Tiger Takeaways: Near-miss in Kentucky


It was a game that toyed with the emotions of Tiger fans everywhere on Saturday night, as Missouri fell just short of taking their second win of the season in their first game away from Columbia. But here is what we took away from the heartbreaking loss:

1. The offense is there

There has been a lot of criticism going on this season about what has gone bad with the offense. Some have blamed the play calling from offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, the bad decision making of Drew Lock, or the inconsistent running game and the perpetual dropped passes of the receivers. Of course, some of all four are to blame.

Johnathon Johnson basically disappeared for three games before emerging back onto the scene Saturday night. He tied the game late with a 75-yard touchdown catch, while Emmanuel Hall had a breakout game with four catches for 129 yards in the wake of Dimetrios Mason’s departure from the program.

Even the running game looked good with 213 yards on 33 carries.

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2. The defense is a problem, and it will be, all year

Once again, the defense failed to do its job. The only player that made even a minimal impact was Terez Hall. The junior linebacker had 12 tackles and looks to be getting better every week.

Meanwhile, Cale Garrett did not have a good night. The middle linebacker was beat in coverage multiple times (though he shouldn’t have had to do that to begin with) and gave up the game-winning touchdown to Kentucky receiver Garrett Johnson.

The special teams did not help, either, as Tucker McCann missed a field goal and then another one was blocked.

3. SEC officials are genuinely terrible

The final sequence in which the Tigers had the ball showed just how atrocious the performance was. Take a look at the final plays:

A defender knocked the ball out of J’Mon Moore’s hand and it rolled around and the officials are slow to get the ball back and set it to be ready for play. That should have been a delay of game on the defense and a clock stoppage. But it wasn’t called, and Mizzou didn’t have enough time nor any time outs to get organized.

SEC officials have been known to protect the more “traditional” programs. While Kentucky doesn’t have a great tradition in football they sure have been around longer.

Alas, hopefully some momentum will be generated from this game that could help the Tigers against Georgia, when they go between the hedges next week. The fourth-ranked Dawgs have been pushed to the limit by the Tigers in their the last two meetings.

Next: Tigers encouraged in loss to Kentucky

Last year was a genuine choke-job, as Mizzou led all game before a touchdown on 4th-and10 gave Georgia the lead, and then a fifth turnover by the Tigers sealed their fate. The year before was a 9-6 sleeper in Athens. Hopefully, we can see a close and exciting game like last week against the Wildcats.