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 66-24 loss to Tennessee.
Quarterbacks: Brady Cook had his best game of the season. He completed 19 of 32 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns and zero interceptions. The last part is important considering he entered the game with seven interceptions and six passing touchdowns.
Cook also added 106 rushing yards on 16 carries. He led three drives that went at least eight plays and 60 yards or more for touchdowns. He hasn’t been able to do something like that all season.
Cook’s best game still had flaws. He missed a number of wide-open reads and should’ve had two interceptions on his stat sheet. Ultimately, he didn’t have any turnovers and he was the Tigers’ best offensive player on Saturday. That’s not saying much, but it still was a good outing if you consider Cook’s struggles this season. GRADE: C
Running backs: Cody Schrader, Nathaniel Peat and Elijah Young combined for 16 carries and 58 yards and a fumble. Cook doubled that rushing output alone. Young was playing particularly well until he had the aforementioned fumble on a halfback toss play in the fourth quarter that saw him bobble the ball twice before Tennessee recovered. There could be an argument that the run game was phased out when the team started losing big in the fourth quarter, but entering halftime the group only had eight carries for 28 yards. So, it wasn’t like it was doing a lot with the first-half carries when the game was closer. GRADE: F
Wide Receivers: Barrett Banister led the way with seven receptions for 73 yards while Tauskie Dove chipped in four receptions for 72 yards and his first touchdown since 2020. Dominic Lovett had four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown, but he also had a false start and an offensive pass interference. Mookie Cooper also had a false start. Luther Burden III had two receptions for 15 yards on three targets.
For as many penalties as this group had, it was nice to see Dove show some resemblance of who he was last season and it was good to see Banister making plays on more than a couple of situational third downs. GRADE: C-
Tight Ends: Tyler Stephens dropped a pass that would’ve resulted in a first down. There was a third down run play with Stephens and Ryan Hoerstkamp in the game together to block and neither one of them engaged with anyone and the Tigers didn’t convert the third down. Hoerstkamp also had two false start penalties. GRADE: F
Offensive line: The offensive line only committed one penalty, a false start by left tackle Javon Foster. Penalties have been a problem for this group, but it wasn’t on Saturday. This doesn’t mean the offensive line had a good day. It played well for the first half like the rest of the offense, but it still gave up seven tackles for loss and two sacks. Mizzou entered the game allowing 8.44 tackles for loss per game and 2.11 sacks. GRADE: D
*When reading the defensive grades, keep in mind the defense gave up 66 points, 724 total yards (9.7 yards per play) and 33 first downs.
Defensive line: The defensive line forced two of the team’s three sacks and 3.5 of the team’s six tackles for loss. DJ Coleman had three tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss to lead defensive linemen. This was the fifth straight game Coleman had at least one sack and the sixth straight game with at least 0.5 tackles for loss. Isaiah McGuire had three tackles (two solo), a sack and a tackle for loss. It was his sixth straight game with at least 0.5 tackles for loss and his third straight with 0.5 sacks. This unit still was part of the reason why Tennessee ran for 264 yards. GRADE: F
Linebackers: Chad Bailey had six tackles and a tackle for loss and Ty’Ron Hopper had three tackles, but this unit is just as much at fault if not more than the defensive line for allowing 264 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. The defensive line produced two of the team’s three sacks and almost two-thirds of the team’s tackles for loss. GRADE: F
Secondary: Safety Jaylon Carlies had a team-high 11 tackles, a pass deflection and 0.5 tackles for loss, but this was easily his worst game of the season. He was out of position a lot and like his fellow defensive backs, he couldn’t really stop anything. Safety Martez Manuel had seven tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss, but he got beat by a tight end for a touchdown.
Safety Joseph Charleston and cornerbacks Kris Abrams-Draine and Ennis Rakestraw let Bru McCoy and Jalin Hyatt get whatever they want it seemed like. McCoy and Hyatt both had at least seven catches and 110 receiving yards. Hyatt added a 68-yard touchdown which saw no one within 15-20 yards of him. Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz said that was due to a safety not realizing what was going on and being out of position, although he didn’t specify who it was.
Tennessee quarterbacks had a field day with this group. Quarterback Hendon Hooker was able to complete 25 of 35 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Backup quarterback Joe Milton III completed all three of his passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. This was all without the Volunteers’ best wide receiver, Cedric Tillman, playing. GRADE: F
Special teams: Punter Jack Stonehouse saw the most action from the special teams unit with nine punts for 41.2 yards per punt. He had a couple of punts inside the 20 and a couple of punts that were longer than 50 yards. Kicker Harrison Mevis made all three of his PATs and a 32-yard field goal. Burden dangerously fielded a punt while a host of Volunteers was in front of him for a loss of four yards. Overall, the special teams unit was just there. The group did nothing to positively or negatively impact the game. GRADE: C
Coaching: Not the performance any Tiger fan wants to see from newly extended head coach Eli Drinkwitz and defensive coordinator Blake Baker. The offense was humming through its first drive of the second half and scored the most points (24) against a Power 5 opponent midway through the third quarter. Missouri was down 28-24 against No. 5 Tennessee midway through the third quarter before the Volunteers suddenly remembered they want to make the College Football Playoff.
Missouri would punt on five of its last six drives (not including the two-play drive to end the game) and a fumble. Missouri would give up 38 unanswered points to end the game. This was definitely Baker’s worst game and it’s not all his fault there were a lot of execution problems, but giving up 66 points with the No. 14 defense in the FBS isn’t okay. GRADE: F