NCAAF - SEC
SU Record: 5-5
ATS Record: 5-5-0
|Sep-4||vs Central Michigan|
|Sep-18||vs Southeast Missouri State|
|Oct-9||vs North Texas|
|Oct-16||vs Texas A&M|
|Nov-13||vs South Carolina|
Missouri Tigers Returning Stats Leaders
|Larry Rountree III||209||972||4,7||46||14|
OVERALL RETURNING PRODUCTION FOR 2021/22
Missouri Tigers Football Team
Missouri had an up and down season last year, and despite a favorable schedule, they finished with a record of 5-5, but dropped games to Tennessee and Mississippi State by a combined 42 points to a pair of 3-7 teams.
They return 13 starters, including starting quarterback Connor Bazelak, but they’ll need to find a suitable replacement for leading running back Larry Rountree III and his 972 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Missouri Tigers 2020 Summary
The Tigers .500 record reflected their placement statistically in the conference and nationally, with both the offense and defense hovering near the mid-point in both categories. Their only victory of note was a 45-41 shootout with LSU, but otherwise Missouri feasted on teams with losing records.
All of their losses came by at least 19 points and were outscored by an average of almost six points a game. Their 32.3 defensive scoring average was ninth in the conference and 85 in the nation, something that will have to change in 2021 if they are going to be competitive in the SEC.
There is very little positive for the Tigers to take away from 2020 except that the players were able to get almost a full season under first-year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz and quarterback Bazelak got through his freshman year. The Tigers will also need to get past the two ugly losses that ended their 2020 campaign.
Quarterback Bazelak had an efficient freshman season, completing 67% of his passes, but he threw for only seven touchdowns with six interceptions. He spread the ball around nicely in 2020 but could benefit from a true “go to” receiver with deep play capability.
In a secondary that only intercepted three passes in 2020, strong safety Martez Manuel will be an integral part of a unit that ranked 84th in the nation in pass defense.
Despite the efforts of Rountree III, Missouri ranked 91st in the country in rushing and will need senior running back Tyler Badie to step up and give the Tigers a good option other than Bazelak’s arm. In limited touches in 2020, Badie averaged five yards a carry and crossed the goal line four times on the ground and two more through the air.
One of those players who might be able to help Bazelak is Ohio State transfer and former in-state recruit Mookie Cooper, who was a top 100 prospect out of high school. He enrolled at Missouri in January and had the benefit of being able to participate in spring practice, which should help him have an immediate impact.
Junior college transfer Jadarrus Perkins should add depth to the secondary, either as a starter or a frequent contributor as a backup. The defense will have to be better for Missouri to improve, so the addition of Perkins could be a big benefit.
Blaze Aldridge comes in from Rice to shore up a linebacker corps that desperately needs help after key departures. The senior was second in the nation with 21.9 tackles for loss in 2019.
Rountree III will be sorely missed, averaging 97 yards a game and giving the Tigers consistency on offense. He was a sixth-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Chargers.
Leading tackler Nick Bolton leaves a hole at linebacker in particular and the defense in general after being selected in the second round of the draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He had 95 tackles, eight for loss, and two sacks in 2020 for a defense that otherwise wasn’t all that impressive.
Safety Joshua Bledsoe was chosen in the sixth round of the draft by the New England Patriots after recording two and a half tackles for loss and making one of the few interceptions for Missouri in 2020.
SEC East Outlook
Georgia and Florida will once again battle for the division’s spot in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, with the other five teams probably vying for third place. The Bulldogs had a great recruiting year and despite losses on the second-ranked defense in the conference, will still be tough to score on.
Florida stumbled down the stretch and will need to find a way to challenge Georgia after losing record-setting quarterback Kyle Trask. Missouri and Kentucky are the best of the rest of the division’s teams, with Tennessee looking to finally show some improvement.
At the bottom of the SEC East are South Carolina, who returns a lot of talent off a poor defense after a 2-8 season, and Vanderbilt, coming off a winless 2020. Neither team looks like they will work their way out of the bottom two positions in the standings.
Missouri Tigers Offense
Bazelak is a capable, if not a very good quarterback, but Missouri will need to surround him with more weapons if they want to take a step to the next level. In four of their five losses and two of their wins in 2020, they failed to score over 20 points as they struggled against the top defenses in the league.
If Cooper breaks out at wide receiver and Badie shines as a starter at running back, there could be promise for the Tigers to pull an upset or two and move into contention. Otherwise, it will probably be another mediocre campaign for Drinkwitz’s second year at the helm.
Missouri Tigers Defense
There is a lot of room for improvement on the defense, but the transfers coming in at linebacker and in the secondary could help the unit makes great strides forward. They gave up at least 35 points in seven of their ten games a year ago, including a total of 100 in their final two outings.
With six returning starters and the experienced newcomers, the Tigers have a good chance to move up in the defensive rankings if they can remain healthy through the season. The strength of the defense is up front, with a lot of seasoned players returning from last year.
On the back end, the secondary will be anchored by Manuel and he’ll get help from senior Shawn Robinson, who is making the switch from quarterback to free safety, bringing a lot of athleticism to the position.
Frequently Asked Questions
2018, losing to Oklahoma State 38-33 in the Liberty Bowl
Missouri was a co-champion in the Big 8 in 1969.
They won the SEC East in 2013 and 2014, losing each time in the SEC Championship game.
Gary Pinkel had a record of 117-71 from 2001 to 2015.