I’m not sure what I expected out of this game. I thought Mizzou would win the game. I thought they were capable of making the final margin big, but they’ve also been inconsistent enough this season where the margin probably wouldn’t be all that large. But this isn’t necessarily about what happened last night in St. Louis. It’s more about what’s happened so far this season.
I think we’re all still getting to know this team. And while there were probably a lot of knotted stomachs in the second half, the reality was that Mizzou had this game in hand and it was never in doubt during the second half.
Could they have made it easier on themselves? Absolutely.
Should this have been a two score win? Yes.
But whether they won by 7, 10, 14, or 100, they won the game against a feisty and more than competent opponent. After winning last week against Kansas State, they needed to win this game. For so many reasons they needed this win, but most of all they needed to get to 4-0.
I said last week that much of the football season, for teams like Missouri, can come down to momentum. A play here and there can change your entire outlook. Being undefeated going into your home game against LSU on October 7th means a lot of things for Mizzou fans and more specifically for the program. You can’t be 5-0 unless you’re 4-0. You can’t be 4-0 if you aren’t 3-0. And et cetera.
The more you win the more you believe, and not every week needs to be perfection for you to remain perfect. The primary goal this week was to just get the job done. Get the win. Do what you had to do in order to put this in the W column as you walk out of the dome.
Missouri does have a lot to clean up still. They were 0-8 on third downs, and gave up 45% on third and fourth down conversions on defense. If you want more of a game breakdown, I suggest reading what BK had to say. Again, I want this to be about what’s gone on so far versus last night.
The things we know now? Brady Cook is legit. Is he perfect? No, but few college quarterbacks are and Cook looks like he’s one of the 4-5 best QBs in the SEC. We also know Luther Burden III might be the best playmaker in the country. The offensive line is solid enough in pass protection but needs to be more consistent in their run blocking.
The defense probably isn’t quite as stout as it was last season, but the secondary looks to be just as good, and Johnny Walker Jr. is wrecking shop. And Harrison Mevis looks like himself again.
We also know the rest of the SEC is looking like it’s not as good as we’re used to. A big reason for that is because the quarterback play is down. Brady Cook is 8th in total yards but 3rd in QBR. If the league has flattened out a bit that means there’s room to slip up a few slots if you can clean up at the edges. And that’s where it comes back to the confidence and the momentum.
Go beat Vanderbilt and then take your shot at LSU.
A 5-0 Mizzou team should be ranked. LSU will be ranked. It’s an opportunity to make another big statement. But first you have to go on the road and beat Vanderbilt. You can’t be 5-0 if you don’t win next week. Missouri should be favored over the Commodores when the betting lines drop tomorrow. They’re coming off a loss where Kentucky pounced on them early and turned them over. It was enough for a big win. But Vandy still put up 28 points.
A few weeks ago I asked the question, “when do we see progress?”. Winning last week and then carrying through to a win last night feels like progress. Maybe it’s not the grand steps some people want, but this is the first time Mizzou has been 4-0 since 2013 and that means something. It doesn’t matter if only one of those wins is against a power conference opponent. Two G5 wins where you had control of both games should mean something when you put it in context with the Kansas State win as well.
But progress also means beating Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt, and then hitting more growth marks down the road this season. Beating Arkansas, South Carolina, and Florida and maybe Tennessee and Kentucky. Keep marching on each week and get the job done, whatever that requires.
Other SEC Scores:
- Georgia (1) 49, UAB 21
- LSU (12) 34, Arkansas 31
- Alabama (13) 24, Ole Miss (15) 10
- Tennessee (23) 45, UTSA 14
- Florida (25) 22, Charlotte 7
- Texas A&M 27, Auburn 10
- Kentucky 45, Vanderbilt 28
- South Carolina 37, Mississippi State 30