Takeaways: Missed tackles plague Mizzou defense

Missouri loses its fourth straight game, going winless in October.
Missouri head coach Barry Odom coaches team from the sidelines during the home game facing the University of Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 29.

In front of its smallest crowd this season, Missouri lost its fourth consecutive game. The 35-21 loss to Kentucky marked the Tigers’ 10th consecutive Southeastern Conference loss. Here are three takeaways from Missouri’s latest SEC disaster:

Killer B’s sting Mizzou defense

The Tigers donned the black and gold uniforms, but the Wildcats killer B’s, Boom, Benny and Badet, stung the Missouri defense on Saturday.

Boom Williams, Benny Snell and Jeff Badet moved the ball on the Tigers with ease. Williams ran for 182 yards and a touchdown, Snell ran for 192 yards and two touchdowns, and Badet caught three passes for 104 yards and one touchdown.

Missed tackles played a big role in the success of those three players. Early in the first quarter, Williams slipped past the defense on his way to a 60-yard touchdown run. Tackling only got worse from there.

“That is maybe the single most frustrating thing right now; we aren’t very good tacklers,” coach Barry Odom said. “We have to find a way to get that fixed.”

The missed tackles have plagued Missouri for more than three weeks now, Odom said. Missing tackles often translates to the Tigers giving up explosive plays to the opposing offense, something that has been tough for Missouri to overcome in its winless October.

“When you miss a tackle, it can be a real momentum-killer right there,” defensive tackle Rickey Hatley said.

Hoping to change the defense’s trajectory, Odom took over playcalling for the first time this season. It produced roughly the same result, though, as Missouri gave up more than 500 yards for the fourth consecutive game, largely thanks to missed tackling against a powerful Kentucky offense.

Linebacker Joey Burkett expects at least four tackling practice periods tomorrow as they try to fix those woes.

“Everybody is trying to get the big hit,” Burkett said. “But really, a good tackle is what gets them down. That’s what we need to focus on more.”

Lock ends disappointing month with another disappointing performance

The video game version of Drew Lock we saw in September failed to make the trip to October.

Lock finished off an abysmal four weeks with another underwhelming performance, tossing 138 yards and two touchdowns while completing 18 of 31 passes.

Over the course of October, Lock completed 59 of 126 passes, 707 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. Lock tossed 14 touchdowns in September.

He has looked worse — see 2015 — but when the Tigers needed Lock to step up, he often failed to do so.

Lock did throw two impressive touchdowns, but those two moments came as the lone bright spots in an otherwise mediocre performance from Lock on Saturday.

Lock said he needs to work on starting faster and finishing. He’s not about to call it a season after an unpleasant month of football, however.

“Giving up doesn’t do anything for you in the game of football or in life,” Lock said.

Dimetrios Mason flashes potential

The outlook is bleak for the 2-6 Tigers, but Dimetrios Mason’s future looks promising.

Mason caught four passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including an over-the-shoulder touchdown catch as he scampered into the end zone.

Mason, a true freshman, has grabbed 26 receptions for 350 yards in his first season with the Tigers.

The touchdown in the second quarter was his first collegiate touchdown.

“It felt really good,” Mason said. “At one point I caught the ball, and I thought I went out. Then I saw the orange and I was like, ‘I’m in.’”

Mason helped Lock on the field, but he has also tried to encourage him on the sideline and off the field, too.

“I just let him know that I have got him,” Mason said. “That’s all you can say. You can just be a voice in his ear and that everything will be OK and that I am here for him if he needs me.”

Edited by Tyler Kraft | tkraft@themaneater.com

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