Different game, same story for Missouri offense

Gary Pinkel: “It’s frustrating for all of us.”
Senior running back Russell Hansbrough tries to find a hole Saturday night against the Georgia Bulldogs. The Tigers ran the ball 22 times for 21 yards in the 9-6 loss.

ATHENS, Georgia — With the clock dropping below a minute, down three points, on fourth down and with Georgia fans screaming in his head, Drew Lock scrambled left and, with a defender rearing up to sack him, let the football go.

The throw found its way to the hands of sophomore receiver J’Mon Moore, and, for a second, Missouri seemed to have a shimmer of hope.

Wrong.

Moore was called out of bounds before the catch, handing possession over to the Bulldogs, who would take a knee to win 9-6 in front of their homecoming crowd Saturday night.

It was a different game, a different town and a different opponent in front of them. But the theme for this Tigers team was the same: a powerful defensive performance paired with an underwhelming offensive showing.

“I’m very proud of the way our defense played,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in his post-game opening statement. “Those are difficult losses, as we continue to struggle on offense.”

The slow, defensive-minded, touchdown-less game got off to the reverse start.

On the first play of the game, Missouri safety Ian Simon picked off a deflected Georgia pass and sprinted towards the end zone. He came down one yard shy of scoring to hand the ball over to Lock and his squad to force the touchdown.

No such luck. The Tigers settled for a field goal.

From this very early play, it was clear that the Missouri offense was going to have trouble converting.

“You want to say it doesn’t (weigh on you), but it’s probably there in the back of your mind at least half the time on the sideline before you go out for the next play,” Lock said of coming short on plays. “But you can’t go back and do anything about it now.”

The Tigers’ statistic sheet is riddled with issues.

They only ran for 21 yards, averaged just 5.5 yards per passing attempt and garnered zero return yards in seven punts.

Pinkel laid it out plain and simple after the game.

“We’re just not getting consistency,” he said. “It’s frustrating for all of us.”

The defense remained consistent, stacking up 104 tackles to Georgia’s 50, two sacks and eight tackles for loss.

On a team that seems to be carried by its defense while teammates on the other side of the ball failed to produce, it’s hard to level the workload.

“It makes it 10 times worse honestly (that) they’re out there busting their butts for us,” Lock said of the defense. “They’re coming out with stop after stop after stop, and we’re out there, but we just can’t do it.”

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