The Tigers battled Alabama Saturday night in a physical SEC-style game. In a 38-19 loss for the Tigers, there were players that shined through the struggle and players that created the struggle.
185 passing yards (1 touchdown)
The former TCU quarterback was a bright spot for the Tigers against the stingy Alabama defense. Accuracy was the most impressive thing that Robinson displayed Saturday. Robinson was under constant pressure but was still able to make the right read and move the ball downfield.
Drinkwitz played both quarterbacks throughout the game but it was clear that Robinson was the man for the job. Despite not playing the whole time without being uninterrupted, Robinson was able to maintain his rhythm. Another positive note is that this is the first game where Robinson is playing with Mizzou, and his two top targets going into this game where grad transfers. There weren’t years of continuity that Robinson could lean on, but still against a top defense Robinson was able to make some great plays.
Robinson can work on not trying to play superman ball. It is okay to throw the ball away and live to see another down.
Tackles for Loss: 3.5
Manuel, a sophomore from Columbia, played tremendous in his first start Saturday night. Going against a Bama team that featured two potential first-round picks at wide receiver put everyone on the Mizzou secondary on notice. Manuel took that notice and balled out. Manuel was terrific in coverage and the majority of the time was in the correct spot to make a play. IQ is one of Manuel’s strengths and it was on full display this past weekend.
The 3.5 tackles for loss is what is catches the eye. Manuel was flying all across the field and was able to get through or around an experienced Alabama offensive line. If Manuel continues to put up numbers like these throughout the season, look for him to be earning some end of the year recognition.
Larry Rountree III
14 rushes, 68 yards
Avg. yards per carry: 4.8
Larry Rountree III has been a staple in the Mizzou offense for years. Rountree flashed in 2018 with 1,216 rushing yards but had a disappointing year last year. Coming off of such a disappointing year many expected Rountree to have a bounce-back year. In-game one Rountree was able to flash his potential as a lead running back in the SEC. Rountree ran very physical and never went down after the first initial contact.
The major weakness of Mizzou is the offensive line which makes it harder for Rountree to perform at his best ability. It is even harder when you have to face a defense the caliber of Alabama. Even with poor offensive line play all night, Rountree was able to average nearly 5 yards a carry. The Tigers were down the entire game which limited Rountree’s workload. Look for Rountree to put up much better numbers as the season goes on.
Going into the season Mizzou’s offensive line was an area of concern. The line wasn’t very experienced and didn’t have any big-time playmakers. The combination of those two previous statements were on full display Saturday night. The quarterbacks for Mizzou were constantly under pressure and Rountree had to scratch and claw for every yard that he gained.
The Tigers’ offensive line gave up a combined 3 sacks and allowed Robinson and Bazelak to be under duress the entire game. There was hardly any passing plays were the quarterbacks had time in the pocket to pick apart the defense. Tiger fans winced in fear every time Dylan Moses or another Alabama defender came and smashed the quarterback.
2 receptions-12 yards
The grad transfer from Angelo State had a hard time Saturday making an impact. Chism experienced a “Welcome to the SEC” moment this weekend. The leap from D-II competition to the SEC is enormous. With that being said going into this game Chism was wide receiver #2 behind Damon Hazelton and was expected to make some plays for this offense.
Instead, Chism struggled mightily against Alabama’s secondary. Chism had a hard time getting off of the line and couldn’t create any separation. The 6’4 receiver has a wide frame which means that if he creates just the slightest separation, Robinson would’ve been able to get him more targets. Simply put Chism didn’t step up as the second option, and with a competitive schedule all throughout the season, the secondaries that Chism will face won’t be too far off from Alabama.
Tackles for Loss: 1
1 Fumble Recovery
Bolton didn’t have a bad game but didn’t have the game that was expected. It is agreed upon around the country that Bolton is one of the top linebackers in college football. With the expectations and the talent that Bolton possesses, he didn’t deliver.
In the running game for Alabama, a lot of plays came down to the linebackers vs Najee Harris. Harris won the matchup consistently throughout the game. There were times were Harris and Bolton were on a crash course and too many times Harris was the winner of the wreck. Three solo tackles for Bolton is glaring and not a good sign for the Tigers.
For Mizzou to be able to win games and be a top defense in the SEC, Bolton has to make more plays on the field. As previously stated, Bolton didn’t have a terrible game, but when you are a pre-season All-American, the expectations are All-American play week in and week out.