Missouri improved to 3-0 by defeating the UCONN Huskies 9-6 on Saturday in front of a near-sellout crowd of over 70,000, but concerns about the offense are mounting.
“Most of the mistakes on offense, you all can see. Head coach Gary Pinkel said after the win.
Despite an offense that is completely out of sync, the Mizzou defense has been spectacular so far, having only given up 29 points in three games this season. The Tigers needed every bit of help from the stellar defense to hold off a late drive by UCONN to preserve the victory. It was the lowest point output in a game Mizzou won since defeating Notre Dame 3-0 in 1978. Despite the close victory, the Tigers remained ranked in the coaches poll, coming in at #23.
Following the game, Mizzou junior quarterback Maty Mauk commented on the smattering of boos that occurred after a series in which the offense continued to struggle. “That’s why they’re in the stands and I’m on the field.” Mauk remarked.
- Faurot Field looks good in “Tiger Stripes.” 70,000 fans showed up to watch #22 Mizzou take on UCONN at 11 AM. Better yet, most of them wore the correct color making the stadium really stand out.
- Missouri’s offense is REALLY struggling. As a team, Mizzou ranks 118th in the Nation in total offense. Clearly, there is no real identity right now. The running game is brutal without starting running back Russel Hansbrough available and the passing attack is not much better. Through three games quarterback Maty Mauk has thrown for 474 yards, 5 TD’s and 4 interceptions.
- The SEC schedule is upon us. The Tigers will travel to Lexington to play Kentucky next Saturday on SEC Network at 7:30 p.m. The Wildcats are coming off a hard-fought loss at home to Florida and Missouri will need to find some offensive rhythm fast. There are still a lot of potential wins on the schedule for Missouri if the offense can somehow find its way. Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Florida and South Carolina have looked pedestrian through the first three weeks and Mizzou will have Mississippi State at home.
- This defense is dominant. As bad as the offense has been, Missouri’s defense has been extremely salty. The competition hasn’t been great but the Tiger defense ranks 4th Nationally in total defense through three games and linebacker Kentrell Brothers has been a star (averaging 14 tackles per game). This appears to be a unit that will be able to keep Mizzou in most games that it will play this season and could solidify itself to be one of the best in the country by mid-season.
- Drew Lock must continue to get playing time. The offense looked extremely smooth during Lock’s first drive in the second quarter, although a missed field goal prevented the drive from yielding any points. As Mauk continues to struggle, Pinkel needs to further develop Lock as the quarterback of the future. His footwork, accuracy and pocket presence is far advanced for only being a true freshman and could potentially be the answer at quarterback this season if the offense continues down its current path.
Note* Missouri received a commitment from 3-star athlete Albert Okwuegbunam before the game on Saturday. Okwuegbunam is a 6’5, 215 pound tight end from Springfield Illinois.
Follow Clint Switzer on Twitter: @cswitz77