University of Missouri

Kelly Bryant and Mizzou rebound for big win in home opener against West Virginia 

DeMarkus Acy on MU’s win over West Virginia

Missouri cornerback DeMarkus Acy talks about the Tigers performance against Westminister Virginia.
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Missouri cornerback DeMarkus Acy talks about the Tigers performance against Westminister Virginia.

After jumping out to an early lead against West Virginia on Saturday, there was no letdown for the Missouri football team like there was in Wyoming.

The Tigers dominated the Mountaineers 38-7 in their home opener at Memorial Stadium, giving Barry Odom’s squad its first win of the season.

Kelly Bryant’s brilliance continued to be on full display as the former Clemson quarterback threw for 150 yards and three touchdowns while extending countless plays with his legs.

After striking first with a 43-yard field goal, Missouri capitalized on an interception by sophomore Nick Bolton. Tailbacks Larry Rountree and Tyler Badie rushed for 19 and 12 yards respectively, which got MU into the Mountaineers’ red zone. Bryant found tight end Albert Okwuegbunam for a 26-yard touchdown that put MU up 10-0. Okwuegbunam faked a block on safety Kenny Martin and got separation before making an over-the-shoulder catch.

Missouri capitalized on another takeaway the following drive after safety Ronnell Perkins picked off Austin Kendall. The Tigers were all over Kendall’s passes on Saturday. He finished 15 of 25 passing for 137 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Roundtree extended MU’s lead to 17-0 early in the second quarter with a 10-yard touchdown. After a tough game at Wyoming, Rountree rushed for 99 yards on 18 carries.

Bryant was at his best during MU’s second drive of the second quarter, extending plays with his legs and avoiding sacks. On second and long in West Virginia territory, the Mountaineers blitzed Bryant, who proceeded to evade each defender and find Daniel Parker for an 18-yard gain. Two plays later, WVU blitzed Bryant again but he connected with Okwuegbunam for their second touchdown of the day.

Shortly before halftime, Bryant found Barrett Banister for his first career touchdown, extending MU’s lead to 31-0.

Missouri’s defense picked up where it left off in the second half, holding West Virginia to four yards of total offense in the third quarter. The Tigers defense finished with 13 tackles for loss.

Bolton extended MU’s lead to 38-0 after he intercepted West Virginia backup Jack Allison’s first pass and returned it 20 yards. After allowing almost 300 rushing yards at Wyoming, MU’s run defense had one of its best performances in recent memory, holding West Virginia to 30 yards rushing.

West Virginia finally scored with 5:13 left in the fourth quarter on a 46-yard pass to George Campbell.

Bryant, who was overheated, was taken out late in the third quarter for backup Taylor Powell.

Mizzou finished the game with 10 penalties for 100 yards.

The Tigers look to extend their record to 2-1 next weekend when MU hosts Southeast Missouri. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. on a SEC Network alternate channel.

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Alex Schiffer has been covering the Missouri Tigers for The Star since October 2017. He came in second place for magazine-length feature writing by the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association in 2018 and graduated from Mizzou in 2017.