-14 at halftime and carried plenty of momentum into the break after a 36-yard Damian Ramos field goal gave them the lead. But, Jordan Travis and Keon Coleman found a rhythm in the second half and never looked back. LSU’s secondary could not contain Coleman and Johnny Wilson downfield, and the Seminole receivers combined for 226 yards and 3 TDs.

A disappointing result for an LSU team that is still among the most talented and well-coached teams in the nation. There’s no reason to panic in Baton Rouge right now, and the running game and secondary should bounce back next week against Grambling State. Regardless, the room for error has drastically decreased.


Week One Result: 44-14 win over Ball State

Player Of The Game: Ray Davis, Senior Running Back (112 rushing yards, 2 TDs)

The debut of Devin Leary in Lexington was highly-anticipated, but the ground game stole the show for the ‘Cats. Ray Davis averaged eight yards per carry on 14 touches and Kentucky utilized a 20-point second quarter to pull away from Ball State.

Leary finished 18/31 for 241 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He should only improve as he settles in to Liam Coen’s offense, and an upcoming schedule that features Eastern Kentucky, Akron, Vanderbilt and Florida should allow him to do that.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina

Week One Result: 31-17 loss to North Carolina

Player Of The Game: Xavier Legette (9 catches, 178 receiving yards)

After receiving a significant amount of offseason hype, South Carolina largely disappointed in Charlotte last Saturday. Following a productive first half, the Gamecock offense sputtered in the second, and Drake Maye overcame two interceptions to cruise to a victory in the second half.

Shane Beamer’s defense looked lost at times during this game, and his ground attack mustered -2 net yards. The going only gets tougher for SC, as they will take on Georgia, Mississippi State and Tennessee following a home date with Furman next week.


Week One Result: 48-7 win over UT-Martin

Player Of The Game: Carson Beck, Junior Quarterback (294 passing yards, 1 TD)

The Bulldogs began their quest for a three-peat with a methodical victory over the Skyhawks. The main question mark facing Kirby Smart and co. this season was who would take over for Stetson Bennett at quarterback, and an answer developed on Saturday. Junior Carson Beck looked comfortable and confident running the Georgia offense, and star tight end Brock Bowers continued to dominate with 77 receiving yards and a rushing touchdown.

Former Missouri receiver Dominic Lovett also finished with 25 yards on three receptions in the game. Georgia hosts Ball State before welcoming South Carolina to Athens during Week Three.


Week One Result: 49-13 win over Virginia

Player Of The Game: Dylan Sampson, Sophomore Running Back (52 rushing yards, 9 receiving yards, 4 total TDs)

Replacing a myriad of offensive stars, many questioned if Josh Heupel’s offense would be able to withstand the breakneck pace it unleashed on the country last season. Against the Cavaliers, the Volunteers did not miss a beat.

Joe Milton threw for 201 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he did deal with some inaccuracy early in the game. But, with a three-headed monster of Jaylen Wright, Jabari Small and Dylan Sampson at running back, Tennessee was able to run for 287 yards, and Milton added two scores on the ground as well. The Vols may be a more balanced offensive attack this season provided that the offensive line holds up against stronger opponents. A Week Three matchup with Florida in Gainesville looms.

NCAA Football: Florida at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports


Week One Result: 24-11 loss to Utah

Player Of The Game: Graham Mertz, Junior Quarterback (333 passing yards, 1 TD)

With pressure mounting on Billy Napier and this Gator program, Florida did not get out to a great start last Thursday. Utah largely dominated UF without starting quarterback Cameron Rising, as the Gators struggled to run the ball and could not sustain drives against a stingy Utes defense. Having Mertz throw the ball 44 times is not a recipe for success nor what Napier, a traditionally run-first coach, would like to do offensively. Look for Florida to attempt to get running back Trevor Etienne (7 carries, 25 yards against Utah) into more of a rhythm going forward.

The Gators will get a chance to regroup against McNeese State before hosting Tennessee the following week.


Week One Result: 56-13 win over Western Carolina

Player Of The Game: KJ Jefferson, Senior Quarterback (246 passing yards, 11 rushing yards, 4 total TDs)

The Razorbacks kicked off their 2023 campaign with a convincing win over the Catamounts, the first of two “tune-up” games to begin the season for Sam Pittman’s group. KJ Jefferson starred, with both of his touchdown passes being from 30+ yards out. Phenom running back Raheim “Rocket” Sanders only managed 42 yards on 15 carries, but he did add two touchdowns.

Kent State comes to Fayetteville next week before the schedule heats up with BYU at home and LSU on the road.