Winners and losers in Missouri’s loss to South Carolina

The Tigers fall to 0-5 in SEC play this season with the 31-21 loss to the Gamecocks.
Missouri head coach Barry Odom coaches team from the sidelines during the home game facing the University of Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Missouri traveled to Columbia, South Carolina, and fell to the Gamecocks 31-21 on Saturday.

The Tigers will return to Columbia, Missouri, still without an Southeastern Conference victory. Here are three winners and three losers from the game.

Winners

The running game

The Missouri offense sputtered throughout the game, but the the running backs often found success against South Carolina.

Ish Witter and Damarea Crockett combined for 162 yards on 14 carries for two touchdowns. The offensive line, which has often struggled to run block this season, opened holes that Witter and Crockett easily ran through.

Defensive tackle Josh Augusta even got in on the running game’s success, rushing for a first down on fourth and short.

Charles Harris and the Missouri pass rush

This past week, Missouri coach Barry Odom talked frequently about the Missouri defense going back to its scheme from last season. It showed on Saturday.

The vaunted pass rush of previous years returned against South Carolina. The rush was led by Charles Harris, who sacked South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley twice and registered two tackles for loss. Brandon Lee and Cam Hilton also registered sacks.

Tight ends

Sean Culkin and Kendall Blanton presented matchup problems for South Carolina, and Missouri exploited them.

The two big men combined for 84 yards on six catches and a touchdown that Blanton caught. It was another highlight-reel worthy catch by Blanton, who has three touchdowns in 2016.

Losers

Mizzou secondary

At times, Missouri’s secondary has been a bright spot for a struggling defense this season. That was not the case on Saturday.

The Tigers’ corners struggled to stop the Gamecocks’ passing attack, allowing Bentley, a freshman, to complete 22-28 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Although those numbers aren’t incredibly impressive, Missouri’s failures to break up 50-50 passes on third downs made the biggest difference in the game and earned the secondary a spot on the losers list.

Mizzou’s freshmen

Missouri had to overcome adversity early on, thanks to two freshmen.

Linebacker Cale Garrett made the mistake of lowering his head to tackle Bentley on the first drive; he was ejected for targeting. The loss of Garrett further depleted a linebacking core that was already without Michael Scherer.

Later in the first quarter, Dimetrios Mason, a freshman wide receiver, fumbled the football. The turnover gave South Carolina the ball deep in Tigers territory, and the Gamecocks scored their first touchdown moments later.

It wasn’t a stellar day for two players who have shown potential throughout the season.

Tucker McCann and Turner Adams

If Missouri could find a middle ground between Tucker McCann and Turner Adams, it would be set at kicker.

McCann went wide right and Adams went wide left on the Tigers’ two field-goal attempts on Saturday. Those two missed field goals would have brought Missouri within four, had the Tigers converted. But they didn’t, so McCann and Adams land on the loser list.

Edited by Peter Baugh | pbaugh@themaneater.com

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