University of Missouri

Grading Missouri’s 50-0 win over SEMO and looking ahead to South Carolina

Missouri head football coach Barry Odom (left) spoke with the officials before the start of Saturday’s game against Southeast Missouri State (Sept. 14, 2019).
Missouri head football coach Barry Odom (left) spoke with the officials before the start of Saturday’s game against Southeast Missouri State (Sept. 14, 2019). AP

Missouri got its record above .500 on Saturday with a 50-0 blowout win over Southeast Missouri. The Tigers are 2-1 heading into next weekend’s game against South Carolina. Here are grades for all four units, a highlight from Saturday’s win and areas to address ahead of South Carolina.

Play of the game

Richaud Floyd’s punt return touchdown: There were a few nominees in what was such a lopsided game, but Mizzou’s ability to find something on its special teams after not getting much in 2018 is a big development for the Tigers. Floyd’s punt return was the first of its kind since he returned one at Vanderbilt for a touchdown in 2017. If the special teams can become more consistent, then this team can be dangerous.

Grades

Offense: A+. Missouri put up 50 points and dominated on the ground and in the air. Albert Okwuegbunam had another impressive touchdown catch, and Jalen Knox eclipsed 100 yards receiving for the first time this season. Not much to complain about.

Defense: A+. Missouri had a pick-six for the second time in as many weeks and six tackles-for-loss in the first half alone. The Tigers held a team scoreless in the first half for the second straight week and the run defense continues to improve after a terrible performance at Wyoming in the season opener.

Special teams: A. Floyd had the punt return for a touchdown for the first time in two years, and MU didn’t let special teams be an issue. Tucker McCann’s second extra-point attempt was blocked, but it wasn’t costly. He also hit a 52-yard field goal and averaged over 50 yards per punt. This might be the best stretch of his career.

Coaching: A+. It’s tough to give this section any other grade in a game where MU led the whole time and no major decisions were made. An easy week for Barry Odom and his staff. One thing to note, Odom said he tried to get every player on the sideline into the game when the score was out of reach for SEMO. Good on him for emptying the bench when he can.

Next up

As Missouri welcomes South Carolina to town on Saturday (3 p.m. on SEC Network), here are two things the Tigers need to improve:

Penalties: MU had nine for 79 yards, and it’s clear penalties continue to be an issue for this team. Missouri is getting called for a bunch of different penalties, from personal fouls to illegal formations and everything in between. There are too many veterans on the team for MU to be this undisciplined.

Keep it up on defense: Missouri was a botched coverage away from beating South Carolina in 2018 in a game that featured multiple weather delays and a lot of dropped passes. South Carolina starting quarterback Jake Bentley is out for the season, and the Tigers’ defense has allowed just one touchdown in its last two games. Can it keep it rolling?

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.
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