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Taking the Good with the Bad: Central Michigan

Evaluating what was good, and what went wrong in Missouri’s win against Central Michigan.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

  • Tyler Badie is a bell-cow type of back. I’ve long advocated for him to receive more touches, and more play designs for him to get the ball, and Drink and the offense more than obliged. He was a factor in the run game between the tackles, and was a solid receiving threat as well. Here’s to hoping the high usage continues.
  • There was solid play in the secondary for the most part, highlighted by Akayleb Evans and his monster game. He was excellent in man coverage, and had a really nice interception. He figures to be a factor going forward in this defense.
  • Connor Bazelak just keeps on being cool. He was efficient, had no turnovers and managed some of the important possessions the way one would hope. I think to the two minute drill at the end of the first half where they moved down the field to get the field goal attempt. I also think about the multiple responses when CMU moved within one score. The Tigers always managed to find the points when they needed them.
  • The pass rush was spectacular. Jacob Sirmon was always under pressure, and never had any time to truly diagnose coverage because there was always someone breathing down his neck. It’s important to note that the pressure didn’t always come from the defensive line. Blitzing linebackers and safeties were a big part of that, too, but they managed to get home. Impressive.
  • Special Teams were special. Obviously Harrison Mevis is still that guy. He was perfect, and is honestly one of the Tigers’ biggest weapons. Having a kicker that accurate, with the leg that he does is something that college teams don’t always have the benefit of having. His 53 yarder before the half could’ve been good from 60. On the flip side, Grant McKinniss had a few beautiful punts that pinned CMU inside their 20. When Missouri had to punt, it helped that their punter could help flip the field and allow them to play the field position game while their offense tried to wake up.
NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
  • Wasn’t it great to have fans back in the stadium? It wasn’t a sellout but there was a game day presence in Columbia that hasn’t been there in a while. People were excited to come out and watch their team play, and hopefully in the future when it’s not Labor Day weekend, we can capture that ever elusive sell-out crowd.

The Bad

  • The run defense in this game was abysmal. Central Michigan had two running backs come in and run all over the Missouri defense in Lew Nichols and Marion Lukes. Each rushed no lower than 7 yards per carry, and they managed to combine for 179 yards rushing. Nichols himself had 100 before the end of the first half.
  • I’ve seen a lot of chatter on how Blaze Alldredge was struggling a bit, but I think his struggles are more of product of the defensive tackles getting washed out and allowing lineman to funnel to the next level. Ideally, you try and avoid your inside linebacker having to take on one on one blocks against a 300+ pound offensive lineman.

The defensive tackles have to bring a better effort up front against Kentucky. You simply cannot get pushed around by a MAC team like they did for periods of the game.

  • If Missouri wants to win games this year, they’ll need to be better than 1/11 on third down. They’re lucky they got away with it on Saturday, but it won’t stand going forward.
  • I understood the idea of trying to get Mookie Cooper involved in the offense with the motions, bubble screens, jet sweeps, etc but a lot of times it seemed forced. Central Michigan was locked in on some of the actions, but in general there weren’t a lot of downfield routes for Cooper in Game One. That could change — Missouri wasn’t showing a lot of their hand — but for now this is a piece of the offense that could use some more fine-tuning.
  • The Offensive Line was okay. Not bad, not good but okay. The defensive line of Central Michigan gave them all they could handle, and in the first half especially, they were really controlling the line of scrimmage. Missouri woke up finally, and salvaged a good half of football, but it was a tad bit concerning how the Chippewa defensive line was getting so much push.

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