Missouri football: What we learned about the Tigers from their loss to Boston College
After watching Mizzou lose in heartbreaking fashion to Boston College, 41-34, in overtime on Saturday, we learned a few things that we didn’t know about the Tigers.
The first is that the strength of this team is its offense, no question about it. If we didn’t know that, we do now. This team was carried by quarterback Connor Bazelak and running back Tyler Badie.
Bazelak threw for 303 and 1 touchdown. Again he showed poise in the pocket and did what he needed to do to keep his team in the game. However, he had 2 interceptions in crucial moments.
Bazelak has to make better decisions. He needs to shake off this tough loss and move on to the next game. He played well enough Saturday, but “well enough” is not going to win tough games like this. He and the Tigers are going to have to do a better job of protecting the ball to avoid heartbreaking losses like Saturday’s and their Week 2 defeat to Kentucky.
Though Badie rushed for 72 yards and 2 touchdowns, we also learned that Mizzou is no longer just a running team. The fact that the the Tigers can be successful throwing the ball gives future opponents something to think about.
BC might not have the top team in the ACC, but it isn’t bad, either. Playing the Eagles close on the road has to give the Tigers confidence that they can play with anybody.
We also learned that Missouri’s defense is still a work in progress. Although it had moments throughout this game when it looked like it was getting better, it wasn’t enough.
Just like in the Kentucky game, it was not the pass that killed the Tigers, it was the run. Eagles running back Pat Garwo III rushed for 175 yards and 2 touchdowns.
BC figured out, just like Kentucky, that the way to beat the Tigers is not through the air but on the ground. Missouri’s secondary did a fairly nice job holding BC quarterback Dennis Grosel to 175 yards passing, with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. But when the defense was called upon to make a play, it couldn’t. It has to learn how to finish the job.
Give this defense credit for always playing hard and hanging in there despite not having a lot of talent at linebacker.
Another thing we learned is that turnovers are game killers. Bazelak did all he could to keep his team in the game, but his interception in OT cost Mizzou dearly.
We have to remember Bazelak is just a sophomore and is still learning. But when you are learning on the job, you are going to have growing pains, and that’s what seems to be happening with Bazelak.
You have to think that this team is going to sneak up on someone eventually. But it is going to take a near-flawless effort on both sides of the ball to do that. The Tigers’ offense looks like it can put up the points, but the defense is going to have to find a way to at least make 1 or 2 stops in a game to give the offense a chance.
That apparently is going to be the case for the rest of the season. The defense is going to have to play well enough to give this Missouri offense a chance. And that might be the most important lesson we learned from this game.