Mizzou football: 5 records Tigers could break in 2020 ... and 2 they'll never break
The Missouri Tigers are entering a new era in 2020, with former Appalachian State coach Eliah Drinkwitz taking over at the helm of the program.
Coming off a 6-6 season in 2019, the Tigers will be out from under the NCAA postseason ban and ready to compete for a bowl berth once again. So, can Drinkwitz put together a season to remember this fall?
Here are a few records the Tigers could break in 2020, along with a couple that they won’t come close to breaking:
Records that could be broken in 2020
1. Career rushing yards — 4,289 (Brad Smith from 2002 to 2005)
2. Rushing yards in a single season — 1,578 (Devin West in 1998)
We’ll start with a pair of rushing records that Larry Rountree III could set in 2020. Rountree is entering his senior season with the Tigers and has contributed heavily in each of his first 3 years in Columbia.
He enters the 2020 season with 2,748 rushing yards. That puts him 1,541 yards behind Smith’s career mark. So, if he breaks that career rushing mark, he’d likely break West’s single-season record as well.
How likely is it to happen, you ask? Well, last year, top Appalachian State RB Darrynton Evans ran for 1,480 yards in Drinkwitz’s offense. Rountree ran for 1,216 yards as a sophomore in 2018, so it’s certainly possible he could have a big year.
3. Field goals made — 26 (Grant Ressel in 2009)
Mizzou will be breaking in a new kicker this year to replace Tucker McCann. It seems at the moment like it will be Sean Koetting, who will be a redshirt junior this fall.
In 2017, McCann attempted 33 field goals, but he only made 24 (Ressel went 26-for-27 in 2009). If Koetting gets that many opportunities, there’s no reason he couldn’t make 27 or 28. He’s a big question mark this year, but if he turns out to be good and the Tigers get plenty of field-goal opportunities, he could break the record.
4. Most first downs in a game — 41 (vs. Tennessee in 2016)
I don’t know what Drinkwitz’s offense is going to look like this fall. His Appalachian State offense was pretty balanced and dynamic both passing and running. That seems to be the case with the Tigers’ 2020 offense, too.
As mentioned above, the Tigers will have Larry Rountree III and Tyler Badie as weapons out of the backfield and guys like Kam Scott and Jalen Knox on the outside capable of developing into top receivers.
If new QB Shawn Robinson lives up to expectations and can keep the offense moving, it’s not out of the question that the Tigers could have a game where they control the ball for 40 minutes against a lesser opponent and compile 42 or more first downs. It’ll be fun to see how the offense fares with Drinkwitz calling plays this fall.
5. Most wins in first year as head coach — 8 (Warren Powers in 1978)
The Tigers finished 8-4 with a Liberty Bowl victory in Powers’ first year at the helm of the program in 1978. After finishing 6-6 last season, Mizzou will have some work to do in 2020 to reach 8 wins, but it isn’t impossible.
With a nonconference schedule that includes Central Arkansas, Eastern Michigan, BYU and Louisiana, the Tigers should go 4-0 in that stretch. Home games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky look winnable if Mizzou plays well, and a trip to South Carolina and a game in Kansas City against Arkansas are also games the Tigers could win. Add in a potential bowl berth, and there’s certainly a path to 9 wins in Drinkwitz’s first year.
It won’t be easy, but it is possible.
Records that won’t be touched
1. TD passes in a season — 44 (Drew Lock, 2017)
Lock’s 2017 season was a special one in the Mizzou record books. He threw for 44 touchdowns, setting the SEC single-season record. Of course, in 2019, LSU QB Joe Burrow threw for 60 touchdowns, shattering Lock’s briefly held record.
This fall, though, I don’t see Shawn Robinson or any potential Mizzou quarterback coming anywhere close to 44 touchdown passes. That record will stand at Mizzou for quite some time.
2. Career receiving touchdowns — 30 (Chase Coffman from 2005 to 2008)
The Tigers are losing 2 of their most-experienced receivers in Johnathon Johnson and Albert Okwuegbunam. Albert O may have been able to go for Coffman’s record if he’d stayed for his senior year, as he had 23 through his first 3 years of action, but he’s gone to the NFL Draft.
Now, no one is even close to taking down Coffman’s mark. The record could fall sometime in the future, but it’s not going to be broken by any of Mizzou’s returning contributors at the receiver position.