Five takeaway from Missouri’s 34-17 win vs Abilene Christian

A game between Missouri and Abilene Christian was never going to teach us anything good about Missouri. Not how these games work at all. Either we don’t learn anything, in which case we move on to Auburn next week, or we do learn something, in which case the thought of facing Auburn gives you the chills.

This show felt like the second one. Missouri’s play in the first half is hard to describe. Pedestrian Flat. uninspired It’s disheartening. These are some of the words I think of. This shouldn’t be how this team looks against an FCS team. This is supposed to be a game where you play most of the second half with your backups. Instead, it took Missouri’s starters to finish the game.

From week to week, things can change. Maybe the Tigers were just too casual about Abilene Christian. Maybe they’ll come up with the best plan ever to beat Auburn. Everything is possible. But if you were looking for reasons to be hopeful after that performance against Kansas State, like I was, you’ve come to the wrong place. It was all said in one play. They have the ball. Early in the second quarter, it’s fourth-and-1 from the middle of the field. The Tigers are up 14–3, but other than a deep pass to Dominic Lovett, their offense has been slow. It’s time to choose. Do it or take a chance?

A game between Missouri and Abilene Christian

Missouri decides to punt. This tells us everything we need to know about how Eli Drinkwitz feels about his offensive line: he made that choice at that time, against that opponent. The offensive line for Missouri should easily beat Abilene Christian. This is a team that FCS plays. A talent gap should exist. There should be a gap between getting strong and getting fit. There should be a gap between coaching and planning. On Saturday, it didn’t look like that at all. Missouri’s offensive line had problems from the beginning to the end. Five holding calls were made against the offensive line for the Tigers. The Tigers’ running backs had two “chunk” plays on the ground. Nathaniel Peat ran for 27 yards and Cody Schrader ran for 20 yards. That’s awesome. Before the backup OL came in, Missouri tried to run the ball 29 times, other than when the quarterback was in the game.

Brady Cook was only sacked once, which led to a fumble that was recovered in the end zone for an ACU touchdown, and he was under constant pressure in the pocket.

Even though Missouri was playing a weaker team, they couldn’t run the ball consistently. This game wasn’t meant to teach us anything, but it did. Missouri has a long way to go before it can compete with the best teams in this conference in the trenches. If this didn’t wake you up to that fact, I don’t know what will. 

Missouri has a big offensive line problem

It’s a lot of fun to see a player grow right in front of your eyes. Lovett and I are watching this happen. The star wide receiver from East St. Louis is making plays for Missouri just like he did for the Flyers when he was in high school. Lovett had a hard time adjusting to college as a true freshman, just like most receivers do. A lot of his targets were either right at or close to the line of scrimmage.

That’s changed all of a sudden. Lovett caught six passes for 76 yards against Louisiana Tech. Last week, against Kansas State, he caught three passes for 66 yards. Those were his second and third most productive days since he got to campus. They aren’t nearly as good as what he did against Abilene Christian. At the end of the game, he caught seven of the nine passes he was aimed at, for 132 yards and two touchdowns. He is the first receiver from Missouri to play under that.

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