Badie, Rountree lead Missouri to win over West Virginia

Missouri rushed for 232 yards in its home opener.
Sophomore running back Tyler Badie finishes a run during Saturday's 38-7 win over West Virginia. Badie rushed for 71 yards. Madeline Carter

After Missouri’s dominating 38-7 win over West Virginia on Saturday, running backs Larry Rountree III and Tyler Badie echoed a message they received from running backs coach Cornell Ford all week.

“The game starts with us,” Badie said.

Badie and Rountree, who combined to average just over three yards per carry in the loss against Wyoming last week, overpowered the Mountaineer defense early. In the first half, the two rushed for 109 yards on 17 carries, propeling Missouri to a 31-0 halftime lead.

“We just stuck to the game plan,” Badie said. “The best thing for us to do was go out and make a statement.”

In the first half, Rountree became the 18th Missouri player to surpass 2,000 yards in his collegiate career. He finished the game with 99 yards and a touchdown.

“He might be as strong as an energy force that we have,” coach Barry Odom said. “The pulse of our team a lot of times will go with Larry. That’s in the locker room, that’s on the field, that’s practice habits, that’s just body language. Then watching him finish runs today is what we needed.”

Against Wyoming, the Tigers jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter before giving up 27 points in the second. Unlike last week, Missouri held onto its early lead and was able to rest its starters for much of the fourth quarter. Badie said that he prepared for this game like it was just another game.

“We’re disappointed we lost [last week] but you can’t go back and change that so the best thing is [to] focus on the next game,” Badie said.

As a team captain, Rountree feels an added responsibility to talk to the younger players and speak up more. He believes that the team’s demeanor was the biggest difference this week.

“Coming out, getting up on them and actually finishing the game,” Rountree said.

Redshirt junior Dawson Downing also ran for 57 yards, three yards shy of his career-high. The Kansas native played mostly on special teams last year.

“We loved it man,” Rountree said. “Dawson has been a dog. He’s been in a cage. When he gets out there, he’s gonna go hard. I was so happy to see him out there.”

Downing was happy to have snaps at running back as well.

“It’s nice to have some of the work pay off that I’ve been doing,” Downing said. “I can’t do it without those other guys doing a great job running the ball as well.”

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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