Missouri football: Stock report following Week 4
Missouri remained undefeated after taking down Memphis in Week 4. The battle between the Tigers ended with a 34-27 Missouri win.
The Tigers from Columbia won a close game with their AAC foe. Missouri was up 24-10 in the third quarter and ended up winning by seven points.
Missouri takes on Vanderbilt in Week 5 as SEC play opens for the Tigers.
Player of the Week: Luther Burden
Brady Cook knows the formula for Missouri to have success on offense is to get Luther Burden the ball. That was true on Saturday. Burden finished the game with 10 catches for 177 yards receiving.
The former 5-star WR is living up to the hype. He now has 504 yards receiving and 3 total touchdowns through the first four weeks of the season. If Burden can keep this level of production up, he’ll have a great year.
Missouri spread the ball around well, but Burden stood out once again.
Freshman of the Week: Jordon Harris
What tight end Jordon Harris did in this game might not show up on a stat sheet.
Harris diagnosed a Memphis blitz in the fourth quarter and relayed it to the rest of the offensive line. Harris’ intuition allowed for running back Cody Schrader to score on a 37 -yard touchdown run. Eli Drinkwitz called the play a “back breaker” for Memphis, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Harris may not have made a catch or had a good stat line, but what he did helped Missouri pull away.
Biggest Surprise: Missouri wins despite terrible 3rd-down conversion rate
Missouri may have won at the end of the day, but the fact that it couldn’t convert a single third down is a surprise. The Tigers went 0-8 on third downs. Not converting on third down could hurt Missouri later on during the year, especially with SEC play on the horizon.
Missouri is towards the middle of the pack in the SEC when it comes to first down conversions with 21.3 so far. Missouri ranks seventh in the SEC in that stat.
Biggest Concern: Letting Memphis back in the game late
Missouri had a two-touchdown lead in the third quarter. The Tigers were up 24-10 and allowed Memphis to claw its way back into the game during the fourth quarter.
This could hurt Missouri against some of the tougher competition in the SEC. At the end of the day Missouri still won the game, but it is definitely something Eli Drinkwitz and the team will need to clean up before too long.
Developing Trend: Running game coming alive for Drinkwitz
Other than the Kansas State game, Missouri has rushed for 100 yards in every game as a team. The team eclipsed 200+ yards rushing for the second time this season on Saturday.
The Tigers had 201 yards rushing in the 34-27 win over Memphis. Missouri averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Cody Schrader and Nathaniel Peat led the way in the Missouri backfield. The backfield pairing combined for 188 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns.
The balance on offense will be an important thing for Missouri to focus on down the stretch. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes a consistent thing for Drinkwitz and the offense.
Key Stat: 2.9 yards per carry for Memphis
The Missouri run defense showed up on Saturday. Memphis was held to 83 yards on the ground with 2.9 yards per carry and couldn’t get anything going between the trenches.
The Missouri defense should be licking their chops with Vanderbilt up next on the schedule. The Commodores currently have the second-worst rushing offense in the SEC with 108.6 yards rushing per game. The only team with a worse number in that stat in the conference is South Carolina with 75.8 yards rushing per game.
While next week should not pose too much of a challenge for Missouri’s defense between the trenches, two of the better rushing teams will be playing the Tigers in the coming weeks.
After facing Vanderbilt Missouri heads back to Columbia to play LSU on Oct. 7. LSU ranks third in the SEC with 191.8 yards rushing each outing. Tennessee plays Missouri on Nov. 11 as the Volunteers lead the SEC with 229.5 yards rushing a game.
First Impression about Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt welcomes Missouri to Nashville as the Commodores are on a three-game losing streak heading into Week 5. Vanderbilt has lost to Wake Forest, UNLV, and Kentucky most recently.
The 2023 season under Clark Lea has not gone to plan for Vanderbilt so far. While Missouri looks better than Vanderbilt on paper, the Tigers recent wins have all been by seven points or fewer. Saturday’s game could come down to the wire if that trend continues in Week 5.
Closing out games will be something that Missouri will need to work at. Eli Drinkwitz will be looking to make it four-straight wins over Vandy.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on SEC Network.