Same reaction, different year. The Missouri Tigers’ 37-31 loss to Wyoming already has fans screaming to send Barry Odom packing.
When the Missouri Tigers lost to Wyoming on Saturday, and probably while Mizzou was down during game play, fans wanted Odom fired, for the third straight year. While a coaching change might feel right to many, Saturday’s showing had some high points intermixed with its share of lows.
The biggest conversation piece of the off-season was how transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant’s athletic abilities would lift Mizzou’s ceiling. While he had his share of bloopers, Bryant was 31-for-48 in passing attempts for an eye-popping 423 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Bryant also netted 20 yards rushing on 11 carries, complementing running backs Tyler Badie and Larry Rountree III.
Mizzou’s receiving game gained little traction as well. For reasons unknown, offensive coordinator Derek Dooley rarely called upon the reliable hands and huge size of tight end Albert Okwuegbunam.
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Okwuegbunam hauled in three passes for 72 yards, but never got into the end zone for the Tigers. Overall, the Tigers’ receivers were targeted and produced fairly evenly.
The Tigers also scored four touchdowns. Rountree and Badie each carried the rock into the end zone, while receiver Jonathan Nance collected the team’s other two scores.
The two biggest problems I saw in the offense’s showing at Wyoming, was a major lack of ball control and penalties. Big plays were eliminated by penalties, and the Cowboys capitalized on a number of ill-timed fumbles.
In order for the Tigers to beat their opponents, they’ll need to clean up their mistakes, or start putting up video game numbers like they did while Drew Lock was under center.
While I sympathize with everyone who is upset with the team’s mistakes against Wyoming, the numbers were there to offer some semblance of proof that this team has real potential to be exciting and gain some needed attention. It’s time to move on to West Virginia.
This week, Missouri faces another opponent with similar characteristics on offense: A transfer quarterback who performed well against James Madison, and a ground game trying to gain footing. If the Tigers can get a hot hand and an early lead, they should be favored to win.