It started out promisingly. Misouri was moving the ball, and it looked like it had something going against Texas A&M. Then it happened: a penalty, then a turnover, and before you knew it the Tigers were down, 7-0.

Blink again, and the Mizzou defense was being embarrassed by the Aggies’ running game, and Missouri was down, 14-0. Final score: Aggies 35, Tigers 14.

The Tigers did just what they weren’t supposed to do early: make a lot of mistakes. Instead of following the Arkansas playbook on how to beat the Aggies, they took the Alabama route and fell behind.

In the 1st quarter alone, the Aggies averaged 15 yards per carry. That brought back memories of the Tennessee game in Week 5, when the Vols got off to basically the same type of start.

And as usual, the Mizzou defense had no answer. What also didn’t help was the play of Connor Bazelak, who threw 2 interceptions, 1 of which led to a touchdown.

But give the Mizzou defense credit — it played better from the 2nd quarter on, and it gave up only a couple more touchdowns after yielding 21 points in the 1st. But as the Tigers keep finding out, you can’t keep digging yourself a hole and expecting to dig your way out of it, especially against a more talented team.

Bazelak continues to make mistakes, putting the Mizzou offense in a bad position. He is not good enough yet to rally this team after he makes a mistake. He presses when he tries to bring the Tigers back from a huge deficit.

Those mistakes didn’t allow the Mizzou running game, behind Tyler Badie, to get off to a good start, either.

Once behind 14-0, Eli Drinkwitz had no choice but to throw the ball to try to catch up, which led to a 3-touchdown deficit at the half.

The Aggies’ Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane each rushed for more than 100 yards. But you have to wonder: If Mizzou hadn’t turned the ball over a few times, would the game have been closer?

Surprisingly, if it weren’t for the Mizzou defense, the score would have been worse. It held its own at times, getting turnovers and sacks when the Tigers desperately needed to make a stop. But the Aggies’ offensive line was too much to handle. When Missouri cut it back to a 14-point deficit, A&M would just give the ball to one of its many talented tailbacks and end any talk of a comeback.

Mizzou fans have to be tired by now of this team giving decent efforts with nothing to show for it.

Drinkwitz didn’t come to Missouri just to have moral victories. He wants to win, and although his team wasn’t supposed to win this game, at some point it is going to have to prove it can do more than put in a good effort.

With the season looking like it is lost, it may be time to start playing new players. It has been said that Drinkwitz has taken this approach recently, but this team needs players out there who are going to play hard every week, and it may need to begin at quarterback.

Bazelak has struggled a lot recently, and it may be time to open up the quarterback competition again. At this point, what do you have to lose?

Since an overtime loss to Boston College in Week 4, Bazelak hasn’t been the same player. He has thrown more interceptions and seems to have lost his confidence.

It’s not unheard of for coaches to make changes at quarterback during the season. All the Tigers have to do is look at 2 teams within their own division Saturday — Florida and Georgia — to know that sometimes, change is good.

But Badie can’t be the only sparkplug on this offense. He needs help, and he hasn’t been getting it lately from his quarterback. So maybe it’s time to consider other options.

A change might help this team’s morale as it faces the meat of its schedule. It’s going to take more than a valiant effort to win the next few games. It’s going to take mistake-free football and players who can actually make plays.