No. 21 Missouri needed a half to get into gear, but the Tigers rallied in the second half to earn a 27-20 win at Arkansas State.
Gary Pinkel’s Tigers trailed 17-10 at halftime and continue to struggle moving the ball with any consistency, but thanks in part to the heroics of linebacker Kentrell Brothers, they did just enough to get out of Jonesboro with a victory.
What the win means for Missouri: The Tigers desperately need to get healthy in the backfield. Russell Hansbrough, who was injured in the opener against Southeast Missouri State, is clearly not back at 100 percent and was limited to five carries for 15 yards. Ish Witter was shaken up on Saturday, too. With Mizzou’s young receiving corps still figuring things out, the Tigers’ offense is relying too heavily on quarterback Maty Mauk to pull rabbits out of his hat.
What the loss means for Arkansas State: Close but no cigar. Arkansas State is a solid Sun Belt program. The Red Wolves have played in a bowl game in four straight seasons, after all. Playing before a fired-up home crowd, they hung with the two-time defending SEC East champs all night, but they didn’t have enough offensive firepower to complete the upset. Mizzou held them to 217 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: Brothers continues to be a tackling machine. A week after making 16 tackles and blocking a punt against SEMO, he notched 16 tackles (1.5 for a loss) and intercepted two fourth-quarter passes to preserve the win.
Stat of the game: The Tigers finished with 15 tackles for loss, frequently putting the Red Wolves’ offense in bad positions. Defensive end Charles Harris led the way with 4.5 TFLs (including two sacks) and linebacker Michael Scherer added three.