Rapid Reaction: Mizzou bounces back with incredible all-around effort in win vs. West Virginia
After stumbling against Wyoming to start the 2019 season, the Missouri Tigers kicked off their home campaign in style on Saturday, routing West Virginia 38-7.
The Tiger defense looked good, holding the Mountaineers scoreless until the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the offense took care of the ball and fixed many of the issues that plagued them last week.
Here are a few quick takeaways from the win at Faurot Field on Saturday:
See what happens when you force turnovers?
The Tigers got off to a good start defensively, snagging 2 early interceptions that led to points. Then, later in the game, LB Nick Bolton (more on him later) snagged a pick-six.
Mizzou won the turnover battle 3-0 on Saturday. That was a huge part of their success in the 38-7 victory. Forcing turnovers is going to be critical for the Tigers moving forward, as the defense needs to get off the field as soon as possible.
Allowing the offense to have the ball will only lead to good things for the Tigers, so Barry Odom and his staff need to continue preaching turnover margin to the team.
Albert O sighting!
Star TE Albert Okwuegbunam had 3 catches for 74 yards in the Week 1 loss at Wyoming, making a couple of big plays. However, he made an even bigger one in the first quarter against West Virginia.
Check out this 26-yard touchdown pass from Kelly Bryant to Albert O:
KB's first TD in Faurot Field ✅ pic.twitter.com/1XtRi4Wgj2
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 7, 2019
Bryant and another tight end, Daniel Parker Jr., hooked up in the second quarter after Bryant showed some great escapability in the pocket:
Nice play by Kelly Bryant… Escapes the sack and hits his receiver for the first down! pic.twitter.com/3IZ5bSYXJT
— #FlashSZN (@ftbeard_17) September 7, 2019
Want one more Albert O highlight? Me too. Check out his second TD reception of the first half (following another Kelly Bryant pocket escape):
Kelly Bryant side steps the pass rusher & finds Albert Okwuegbunam for the TD. pic.twitter.com/c33OhvjsA8
— Joe (@JDec89) September 7, 2019
Having a healthy Okwuegbunam in the mix is huge for the Mizzou offense.
Larry Rountree III looking good
After the Mizzou rushing attack faltered in Week 1, Rountree came out huge against West Virginia, rushing for 99 yards and a touchdown. He also had 2 catches for 16 yards.
No, he didn’t go over the 100-yard mark, but he didn’t need to, as the Tigers won comfortably. This was a good building block for him, though, so watch out moving forward.
Line up correctly, please
On one drive early in the second quarter, the Tigers were lined up offsides. But that ended up being the least of their worries, as they committed 15-yard infractions on both of those downs, too.
Lining up correctly should be really simple, and watching the ball as a defensive lineman is what you’re taught on Day 1.
Fortunately for the Tigers, a sack by LB Cale Garrett on third down forced a longer West Virginia field goal attempt, which the Mountaineers’ kicker missed.
They had more offsides penalties in the second quarter, too. Against better offenses, this will be a problem if the Tigers don’t get it fixed.
Other than the penalties, the Tiger defense played well in the first half, holding the Mountaineers to 78 total yards while racking up 100 penalty yards:
Missouri has more penalty yards (100) than West Virginia has offensive yards (78) and still leads 31-0.
— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) September 7, 2019
What a stat.
I see you, Nick Bolton
The Mizzou linebackers (and entire defense, to be fair) struggled against Wyoming’s rushing attack. They more than made up for it on Saturday against the Mountaineers.
Nick Bolton played particularly well. He had a pick-six in the second half after reading QB Austin Kendall’s eyes:
Nick Bolton having a day! pic.twitter.com/XhxmX2O1nb
— Represent Mizzou (@RepresentMizzou) September 7, 2019
He’ll be a key player alongside Cale Garrett (who also played well) this year.
Next weekend, Mizzou hosts Southeast Missouri State in what should be a relatively easy tuneup before SEC play starts in Week 4.