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Beyond the Box Score: It just keeps getting worse!

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Is Missouri a NFT? Because it continues to lose value and I have no idea how it works

What can we learn about a game that was, essentially, over at the 2:43 mark of the 1st quarter?

The answer: not a lot.

The only reason this game wasn’t a replication of the Tennessee game is that the Heupel offense is designed to put up a billion yards and points while Jimbo Fisher’s offense is designed to plod along as slowly as possible.

My point is: there’s not a whole of value of me deep diving this one. I’ll review the keys and try to point out some interesting stats but this was an ass kicking that didn’t teach us anything other than the things we already know: the defense is bad and the offense isn’t enough to win games on its own.

Here’s the advanced box score:

Advanced Box Score

Yuck, yuck, yuck. Outgained on a total yardage, per possession, and a per play basis. Nearly doubled up on yards per carry. Texas A&M threw 18 fewer passes and had almost the exact same amount of sack yardage but still had better yards per attempt and yards per completion. Just absolutely nothing good happened.

When Missouri Has the Ball

Missouri Offense vs. Texas A&M Defense

Brace yourselves: this was the worst offensive performance of the 2021 season. A 33% success rate passing the ball and a 35% success rate throwing the ball is the worst combined performance since last year’s South Carolina game (33% passing, 38% rushing). On top of that, Missouri only managed five explosive plays, meaning that the Tigers not only couldn’t keep up with the chains but couldn’t compensate with chunk plays. Texas A&M’s defense is elite and turned a decent offense into trash. So it goes.

Ground and Pound

The goal was a 46% success rate on the ground. 35% is not that.

Winner: Texas A&M

Convert on 3rd-Down

Did Missouri hit 60%? Nope. 6 conversion on 17 3rd-downs equals 35%.

Winner: Texas A&M

Finish your dang drives

Missouri needed at least six scoring opportunities to keep up with what the A&M offense was inevitably going to do to the worst defense in the country. Missouri’s offense got half of those opportunities while also scoring 4.7 points per opportunity instead of the goal of 5.

Winner: Texas A&M

When Texas A&M Has the Ball

Missouri’s Defense vs. Texas A&M Offense

For the second week in a row, Missouri’s rushing defense performed slightly better than the passing defense for the entire game. North Texas had a 50% success rate on 26 passes versus a 45% success rate on 44 rushes. Texas A&M: 52% success rate passing, 47.5% success rate rushing. Don’t read too much into that, though: the Aggie offense went into a shell starting in the 2nd quarter and barely showed anything unique or varied as the game wore on. Instead, look at the 1st quarter success rates: 61% success rate overall, 57% success rate passing, 64% success rate rushing. That’s killer.

Mitigate the Running Game

They did it! Missouri held the Aggies under a 50% success rate on the ground! They cleared the lowest bar! Rejoice!

Winner: Missouri

HAVOC!

The goal was 20%. The Tigers hit 17%. Seven Tigers contributed a havoc play which was much improved over the three havoc-contributors from last week. But if Missouri insists on being a sieve in the run game then there needs to be much more havoc created than what we’ve seen so far this year.

Winner: Texas A&M

The Little Things

“The Little Things” Report Card

Through last season and the beginning of this season, I noted how - at that point, anyway - Drinkwitz teams rarely beat themselves with stupid mistakes and excelled at doing the little things in games that stole yardage and put them in easier positions to score.

Against SEC team, the latter has definitely not been the case. And the former? Well...

Penalties

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that committing 13 penalties for 137 yards is not a sustainable way of winning football games. That goes double if a team also decides to only gain 116 yards on the ground to go with it.

What’s worse is that four of these penalties were completely unnecessary, specifically those illegal blocks in the back and the unsportsmanlike conduct (and two of those were assigned to Mr. Trajan Jeffcoat). On top of that, Missouri has been called for illegal motion/shifts in four of their seven games (two on receivers, two on tight ends). This is just sloppy play, full stop, and I’m not sure why these issues have started to pop up. Frustration can be some of it, sure, but the penalty issues - both number of and yardage - have gotten worse as the season has gone on. Obviously, that’s a bad sign but I have no idea how it can be fixed when it hadn’t seriously been an issue for the first 13 games of the Drinkwitz tenure.

Conclusion

I had much lower expectations than many Mizzou fans out there as we headed into the fall but this team isn’t even meeting my lowered bar. I figured 7-5 or 6-6 would be the final record but, as you can figure out, that goal is in serious peril right now. Given the quality of the defense I would be fine with five wins but that same quality is also the reason I’m seriously wondering if Missouri can comfortably beat Vanderbilt or even squeak out a win against South Carolina. It’ll be an interesting back half of the 2021 season, let’s just hope it’s interesting because improvements are made and a few wins are earned.