Missouri Football: Tigers encouraged by frustrating loss at Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 07: Cale Garrett
LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 07: Cale Garrett /

In Missouri’s most recent plight to find a win at Kentucky, the Tigers, and fans alike, were left with feelings of frustration and encouragement.

It’s not everyday that a team with a losing record (1-5, 0-3 conf) can say that they felt encouraged following its fifth consecutive loss, but the Missouri Tigers found themselves in such a unique position Saturday night.

The Tigers weren’t flashy on defense, but played good enough up front, that the offense had many opportunities to score and make for an exciting game, from start to finish.

Much like the defense, on offense we hadn’t seen much of anything to be excited about, since the Tigers’ lopsided win over Missouri State; a win which didn’t really come to fruition until the second half.

Missouri Tigers Football
Missouri Tigers Football /

Missouri Tigers Football

Until Missouri’s game against Kentucky, the Tigers were abysmal in all phases of the game. The defense showed some occasional life, and the offense was loaded with miscues and dropped passes. The lone highlights were Tigers’ running back Damarea Crockett and the offensive line.

In recent posts, I’ve written that the bye week came at the best possible time for Missouri. There was the post-Auburn tirade given by Barry Odom, and then the week-long speculation over whether the Tigers could do anything to right their season gone terribly wrong.

Following the bye week, Missouri’s offense looked like that which we had been told it would be before the season began.

Quarterback Drew Lock looked every part the best signal caller in the SEC that he was purported to be, connecting with receivers on deep routes for touchdowns, and ran one in by himself. Lock finished the day with 355 passing yards and did not toss a single interception.

Running back Ish Witter hit his stride, carrying the ball far more than he has this season – possibly ever. I’d still like to see a little more inclusion of Larry Rountree, but if Witter continues to put up similar numbers, then he and Crockett will continue to be the Tigers’ feature backs.

On defense, the Tigers’ secondary still looked weak, but DeMarkus Acy’s ejection for a questionable targeting call, gave me pause to wonder, if his absence from the game might have made a difference for the Tigers?

If you take the entire game into consideration, Missouri had, arguably, its best – most meaningful game of the season. The Tigers kept pace with a 4-1 (now 5-1) SEC opponent, which included a monster running game, and contained it on defense.

Missouri had Kentucky right until the end, and may have pulled off the win, but for some erroneous game clock management by the officiating crew. On the other hand, Missouri’s few mistakes made the game a little more difficult for itself.

In the second half, after Missouri picked off the ball, Crockett returned possession of the ball to Kentucky following a fumble on the ensuing down. Kicker Tucker McCann also missed a potential game tying field goal, which was blocked.

Next: Game times vs. Georgia and Idaho announced

Missouri found a game performance with which it could grow from, following its close defeat by the Wildcats. This week, the Tigers prepare for their second road game to Georgia. The Bulldogs are heavily favored to win this contest, but the Tigers have the potential to give Georgia a good run.