New Mizzou head coach Barry Odom won his first game, as the Tigers routed Eastern Michigan 61-21 on Saturday night at Faurot Field. Mizzou showed us some great things, and couldn’t get consistency in others.
With that, six reactions to Missouri’s first win of the 2016 season
1) The offense provided bombs-away fun: As Mizzou passed for 477 yards and five touchdowns, they had eleven completions of at least ten yards, and numerous other shots downfield. Eleven different Tigers caught passes, and the five touchdowns went for 36, 87, 19, 52 and 13 yards to five different receivers; an average of 41.4 yards per TD pass.
Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel appears to enjoy calling plays downfield, and quarterback Drew Lock appears to enjoy throwing the ball downfield.
After two games, Lock’s 730 passing yards are fifth in the nation. The win over Eastern Michigan was a tremendous amount of fun.
2) There are problems with the place kicking game: Freshman kicker Tucker McCann missed two makeable field goals in the opener at West Virginia, and in this game both McCann and junior Turner Adams missed extra points.
Cory Fatony punted four times and didn’t allow a return, so that aspect of things is good. But the placekicking needs to get straightened out as Mizzou enters tougher competition in the SEC schedule.
3) The run defense was better, but not the pass defense: The Tigers allowed just 141 yards on 46 Eastern Michigan rushing attempts, an average of 3.1 a rush to a team that had rushed for almost 300 the week before. The Tiger defense had allowed West Virginia to rush for an average of five yards per carry in the opener. So that part was better for Mizzou.
That being said, Eastern Michigan passed for 287 yards. The inconsistency of the Tiger defense in two games has resulted in a unit that was fifth in the nation last season being ranked 105th (out of 128) after two games this year.
4) Barry Odom can have fun: Massive defensive tackle Josh Augusta is a two-way player! Augusta lines up as a blocking fullback, and led the way for Damarea Crockett’s 26-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. But he also got the ball on a 3rd and 1 in the third quarter, and picked up two yards and a first down.
It’s reminiscent of the 1985 Chicago Bears use of William “The Refrigerator” Perry. It’s fun for the players and fun for the fans. I’m glad Odom is able to do it.
5) After last year, the number of receivers the Tigers have is remarkable: We thought when Nate Brown went down in the pre-season that Mizzou MIGHT have two receivers. Well, that’s far from the case. Lock’s five touchdowns went to five different guys. In week one, J’Mon Moore and Chris Black each caught 100 yards worth of passes. In this game, it was Ray Wingo and Jonathon Johnson going over 100.
Mizzou didn’t have player with a SINGLE 100 yard receiving game in 2015. Seven different non-running backs caught passes against Eastern Michigan, and for the season eleven receivers and tight ends have caught at least one pass. In a dozen games last year, thirteen Tigers’ receivers caught a pass. Heupel’s trust in the group, and his approach with the wide-open offense, provides Lock with a lot of options.
6) The competition level goes up significantly next week: Georgia got by Nicholls State by the skin of their teeth, 26-24, but they do have Todd Gurley’s successor in running back Nick Chubb, who is fifth in the nation in rushing with 302 yards in two games. Their pass defense is tied for nineteenth, allowing an average of 133.5 per game. The Mizzou passing game will be challenged by that defense, and the Tiger rush defense will be challenged by Chubb.
It is possible that Georgia will be looking past the Tigers, as the Bulldogs take on 19th ranked Ole Miss the week after Mizzou, and then face number-15 Tennessee. Mizzou plays their next two at home before heading out to LSU and Florida, two exceptionally tough SEC road games.