With a surprising loss by Georgia at home to South Carolina and a not so surprising Florida loss at LSU, the Missouri Tigers took over sole possession of first place in the SEC East with a 38-27 win at home over Ole Miss. Missouri will be favored in each of its next two games, both on the road, against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The way this Saturday went, Missouri is in better position than it ever could have hoped for at this point in the season. Before Missouri starts its season defining two-game stretch at Georgia and then home against Florida, Missouri will watch those two battle each other on a Tiger bye week on November 2. A Florida win would be huge for the Tigers and provide a little breathing room.
When Missouri received its postseason ban Jon Sunvdold responded by saying that SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey should do the right thing and invite the Tigers to play in the SEC Championship game.
This win keeps the Tigers in the race to win the SEC East. There is still a long way to go but this keeps the team motivated as the season moves along and the school waits to hear from the slow-moving NCAA.
Player of the Game:
RB Larry Rountree rushed for 126 yards on 21 carries including a 41-yard touchdown run early in the second half to give the Tigers an 18-7 lead. Rountree finished with two touchdowns on the night. He ran over the Ole Miss defense at times. The Rebels had a hard time bringing him down.
Ole Miss fumbled the ball on a handoff attempt with under a minute left in the first quarter and Missouri recovered it at their own 35. Missouri scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive on a screen pass from Kelly Bryant to Tyler Badie. The Tigers never trailed after that.
The defense was terrific against the run. They forced Ole Miss to replace QB John Rhys Plumlee with their passing QB Matt Corral. Ole Miss is not going to beat Missouri passing the ball. Eventually Ole Miss found some success by switching quarterbacks throughout their offensive possessions but it was a great run defense by Missouri that forced Mississippi to change its approach. The Tigers defense limited Ole Miss to just 204 yards rushing after putting up over 400 yards on the ground last week.
RB Dawson Downing had a beautiful 54-yard rushing touchdown to give Missouri a 28-7 lead. Downing had to fight his way into the end zone but the score was upheld after a replay. Downing ran for 70 yards total in the game with 54 of them on that long, tough touchdown run.
QB Kelly Bryant was tough once again. He threw for 329 yards on 23-for-35 passing. He had one touchdown and one interception. Bryant looked like he was moving without any problem after suffering a knee injury last week.
WR Johnathan Johnson had eight receptions for 110 yards. While he struggled returning kicks Johnson had no trouble catching passes. Ole Miss had trouble defending him.
Room for Improvement:
KR Johnathan Johnson muffed the Ole Miss punt after Missouri forced a three-and-out. Mississippi drove and eventually scored a touchdown on a 21-yard pass. In the fourth quarter Johnson downed a kickoff at the two yard line for some unknown reason.
K Tucker McCann missed two extra points. Both missed PATs hit the upright.
The Tigers travel to Vanderbilt for what should be a win for the team but Missouri can’t take anything for granted. Missouri has had seasons where they have lost a game they should have won that completely messed up the season. The Tigers have a lot to play for right now with a possibility of going to the SEC Championship game if they are successful with their appeal. I don’t see a chance that they take this game lightly.