Mizzou offense dominates, defense sputters in 72-43 win over Missouri State

The Tigers racked up over 800 yards of total offense in the victory.

16 seconds into Missouri’s opener against the Missouri State Bears on Saturday, everything was golden for the Tigers: The sun was shining, Faurot Field was rocking and Mizzou had just scored on its first play from scrimmage.

Then the defense came onto the field.

Junior quarterback Drew Lock threw for a single-game school record 521 yards and seven touchdown passes, and sophomore running back Damarea Crockett ran for 202 yards, but it was not enough to overshadow Mizzou’s abysmal first-half defensive performance in the team’s 72-43 drubbing of the Bears.

The Tigers’ first-half defense was horrendous. Mizzou gave up 380 total yards and 35 points to the Bears in the half, including a 75-yard touchdown run and an 89-yard touchdown pass. Missouri State wasn’t supposed to be an offensive juggernaut, either — the Bears averaged 23.4 points per game against primarily Football Championship Series competition last season.

Head coach Barry Odom said he was pleased with his team’s offensive performance and optimistic that they will improve on defense.

“I thought we tackled poorly, and that started with me,” Odom said. “[The defense is] nowhere near it needs to be, but I’m confident in it going forward.”

While it wasn’t a day for the Tigers’ defense to write home about, Mizzou’s offense had all kinds of fun against a porous Bears defense, putting up 815 total yards. Lock completed passes to nine different receivers, five of whom caught touchdown passes. His efficiency rating was an astounding 252.5 despite throwing an interception, as the Bears failed to make him look uncomfortable all game long.

Odom said he was very happy with Lock’s progress.

“Drew played about as good as I’ve seen him play,” Odom said. “He’s practiced that way most of fall camp, and it was really good to see it carry over to the game.”

Lock said he felt much more comfortable in the game and that he was honored to break Mizzou’s single-game passing records.

“It’s really cool to break these records,” Lock said. “We got what we expected out of them and was able to take advantage of it. Overall, it was a great day for us.”

After Lock, no one had a bigger day than Crockett. The Little Rock, Arkansas, native rushed for two scores, as his shiftiness proved too difficult for the Bears to keep pace with. Using his improved strength, Crockett was rarely brought down by the first Bears defender to meet him, and he largely dictated the game in the third and fourth quarters.

Other offensive standouts included redshirt senior wide receiver J’Mon Moore and redshirt sophomore wide receiver Johnathon Johnson, who both had huge days for the Tigers. The wideouts combined to haul in nine receptions for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, despite missing his first extra point attempt of the day and incurring two illegal procedure penalties after kicking the ball out of bounds on kickoffs, sophomore kicker Tucker McCann was able to right the ship and make the rest of his extra points and a field goal, seemingly becoming more comfortable as the game went along.

In a game that involved way too much scoring, Mizzou made some halftime adjustments that effectively put the game out of reach in the third quarter. After an 11-yard Crockett touchdown run put Mizzou up 48-35 going into halftime, McCann drilled a 35-yard field goal to put Mizzou up 51-35 with 12:35 left in the third. Mizzou’s defense then stood firm, holding Missouri State to no points in the third quarter. But the Tigers’ decent defensive effort was somewhat spoiled by junior Cam Hilton’s ejection on a targeting penalty, knocking him out of the game and the first half of next Saturday’s matchup as well.

Mizzou will get its first Southeastern Conference test next Saturday against South Carolina.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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