Coach Barry Odom said his running back will be hungry to bounce back for Mizzou football.
Mizzou football suffered an opening weekend loss because of its three turnovers, in particularly the two inside the 2-yard line.
One of those came from junior running back Larry Rountree III, who still may not have seen his best days yet in Columbia.
But Rountree was met immediately by the Wyoming defense with a run up the middle at the end of the first half. With the score 24-17 in favor of the Cowboys, Wyoming forced the fumble and took the turnover deep enough for a field goal to close out the first half.
That made it 27-17 instead of what could have been 24-24. That 10-point swing may have been the biggest play of the game.
Rountree didn’t play much in the second half, and instead the bulk of the load went to backup Tyler Badie. The sophomore finished with 16 carries for 53 yards while Rountree had 15 carries for 41. Each scored a touchdown on the ground.
But the difference was Badie’s playmaking ability — he had seven catches for 49 yards.
Odom was asked Tuesday about Rountree’s second-half reduction.
"“(Badie) was playing better then. You know, I think there’s a number of ways to look at that and opportunities we were trying to get a couple mismatches with Badie, he’s got a different skillset than Larry does. And some of the things in the past game, we’re looking at that. And also, Larry had the early turnover. And then there were some things in block protection that Tyler was playing better then.”"
One thing is for sure: Rountree will be back.
Odom added he has zero concerns that Saturday’s game will impact Rountree negatively.
"I’ve got a lot of concerns. That’s not one of them right now. So I know what we got with Rountree. He’s going to be hungry to get back out there.”"
That’s good for Mizzou. The Tigers are going to need their running game to be stronger than it was in Laramie. As a team, Mizzou only had 2.7 yards per carry against Wyoming.
Rountree and Badie’s games do defer a bit, and both are important to Mizzou. Quarterback Kelly Bryant could have had easier throws if the rushing attack was a bit better Saturday, but the main thing that needs to shape up is the turnovers. Two fumbles on rushing plays cost Mizzou a difference of 17 points, as Wyoming also scooped up a Bryant fumble for a touchdown.
One of the ways Mizzou should be competitive in the SEC this year is through the run game. Rountree is going to be the biggest part of that ground game this season, and it’s good to hear the Tigers will try to get him back to form this Saturday against West Virginia.