Missouri looking for ways to improve despite dismantling SEMO

The Tigers won 50-0, but found no reason to relax with conference play looming.

Larry Rountree III rushed for 142 yards. Kelly Bryant threw for 225 yards with only five incompletions. Missouri got two non-offensive touchdowns and its defense shut out Southeast Missouri State.

Yet somehow after its victory Saturday night, Missouri wasn’t completely satisfied.

“I don’t know that we kept our edge,” coach Barry Odom said. “It’s human nature that you get in position and you want to take a breath and relax, and as soon as you do that you lose your ability to finish what you started.”

After rushing out to a 28-point lead in a dominant first quarter and scoring the first four times they had the ball, the Tigers played less inspired football in the second quarter. Three drives, the first beginning with 2:50 left in the first quarter, yielded two punts and an interception before Missouri finally found the end zone again with 1:32 left in the half.

“The mindset, we’re trying to play four complete quarters,” Bryant said. “[We’re] not trying to get satisfied, not just be happy with the result after two quarters or after a quarter. So just continue to play, have that mindset of four quarters.”

Bryant’s interception came deep in SEMO territory after a 49-yard run by Tyler Badie brought Missouri inside the 20. Flushed from the pocket, Bryant scrambled left and forced a jump ball to a covered Maurice Massey in the front of the end zone. SEMO cornerback Al Young came down with the pick. It was similar to a play Bryant had against Wyoming which resulted in his only other interception of the season.

“I feel like I could have [given] a better ball,” Bryant said. “I gotta go back and look at it on film. It was a one-on-one matchup. I just felt like I could have gotten it out there a little more, so I just gotta look.”

For the second week in a row, penalties plagued Missouri. It was flagged nine times for 79 yards, only a slight improvement from the 10 fouls for 100 yards it committed Sept. 7 against West Virginia.

“They’ll end up kicking us in the backside,” Odom said. “I want to see what they were exactly … [we] took two touchdowns off the board with penalties.”

Even the defense, which only allowed 94 total yards and achieved the paramount goal of any defense — not allowing any points — saw room to get better.

“Everything,” junior defensive end Jordan Elliott said of what his unit could improve. “I was telling the guys yesterday, ‘until we have a perfect game, we always gonna have work to do.’ Just every little thing, the small details.”

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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