Missouri extends winning streak to four in win over Troy

The Tigers forced three turnovers in the dominating effort, but had reason for concern when Kelly Bryant was injured late in the first half.
Quarterback Kelly Bryant leaves the field with medical staff after suffering a left leg injury late in the first half of Missouri's Oct. 5 game against Troy. The Tigers beat the Trojans 42-10, with all of their points scored in the first half. Photo by Staff Photographer Madeline Carter

For an ever-so-brief moment in the first quarter on Saturday, Missouri had reason for concern.

On third and goal from the Missouri 15 yard line, Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker found receiver Khalil McClain wide open in the middle of the end zone for the first score of the game, capping a 12-play, 75-yard drive in which the Trojans moved the ball with ease. It was the first points Missouri had allowed in the first quarter all year, and the first time it trailed since Week 1 in Wyoming.

By the end of the second quarter, though, it had reason for concern over a much longer period of time.

Inside Troy’s 10 with less than four minutes left in the first half, Kelly Bryant dropped back and found sophomore Jalen Knox at the goal line. Knox was able to extend the ball into the end zone for another touchdown, but the play resulted in a more pressing issue for Missouri.

Coming off the left side, defensive tackle Travis Sailo rolled into Bryant’s legs after the throw, awkwardly bending the quarterback’s knee and leaving him writhing on the ground. Although Bryant was able to walk off on his own power, backup Taylor Powell played the rest of the game, completing six of eight passes for 57 yards in Missouri’s (4-1,1-0 SEC) 42-10 victory over Troy (2-3, 0-1 Sun Belt).

Missouri responded to Troy’s initial score with a tight, efficient drive of its own, going 55 yards on five plays. Set up by a 49-yard reception by sophomore receiver Kam Scott, Larry Rountree III tied the game with a touchdown run from one yard out.

“He was running hard,” redshirt junior offensive lineman Trystan Colon-Castillo said. “Running through guys, he made a couple guys miss, broken tackles, things like that. You get Larry in that groove, once Larry starts getting in the groove, he starts hitting these holes, making people miss and things like that.”

On the Tigers’ next possession, Rountree rushed four times for 49 yards, setting up Bryant’s first rushing touchdown in a Tiger uniform.

Jonathan Nance chipped in a touchdown of his own on a 64-yard catch and run to put Missouri up 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. Officials originally ruled Nance out of bounds at the one yard line before the call was overturned after review. Nance never had any doubt that he had made it in.

“I dove in,” he said. “I made sure I secured the ball. I was ready.”

Having allowed only 16 total yards after the first drive, the Missouri defense ascended from simply preventing Troy from scoring to forcing turnovers in the second quarter. Senior linebacker Cale Garrett got the ball rolling with an interception that he returned inside Troy’s five. After a facemask penalty, Bryant found tight end Albert Okwuegbunam in the back corner of the end zone to go up 28-7.

“That’s probably one of my best plays that I’ve made here, and I’m just really excited,” Okwuegbunam said. “[We] did a little play-action, got the guy one-on-one, beat him to his edge and then Kelly delivered a strike. [I] went up and made the play.”

Three plays later, Garrett got his second pick of the game, taking this one back for a touchdown, his fourth of the season.

“He’s playing really, really well,” coach Barry Odom said. “He’s playing really well. And again, kind of hit the record button on what I said whatever two weeks ago or three weeks ago or four weeks ago: it’s a thing he does every week in practice. His instinctual feeling of how to go play is off the charts.”

Missouri was held scoreless in the second half while playing mostly backups. Third string running back Dawson Downing had five rushes for 37 yards while seldom-used tight end Niko Hea recorded a catch. Troy’s only points came on a 43-yard field goal from Tyler Sumpter. In total, 75 of its 211 yards came in its opening drive.

“We just had to settle in,” redshirt junior defensive tackle Jordan Elliott said. “That’s all it was. Guys all over the place, we had to just calm down on the sideline and realize it’s the same things we’ve been practicing all week.”

Missouri’s next game is Saturday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. CDT against Ole Miss for homecoming. Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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