South Carolina came into Faurot Field on Saturday night and stole a win away from the Tigers. It took a last second missed field goal by Andrew Baggett for the Gamecocks to pull off an upset, but there were still a lot of positives for Missouri football. The dream season is over, yes, but Missouri can still win the SEC East and head to the SEC championship game. I took a second look at the South Carolina game and took some notes below on what stood out to me on tape.
-Looking at the tape, I got a mixed bag of impressions from Maty Mauk. He is a very good deep ball passer and sometimes sticks around well in the pocket. But he really struggles with shorter passes over the middle of the field, especially early in the SC game. Part of that inaccuracy is inexperience with the wide receivers and system, but he has to be able to make those underneath throws. Also, sometimes he bails too early out of the pocket and scrambles when he has another second or two in the pocket. Mauk played pretty well so far, but has a lot of things to improve on before the Tennessee game.
– Dylan Thompson was overthrowing his receivers all game. He probably made 5 or so really bad overthrows, which really hurt the SC offense and halted some drives.
– Justin Britt, the offensive tackle assigned with stopping Jadeveon Clowney, really did a good job containing the best player on USC’s defense. Britt did have a lot of help from running backs and tight ends, who chipped Clowney all throughout the game to contain him. However, all the attention paid to Clowney opened the door for Kelcy Quarles and Chaz Sutton to have big days.
– Murphy’s first TD run was a great individual play. He broke three tackles, including a Clowney arm tackle, and scampered in for the score. Throughout the game, Mizzou actually had more success running the ball to Clowney’s side than away from him.
– Mizzou’s young receivers Marcus Hunt and Bud Sasser had good games. They are going to be a huge part of Mizzou’s offense going forward into next season. The other young piece of the wide receiver core, Dorial Green-Beckham, did not play well at all. He made two key drops and didn’t really bring his “A” Saturday. DGB had a fast start to the season, and needs to start showing up big for Missouri again in the later part of the season.
– On 1st and 5 from the 10 yard line, Mizzou had to score a touchdown. But a bad play call on first down, a DGB drop on second (a jump ball drop- he is so tall, he has to make that catch), and a broken play on third down led to a field goal when Missouri should have had seven points.
– The biggest coaching decision of the game was the Head Ball Coach’s call to put in Connor Shaw with 6:46 left in the third quarter. I was interested to see what the difference was between Thompson and Shaw on offense. The biggest thing I saw was that Shaw was much more accurate than Thompson and that allowed his offense to make plays and move the ball much better.
– The Tiger offensive coaching staff must have made the decision to not allow Mauk to change the play pre-snap against SC. This really hurt Mizzou’s offense, because multiple times they ran right into a blitz that could have easily been audibled (not really a word, but you get the point) out of pre snap. Next game, Mauk has to be allowed to change things up to give the offense a better chance to move the ball.
– The second thing I noticed about Shaw is that Missouri had the most success stopping him when they brought pressure. Mizzou did not blitz much in this game, and when they did, they almost always disrupted the play or got a sack. I think Missouri thought they didn’t have to blitz as much because they have such a good front four, and got a little bit cocky thinking they didn’t need a blitz to pass rush. I wish Mizzou would have blitz more, especially late in the game.
-Also, not having EJ Gaines, Mizzou’s best cover corner, probably factored into the decision to drop more people back in coverage.
– If I were coach, I at least would have tried to score 3 points when Mizzou had the ball back with 42 seconds left and the game tied. The Tigers had two timeouts, a good deep ball passer in Mauk, and lots of height advantage at wide receiver. I trust Mauk as well to put this team in a position to kick a game winning field goal. Why not take a chance and at least try to move the ball? Worst case scenario, Mauk gets picked off and we head into overtime anyway.
– On Andrew Baggett’s last two field goals, the laces were out. There is no doubt in my mind that the laces being out impacted the trajectory of both field goals.