By: Ben Burke
MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA – Early signs point to not much improvement from the Missouri offense under new head coach Barry Odom, as the Tigers fell to West Virginia 26-11 Saturday.
One big cause for the lack of productivity from the Tiger offense was a no-show effort from its running backs for most of the game. Until late in the game, the quarterback combination of Drew Lock and Marvin Zanders had combined for more rushing yards than the running back combo of Alex Ross and Ish Witter.
Ross, a transfer from Oklahoma, finished with 67 yards on 18 rushes in his Tiger debut. Witter ran for 32 yards on 10 rushes.
After a first quarter that saw the Tigers punt four times, Lock started to get into a rhythm in the second, going 8-12 in Missouri’s first three drives. However, a fumble in Mountaineer territory and a missed field goal left the Tigers trailing 13-3 at the half.
The Missouri offense went back to sleep in the second half until the very end of the game. Down 26-3, the Tigers drove 80 yards in just over two minutes, capped off with an eight-yard touchdown from Lock to Alabama transfer Chris Black. After Turner Adams recovered his own onside kick, Missouri drove down to the West Virginia goal line once again, only to be stopped on fourth down, essentially ending the game.
Outside the second quarter and end of the game, not much was happening for the Missouri passing game. Lock finished with 280 yards and a touchdown, but needed to throw 51 passes to get there, and only completed 23 of them.
While he completed a low percentage of his passes, Lock didn’t turn the ball over Saturday either. He threw four touchdowns and eight interceptions last season.
Black was quiet for most of his Tiger debut, but racked up 102 receiving yards on six catches. J’Mon Moore was Lock’s favorite target Saturday, hauling in eight receptions for 104 yards.
Defensively, it was an up-and-down day for Missouri. The Tigers allowed 494 yards Saturday; that’s more than they allowed in any game last season. However, Missouri also forced three turnovers, and had a couple of goal line stands that prevented the game from being even more lopsided.
The Missouri kicking game also had a rough day Saturday. Tucker McCann, in his Tiger debut, went 1 for 3 on kicking attempts, including misses from 24 and 42.
With the loss, the Tigers start the Barry Odom era 0-1. Missouri will head back to Columbia for its home opener Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. against Eastern Michigan.
(Photo: Anthony Romano, KCOU Sports)