Five takeaways from Missouri’s shocking loss in Laramie

Missouri will take on West Virginia at 11 a.m. this Saturday for its home opener.
Senior linebacker Cale Garrett practices with a teammate during fall camp. Garrett had 16 tackles in Missouri's season-opening 37-31 loss to Wyoming on Aug. 31, 2019. Madeline Carter

After Missouri’s stunning 37-31 loss to Wyoming on Saturday night, the Tigers fell to 83-41-5 in season openers in program history. Missouri will look to rebound next week against West Virginia in its home opener at Faurot Field.

It’s just Week One

Although it feels like the season came to a crashing end, there’s still plenty of football left.

In 2014, No. 18 Missouri fell to Indiana at Faurot Field in a game that it was favored to win by two touchdowns. The Tigers went on to win the SEC East after winning seven of their next eight games.

This year, the hype surrounding this season was as high as it has been for any in the Barry Odom era. With no midseason matchup against Alabama and a home game against South Carolina, some fans saw a path to an undefeated matchup with Georgia on Nov. 9. While that is no longer a possibility, this loss doesn’t affect the SEC East standings. It’s a brutal one, but it can serve as a wakeup call for Odom and his team.

Quarterback Kelly Bryant was brilliant, but one poor decision proved costly

Bryant kept the Tigers in the game Saturday. The graduate transfer set a new career high in passing yards (423) and completions (31) in the loss. He also saved a touchdown by tackling a Wyoming defender short of the endzone after a fumble at the end of the first half. The play saved four more points from an already disastrous second quarter.

With the Tigers trailing 27-17 deep in Wyoming territory in the third quarter, Bryant threw a ball across his body and into double coverage, resulting in an interception. Several dropped passes and a struggling ground game did not help Missouri’s offense, but Bryant was not to blame for those struggles. The offensive line looked good as well, with only two sacks allowed and few penalties.

Missouri’s run defense and run offense struggled

Wyoming’s game plan should not have come as a surprise to Missouri. The Cowboys ran the ball 42 times against Missouri, just below their 2018 season average of 42.3.

The Tigers, however, gave up 7.1 yards per carry totaling 297 yards. Nearly half of those yards came on two 60 plus yard runs by sophomore running back Xazavian Valladay and redshirt freshman quarterback Sean Chambers. While Missouri limited Wyoming’s passing attack to 92 yards, its rush defense struggled.

While Missouri found itself trailing for the entire second half, the Tigers ran the ball 42 times in the game. While Wyoming rushed 42 times for 297 yards, sophomore Tyler Badie, junior running back Larry Rountree III and Bryant combined for just 114 yards. Last season, Missouri averaged more than 200 yards on the ground and had two of their top three rushers return this season.

Turnovers turned the tide

Turnovers allowed Wyoming to get back into the game after Missouri seemed to gain control early. The Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 lead after dominating both sides of the ball in the first quarter, a lead that quickly dissipated.

A fumble by Bryant that was returned for a touchdown early in the second quarter brought the Cowboys within four points. At the end of the second quarter, with the Tigers down by seven and looking to tie the game, Larry Rountree III fumbled near the goal line and the Cowboys returned it to inside Missouri’s 10-yard line. The Cowboys also turned a third quarter Kelly Bryant interception into seven points.

Overall, Wyoming forced three turnovers and had 17 points off of them while Missouri had zero.

Cale Garrett picked up right where he left off

The senior captain recorded a career-high 16 of Missouri’s 61 tackles against the Cowboys. He also had one pass breakup. The 2019 Preseason first team All-SEC linebacker now has 11 games with double digit tackles in his college career.

Edited by Emily Leiker |

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