Missouri got its first win of the season on Saturday with a 38-7 triumph over West Virginia. The Tigers are 1-1 heading into next week’s game against Southeast Missouri. Here are grades for all four units, a highlight from Saturday’s win and areas to address ahead of SEMO.
Play of the game
Kelly Bryant’s completion to Daniel Parker: It wasn’t for a touchdown and it only went for 18 yards, but it was the highlight of a drive Bryant dominated by extending plays with his legs. Bryant didn’t show as much of that against Wyoming and made it hard for West Virginia to sack him. The play was the best of many good ones Bryant made against the Mountaineers.
Offense: A+. Missouri put up 38 points against a Big 12 team and capitalized on the turnovers the defense forced. Larry Rountree and Albert Okwuegbunam rebounded after bad performances in Wyoming, and Bryant continued to play well. This offense could be better than 2018’s.
Defense: A+. Missouri had three interceptions, 13 tackles-for-loss and three sacks. Head coach Barry Odom will take that any day. Jordan Elliott lived in the backfield, and Cale Garrett was everywhere MU needed him to be. MU held WVU to just 30 yards rushing, most of which came late in the game. This was the defense many MU fans were expecting.
Special teams: B. There was no big return for either team, and Tucker McCann missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt after hitting one earlier from 43. The unit didn’t hurt MU, which continues to be an improvement from 2018, but hasn’t been a strength yet, either. McCann continues to serve as a viable punter.
Coaching: A+. Barry Odom praised Ryan Walters for his play-calling on defense, and Derek Dooley continued to look smart for his ability to adapt the offense to Bryant’s skillset. It’s tough to complain when West Virginia scored its lone touchdown when the game was out of reach.
As Missouri welcomes SEMO to town Saturday, here are two things the Tigers need to improve:
Penalties: MU had 10 for 100 yards and handed West Virginia good field position at times. WVU didn’t do anything with it, but that doesn’t mean other teams aren’t able to.
Show more depth: MU should comfortably beat SEMO, which gives Odom a chance to play more reserves and rest the starters for conference play. If all goes well, the starters should be out at halftime next week.