Missouri’s defense had an impressive showing on Saturday against No. 1 Alabama as the unit did what six other teams failed to do — hold the Tide under 50 points.
But the Tigers didn’t get enough out of the offense to keep the game close as has the Tigers fell 39-10 in Tuscaloosa. It was Missouri’s third straight loss.
Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa put on a clinic, as he threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns before leaving the game to injury in the third quarter. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock threw for 142 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in a game where his team wasn’t really competitive after the first quarter.
Tagovailoa found wideout Jerry Jeudy on the game’s second play from scrimmage for an 81-yard touchdown to give Alabama an early 7-0 lead, 23 seconds into the game.
Lock’s second pass didn’t go as well. During Missouri’s opening drive, Lock was picked off on the Tigers’ second play, his first throw of the day with a return to the 6-yard line. Missouri’s defense was able to limit the Tide to a field goal, but the Tigers were still left trailing 10-0 less than two minutes in.
The Tigers got some momentum back with 8:29 left in the first quarter. Defensive tackle Kobie Whitesides sacked Tagovailoa for a loss of 12 yards and forced a fumble, which Missouri recovered at the Alabama 48-yard line.
Missouri’s ensuing drive ended with a 43-yard field goal by Tucker McCann to cut the Tide’s lead to 10-3. The Tigers defense limited the Tide to another field goal on its next drive but not without some trickery from Nick Saban.
With backup quarterback Jalen Hurts in as a running back, he took a handoff from Tagovailoa as if he were going to run, spun back and found Damien Harris for an 11-yard pass play. Hurts caught a pass from Tagovailoa the following play, which caused the loudest cheer of the night from the Crimson faithful.
After two runs for 29 yards by true freshman Tyler Badie, Missouri got into the red zone for the first time Saturday in the final seconds of the first quarter. Lock got the score within three points as he found wideout Jalen Knox in the end zone for a 20-yard score to cut the Tide lead to 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Knox was Missouri’s leading receiver on Saturday with three catches for 61 yards. The Tigers were without seniors Emanuel Hall and Nate Brown, who were out with groin injuries. Hall’s father passed away on Thursday, so he wasn’t with the team.
Missouri lost starting linebacker Terez Hall in the second quarter to a targeting call after he led on a tackle with his head. The penalty helped set up first-and-goal for the Tide, who were already driving downfield. Tagovailoa found Irv Smith Jr. in the end zone shortly after for a 2-yard touchdown to make the score 20-10.
Lock helped set up the Tide’s next touchdown after getting sacked on third down as he fumbled the ball. Alabama recovered at Missouri’s 13-yard line and scored a play later to extend the lead to 27-10.
With Missouri moving downfield on its next possession, head coach Barry Odom opted to punt on fourth-and-3 from Alabama’s 47-yard line. Tagovailoa took over deep in Tide territory and quickly got his offense out of there with a 57-yard pass to DeVonta Smith. The Tigers defense held the Tide to a field goal and went into halftime down 30-10.
The Tide suffered a scare in the third quarter after Tagovailoa slid 9 yards, just shy of a first down. Tagovailoa, who was nursing a sprained right knee all week, had to be helped off the field and didn’t return the rest of the game. Missouri’s defense held the Tide scoreless the entire third quarter, including a big stuff on fourth-and-1 from the Tigers’ 6-yard line. Hurts finished the game for the Tide and threw for 115 yards.
Missouri’s offense struggled to return the favor as the unit had negative-1 yards of offense the whole quarter. Lock got sacked in the end zone for a safety on the final play of the quarter, which extended the Tide’s lead to 32-10.
Hurts took advantage of Lock’s safety and led the Tide downfield after getting the ball back. After a 50-yard return by Josh Jacobs to start the Tide at the MU 40, he hit Henry Ruggs III for a 29-yard catch to set up first-and-goal. Harris rushed it into the end zone two plays later to extend the lead to 39-10.
The Tigers return home on Saturday to face Memphis at 3 p.m. for Homecoming. Emanuel Hall and Brown’s status for the game is unknown.