Missouri football: Can the Tigers get well against North Texas?
After a rough game against Tennessee, the Missouri Tigers will face the North Texas Mean Green, which might be the medicine this team needs to get over Saturday’s devastating 62-24 loss to Tennessee.
Like the Tigers, the Mean Green is struggling, having lost 3 in a row, including a close game to Louisiana Tech, 24-17.
North Texas is coming off a bye week, and like Missouri, it is looking to bounce back. Although Mizzou should be favored to win and should win, that doesn’t mean the Mean Green can’t give the Tigers fits.
Like everyone else Mizzou has played, the Mean Green has a pretty decent running game. Running back DeAndre Torrey has been the lone bright spot for North Texas, rushing for 516 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Torrey may be on his way to being 1st-team All-C-USA. He is dangerous, and the way the Mizzou defense looks, he might give the Tigers trouble.
Tyler Badie is still 2nd in the SEC in rushing with 458 yards and 6 touchdowns, but he needs to have a big game, which he hasn’t had in a few weeks. Mizzou has relied more on quarterback Connor Bazelak than Badie, and that needs to change.
Bazelak had 2 turnovers against Tennessee, which did not help his team at all. If the Tigers are to get back on track, it starts with getting Badie and the running game going.
Badie is one of the leaders of this team, and he needs to step up. Same with Bazelak. He cannot let last week affect his play. He’s still very talented, but like most young quarterbacks, he is having growing pains.
If the running game can get off to a quick start, that might help build back the team’s confidence. We already know what the Missouri defense is going to have to do: stop the run.
It will be interesting to see how the defense responds to the changes Eli Drinkwitz made this week when he switched defensive line coaches.
It was quite noticeable, not only to the media but to Drinkwitz, that his team lacked spunk and seemed demoralized during its defeat to Tennessee. That might be the main reason a change was made.
Drinkwitz said this to the Columbia Daily Tribune after the loss:
“This was uncharacteristic of this football team. This football team is a team that fights, and we didn’t. We weren’t ready today, and that’s on me as a head football coach, and we will work to correct that and to be better. We’ve got a long way to go.”
Drinkwitz also said that the Tigers don’t have a lot of depth, and that’s contributing to their issues. He has seemed to indicate that whoever does well in practice this week most likely will start.
The good news for Mizzou is that North Texas doesn’t exactly have a great passing game. Mean Green quarterback Jace Ruder has thrown for 544 yards, 3 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
The Tigers’ defense has a chance to capitalize on Ruder’s mistakes, which could provide the shot in the arm this unit needs.
This game should give Mizzou the chance to not only get well against a lesser opponent, but to work on and improve a few things.
Before last week’s loss, Missouri had been in every game. But fans hopefully will see a difference on defense, especially now that a change has been made at the defensive line position.
Drinkwitz seems to be starting over, not only on his staff but with the players as well. There seems to be a new day dawning with this team, and maybe that’s a good thing.
Whatever the Tigers were doing these past few weeks hasn’t been working, and Drinkwitz noticed that and made a few changes. Now fans will see if these changes will make a difference, or if this will be the same old Missouri.