Six winners and losers in Missouri’s loss to West Virginia

The Barry Odom era began with a 15-point loss to West Virginia.

MU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel speaks with the media following practice on Aug. 23.

Missouri opened the Barry Odom era with a 26-11 loss to West Virginia in Morgantown, West Virginia, on Saturday. Here is a list of three winners and three losers on the Tigers’ team.

Winners

Cornerback Aarion Penton: Penton was one of Missouri’s few defensive bright spots. He locked down his side of the field and used solid tackling form, unlike many of his teammates. Penton finished with five tackles and added an interception. He also held wide receiver Shelton Gibson, who finished second in the nation for yards per catch in 2015, to six catches for 39 yards.

Offensive line: The inexperienced Missouri offensive line started off the 2016 season with a decent showing. Following last season, in which this group gave up 30 sacks – tied for 93rd in the nation – the Tigers’ offensive line gave up only one sack and allowed little pressure on quarterback Drew Lock throughout the game. Run blocking could improve, but for such an inexperienced group, giving up only one sack is definitely a win.

Linebacker Michael Scherer: Scherer finished with 10 tackles, one of which was a tackle for loss. He didn’t do anything flashy, but with an outing this poor from Missouri, he did enough to put himself on the short list of winners.

Losers

Defensive line: The Mountaineers won the battle in the trenches, holding Charles Harris and the Missouri defensive line to no sacks and few pressures. Considering the talent of the Tigers line, this is an impressive feat. If the Missouri defensive line doesn’t produce, the entire defense is in trouble. Harris, who is arguably Missouri’s best player, cannot be this ineffective if the Tigers hope to win this season.

Kicker Tucker McCann: It was a collegiate kicking debut worth forgetting for McCann, who only made one field goal on three attempts.

Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel: His coordinating debut with the Tigers produced 11 points against a defense with nine new starters. Eight of these points came in garbage time late in the game. He rotated Marvin Zanders and Lock at odd times, often killing drives. Growing pains are expected, but this was a bad first outing for Heupel’s offense.

Edited by Peter Baugh | pbaugh@themaneater.com

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