Every week PowerMizzou.com will hand out a position-by-position report card from Missouri’s most recent game. Here are the grades for Missouri from Saturday’s 45-14 win over New Mexico State.
Quarterbacks: Brady Cook followed up the best game of his career last week with another decent showing in week 12. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. He also had seven carries for a team-high 71 yards. Cook didn’t commit any turnovers, he had his second three-passing touchdown game of the season and he led the team in rushing again. These are the types of games that Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz hoped Cook would be able to do on a regular basis. Over his last two games, Cook is 38 of 55 for 468 yards and five touchdowns with 176 yards on 23 carries in his last two contests.
His performance wasn’t flawless though. Cook missed a number of throws that would’ve been touchdowns. There could be a number of reasons why Cook didn’t look down the field often that only he and the offense knows, but because it happened at least three times on Saturday and multiple times throughout the season, it’s apparent that this is something that happens more times than not. One of Cook’s few deep balls he did throw was in double coverage to Dominic Lovett who had to slow up and attempt to make a play on the ball. GRADE: B
Running backs: Cody Schrader had a decent day on the ground carrying the ball 18 times for 70 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a decent block that freed tight end Ryan Hoerstkamp for a touchdown. The running backs as a group rushed the ball 16 times for 58 yards last week and he seemed to be the only one to bounce back. Nathaniel Peat had two carries for no yards and is responsible for one of Mizzou’s two tackles for loss. Tavorus Jones had a 32-yard reception and he also carried the ball four times for 12 yards. Jones took Elijah Young’s workload on Saturday after the latter fumbled in week 11. Jones did the same thing in the fourth quarter on Missouri’s 44-yard line. Taj Butts had two carries for seven yards. GRADE: B
Wide Receivers: After having three receivers catch four passes for at least 47 yards in week 11, the Tigers only had two wide receivers with at least two catches. Barrett Banister followed up a career day in week 11 that featured seven receptions for 74 yards with another career night on Senior Night with seven receptions for a career-high 91 yards. Luther Burden III had three receptions for two touchdowns. He also added three carries for 12 yards. Tauskie Dove and Lovett each had a reception. that GRADE: B
Tight Ends: For just the second time this season a tight end caught a touchdown pass. The first time was Tyler Stephens from 10 yards out in week five versus Georgia and the second was Hoerstkampwith a 32-yard touchdown on Saturday on his first target of the season for his first career touchdown. He would finish with two catches for 32 yards and the touchdown. Hoerstkamp did commit a false start penalty which is his third in the last two games.
This position group has largely been absent in a number of games this season, but Hoerstkamp provided a capable receiving target in week 12.GRADE: A-
Offensive line: This was the offensive line’s best performance of the season. At worst it was the second-best performance behind its week nine outing. On Saturday, the offensive line didn’t allow a sack and it allowed just two tackles for loss. One of those tackles for loss was actually Peat’s fault. Coming into the matchup the offensive line was allowing two sacks and eight tackles for loss per game.
The only reason this grade doesn’t get an A is because Mitchell Walters got an illegal man downfield penalty on what would’ve been a 29-yard reception for Banister. Mizzou would’ve been on New Mexico State’s two-yard line without the penalty. Mizzou would have to settle for a field goal on that drive. GRADE: A-
Defensive line: Almost anything any defensive player could’ve done on Saturday would’ve been better than the 724 total yards the Tigers gave up to Tennessee last week.
It wasn’t a monstrous night for the Tigers as far as sacks with DJ Coleman being the only defensive lineman with a sack, but the defensive line accounted for 4.5 of the Tigers’ seven tackles for loss. Coleman finished the game with four tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. It’s his seventh straight game with at least 0.5 tackles for loss and his sixth straight with at least 0.5 sacks. Arden Walker had three tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while Darius Robinson had four tackles and a tackle for loss.
There were a couple of plays when the defensive line had the quarterback dead to rights for a sack or had a ball carrier wrapped up for a tackle for loss, but couldn’t finish the play. GRADE: B
Linebackers: Ty’Ron Hopper had three tackles in limited action after he left the game with an undisclosed injury. Chad Bailey had five tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while Devin Nicholson had five tackles.GRADE: B+
Secondary:A much better day from a secondary that almost allowed nearly 500 passing yards last week. Kris Abrams-Draine led the team in tackles with six despite exiting the game with an undisclosed injury. He also had a team-high two pass deflections. Jaylon Carlies played better and kept everything in front of him this week after letting some touchdowns get by him in recent weeks. He finished the game with four tackles. Ennis Rakestraw had a tackle and a pass deflection. Rakestraw now has a pass deflection in seven straight games. Dreyden Norwood had four tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack while Tyler Jones had a pass deflection.
The biggest plays of the game from the secondary came from Daylan Carnell and Jalani Williams with each of them getting interceptions and Carnell returning his interception for a 40-yard touchdown. Carnell also had a pass deflection.
What stops this grade from being an A was a number of plays that New Mexico State didn’t convert. The first play from scrimmage could’ve been a touchdown if the quarterback made the right progression. There were a couple of plays like that. The Aggies were 8 of 16 on third down and Drinkwitzadmitted that he thought the zone defense wasn’t that great. GRADE: A-
Special teams: Jack Stonehouse punted once for 43 yards and it landed inside the 20. Harrison Mevis converted five PATs and a 43-yard field goal. GRADE: A
Coaching: Even Drinkwitz was relatively unimpressed with the 31-point win. It was a fine game that seemed to be more about what New Mexico State couldn’t do than what Missouri did. The 45 points are the most the Tigers have put up since week three and the five touchdown drives are promising, but Drinkwitz understands this production has to happen against Power 5 teams.
The defense had a shutout through two and a half quarters before allowing New Mexico State to put together a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. The defense held the Aggies to 259 yards of total offense which is 28 yards fewer than the Aggies’ season average.
It was a fine performance, but it was against the 127th-ranked offense that didn’t have the talent to matchup. Against an opponent like this, you’d expect just a little more domination with a lot of big plays. Instead, it was a game that the Tigers won in a more methodical style. GRADE: B+
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