Missouri Football: Tigers’ season ends with a loss to Texas


Despite Texas missing a number of players in Wednesday night’s bowl game, it didn’t seem to matter, as Missouri fell victim to the Longhorns, 33-16.

After reeling off a six-game win streak, it seemed that Missouri had probably set itself up pretty well for its bowl game against Texas. Then, former offensive coordinator Josh Heupel tipped his hat and left to become the head coach at UCF.

Heupel’s departure seems to have been where the walls began to crumble for Missouri. Over the last month, the team’s lack of an offensive coordinator didn’t seem to be much of a concern to head coach Barry Odom, who named tight ends coach Joe Jon Finley the offensive play-caller ahead of the Tigers’ bowl game.

The Tigers’ opening drive and ensuing first half was marked with probably the most head scratching play-calling that I’ve ever witnessed. Missouri, which has dominated its opponents with a strong dose of deep passes mixed with its use of tight ends and running game, primarily kept the ball on the ground.

Missouri Tigers Football
Missouri Tigers Football /

Missouri Tigers Football

Missouri’s lone score of the first half came from senior running back Ish Witter, which left the Tigers trailing, 21-7 at halftime.

Play-calling was even more curious, when the Tigers opted to kick a field goal in the second half, rather than go for it on 4th and 2 near the Texas 20-yard line.

I don’t typically disagree with taking the points, but on the previous play, the Tigers’ were able to eat up about three yards, and seemed poised to convert the first down. Mizzou needed a touchdown, more than ever, at that point in the game.

On the opening drive of the second half, quarterback Drew Lock connected with receiver Johnathon Johnson on a deep ball for a touchdown, and it seemed like the Tigers’ offense was back. The score would stay at 16 points for the Tigers, as penalties and mistakes on offense mounted for Mizzou.

If there’s anything good to take away from this game, it’s that the defense played really well, overall. Aside from some bonehead penalties, the defensive front limited the Longhorns rushing attack through most of three quarters, By the fourth quarter, the defense was pretty much gassed.

Questions remain, going forward: Who will be the next offensive coordinator for Missouri? Will Lock declare for the NFL Draft? Lock’s performance gave us a good reminder why it might be to his benefit to play one more year for Missouri. There’s a reason why he didn’t grade out in the first or second round.

Looking toward next season, the Tigers have bolstered their recruiting depth. The loss to Texas stings, especially after Missouri showed much promise during the second half of their season. However, Mizzou denied the impossible, and made a bowl game for the first time since winning the Citrus Bowl against Minnesota in 2014.

Next: Possible offensive coordinators for Mizzou

There’s much for the Tigers to learn from this season and from their bowl game. With any luck, Missouri will find an offensive coordinator who will take the Tigers’ offense to the next level.