Tigers thrashed by Purdue in demoralizing loss

The Tigers were lifeless in the 35-3 blowout at the hands of the Boilermakers.

By all accounts, it had been a good week of practice.

In the week leading up to Saturday’s 35-3 drubbing by the Purdue Boilermakers, the Missouri Tigers felt confident about the form they were in and the game ahead.

“To be honest, we had our best week of preparation this week,” redshirt senior captain Eric Beisel said postgame.

Beisel thought the defense had run more smoothly and more effectively in the past week and that the team would be well equipped to take on Saturday’s challenge.

Head coach Barry Odom said he felt confident, too.

“Everything felt and looked and smelled right,” Odom said after the loss.

It became immediately clear that nothing was right early on Saturday as a hungry Purdue team stormed out to a 28-3 halftime lead over the Tigers en route to a 32-point victory. For Missouri, the defeat marked the team’s worst non-conference loss since a 55-7 trouncing in the Tigers’ 2001 season finale against Michigan State.

After a poor performance last weekend against South Carolina, the explosive Missouri offense from week one was again nowhere to be found, as the Tigers were unable to muster a single touchdown on the day.

Drew Lock’s offensive struggles against Power Five defenses continued against Purdue, as he completed just 42 percent of his passes for 133 yards while tossing two interceptions. The first pick the junior quarterback threw, which came at the 14:24 mark of the second quarter, was destined for Purdue cornerback Markus Bailey the second the ball came out of Lock’s hand. Bailey picked it off and returned it to the Missouri 2-yard line with the help of a penalty.

The second interception came in the fourth quarter, when Lock tossed a gorgeous pass to wideout J’Mon Moore in the end zone only to have the ball snatched from Moore’s hand by Purdue cornerback Kamal Hardy.

Lock expressed frustration postgame but vowed to be better next week.

“You can’t be perfect in this game, but we’ve got to come back tomorrow and watch the film and not let things snowball,” Lock said.

Sophomore running back Damarea Crockett had a poor day as well after rushing for a combined 299 yards in the first two games of the season. After beginning the game on the bench, Crockett had just 10 carries for 19 yards, fueling injury concerns. Odom acknowledged that Crockett may still be dealing with a nagging tailbone injury but said that he was “near 100 percent.”

As it has been through the early part of the season, the Tigers’ defense was a major issue, with Missouri giving up 477 total yards and a season-high 205 yards on the ground. Missed tackles and loose zone coverages gave Purdue ample opportunities to put points on the board, and the Boilermakers took advantage. During the game’s first quarter and the early parts of the second, Purdue carved through Missouri with ease, scoring 21 points in the game’s first 19 minutes.

Missouri’s defensive struggles were only exacerbated by the offense's inability to remain on the field and chew up clock. The Tigers offense entered the day ranked 126 out of 129 teams in the nation in time of possession, averaging about 22 minutes with the football per game. On Saturday, Missouri’s offense was on the field for just over 16 total minutes, leaving the anemic defense on the field for 43:43 while trying to fend off Purdue’s balanced offense.

Missouri’s futile performance leaves Barry Odom and his staff with an immense amount of work to do ahead of next week’s matchup in Columbia against the No. 15 Auburn Tigers. Tackling, coverages and offensive execution will all be points of emphasis with the team as it prepares for its toughest test yet, and as Odom has stressed over and over, that falls to him and his staff.

But Beisel and his teammates know the challenge ahead is incumbent upon them as well.

“It’s going to be a tough game, and we’re going to have to prepare like a championship team this week,” Beisel said.

Edited by Joe Noser | Jnoser@themaneater.com

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