The Missouri Tigers get the win at home against Abilene Christin University with a final score of 34 – 17. In a game, where the final box score indicates a much closer game than it was,
The final tally does show a close game, and while Mizzou carried the pace and was in control throughout, the Tigers will not be overly satisfied with this win.
Any division 1 team carries a threat and can be dangerous, but the Tigers needed a big win, and most assumed they would have that. Mizzou missed many opportunities, and as a result, missed the mark. A win is a win, and when people look back on the week 3 matchup against the Abilene Christin Wildcats, most will see a game that took the Missouri Tigers to 2-1, not a game that was headed for a lopsided blowout that turned into a game that was closer than anyone expected. The oddsmakers billed this as a blowout with the Tigers favored to win by 32.
The Missouri Tigers jumped on ACU quickly. First-year wide receiver, and apparently punt returner, Luther Burden took a wobbly kick off a bounce 78 yards down the right sideline to the house for a touchdown. It looked like Mizzou would run away with this one early. This addressed one area of concern for the Tigers– their futility on special teams, more so defending punts than returning them, but this certainly was a positive sign, and a step in the right direction.
Abilene Christian responded with an effective drive resulting in three points on a 39-yard field goal. On the very next drive, Brady Cook hit wide receiver, Dominic Lovett on a perfect ball for 79 yards, and again it looked like the Missouri Tigers would throttle ACU at home.
The second quarter produced a total of three points, on a field goal from Missouri kicker, Harrison Melvis. Sending us to halftime with Mizzou leading 17-3. Not a gangbuster half, but certainly not a bad one.
In the third quarter, the Tigers outscored the Wildcats 14 – 10, but they continued to miss opportunities to blow the doors off the game. The inability to put the game to bed is concerning, and even more concerning is the secondary giving up another big play, late in the game against underwhelming talent. As the game neared expiration, the Tigers allowed a 49-yard touchdown in man coverage at home. The Missouri secondary was beaten badly multiple times in the second half at home against Louisiana Tech in the season opener.
The late TDs may not impact the result, but it says a lot about this team’s ability to cover late in games. The Tigers’ secondary was good against Kansas State. It was one of the few bright spots, yet they respond with mediocre play against an inferior opponent. This does not bode well for the upcoming SEC season.
Takeaways from the Missouri Tigers Vs Abilene Christian Wildcats game:
· Coach Eli Drinkwitz was deliberate in getting Luther Burden involved: Luther carried the ball three times, caught six passes, and was a difference-maker on special teams. Missouri’s best player was given the opportunity to be just that, the best. This is a requirement to compete.
· Brady Cook was good enough: The QB depth chart is full and crowded with talent. The bomb to Dominic Lovett was Cook’s talent on full display, and we needed to see it. Will Coach Drink let us see it again, or will he be held on a leash? Missouri cannot elevate with Brady at QB unless he is free to attempt the big shots. The conference is too tough to not take risks.
· The mind lapses on defense are enough to ruin would-be victories: good teams will exploit the coverage gaps, specifically late, when the game is on the line. The MU defense needs to tighten this up and do so in a hurry.
· The Running back carousel is too much: The coach has not yet committed to a full-time running back. The merry-go-round of tailbacks continued, as once again Cody Schrader got the most carries. In the game prior, Nathaniel Peat carried the load. Drinkwitz needs to decide on a lead back and let him lead. Five backs (not including Brady Cook or Luther Burden) with three or more carries is not ideal. It also makes it difficult for running backs to get comfortable or get into a rhythm.
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