Mizzou football: A few takeaways from the Tigers' blowout loss to Georgia
During the week leading up to the Georgia game, there was a question of who exactly Mizzou was.
Were the Tigers for real, and could they upset one of the big boys in the SEC? Or were they a group that was on a nice 3-game win streak but wasn’t ready to challenge the conference elite yet?
The answer is clear after Georgia’s 49-14 blowout win in Columbia.
That’s okay, though. There shouldn’t be many Mizzou fans who are upset with how the game turned out. After all, Mizzou played Georgia tough for the 1st half, had some exciting moments and trailed just 21-14 at halftime. This is just Eli Drinkwitz’s 1st year at Mizzou, and the progress he has made is easy to see. The program is trending up, even if it has lost handily to the best teams it has played — Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
There was plenty to digest from Mizzou’s loss. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways.
Connor Bazelak isn’t ready for the top SEC defenses yet
The redshirt freshman quarterback didn’t have a great game against the stout Georgia defense. It’s not fair to expect him to be perfect against the Bulldogs, but it would have been nice to see him with more than 139 passing yards and at least 1 touchdown.
It’s not surprising that Mizzou’s offense fell flat, gaining just 200 total yards. With Larry Rountree, Tyler Badie and the rushing attack stuck in neutral, Georgia pinned their ears back and got after Bazelak. It’s fair to say that the Tigers don’t have the receivers capable of getting separation against the Bulldogs’ secondary, and when you only have a second or 2 before the pass rush gets home, life is tough.
And for Bazelak, life has been tough against the best competition he has played. In the contests against Alabama, Florida and Georgia, Bazelak is a combined 50-of-82 for 415 yards and 1 interception.
The defense got humbled
Coming into the game, Mizzou’s defense was respectable, ranking 7th in the SEC in scoring at 27.9 points per game. But Georgia’s offense, especially its rushing attack, humbled the Tigers.
The Bulldogs racked up 316 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on Saturday. They had 2 100-yard rushers in Zamir White and Daijun Edwards. It was a performance that showed just how far Mizzou’s defense has to go.
Even on 3rd downs, where Mizzou’s defense has been good in this season — it came into the game holding opponents to an SEC-best 34 percent conversion rate — the Tigers couldn’t get off the field, as Georgia was 8-of-13.
Forget about this game
Yes, Mizzou got blown out by a good team. It happens. It’d be smart for them to move on quickly from it. That’s why next week’s game with Mississippi State is a great opportunity to wash away the ugly of this blowout and get back something that they lost.
What was lost? The Tigers went into their game with Georgia with plenty of confidence and momentum, but left with none. Every coach wants to head into his offseason by winning his last game, but it may be especially true for 1st-year coaches like Drinkwitz.
Drinkwitz’s focus should be on seeing what he can get in the Early Signing Period that starts this Wednesday, then beating the Pirate in Starkville and seeing where the Tigers land in the bowl slate. Those extra practices are uber important.
Confidence. Momentum. Drinkwitz needs to regain both.