COLUMBIA, Mo. — The snaps and grades are in for Mizzou’s 34-17 victory over Abilene Christian.
As we’ve done the last couple years, every week using Pro Football Focus’ data, we’ll take a closer look at the Tigers’ game, starting with complete snap counts for every player on offense and defense, then a deeper dive into their production and ratings. Reminder, PFF grades on the following scale using NFL terms: 90-100, elite; 85-89, Pro Bowl; 70-84, starter; 60-69, backup; 0-59, replaceable. Keep in mind, these are just one set of metrics and don’t necessarily reflect the coaching staff’s grades.
Here’s the most telling number of this game: Only 54 players saw the field on offense and defense, which tells you it was far more competitive than most games against FCS teams. The unstated goal for games like this is to empty the bench and get as many players snaps as possible. That didn’t happen Saturday. Here’s how that number compares to Mizzou’s past three games against FSC teams:
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2022 vs. Abilene Christian: 25 offensive players, 29 defensive players, 54 total
2021 vs. SEMO: 36 offense, 35 defense, 71 total
2019 vs. SEMO: 40 offense, 33 defense, 73 total
2018 vs. Tennessee-Martin: 32 offense, 33 defense, 65 total
Here are the snap counts and some grades of notes:
The highest-graded players were quarterback Brady Cook (88.1), slot receiver Dominic Lovett (81.8), tailback Cody Schrader (74.8) and outside receiver Luther Burden III (74.5).
|Javon Foster||left tackle||57||76.4|
|Mitchell Walters||right guard||57||64.8|
|Xavier Delgado||left guard||57||59.7|
|Connor Wood||right tackle||57||50.1|
|Armand Membou||extra tackle/tight end||12||82.4|
The Tigers played without injured left guard Xavier Delgado and started Griffin in his place. The two tackles and Tollison played the entire game, but the backup guards came in for the final couple possessions. That’s something to watch next week at Auburn as Eli Drinkwitz said the staff needs to figure out the best starting five moving forward.
The run-blocking grades were poor across the board, with no linemen earning a grade over 70.0.
The pass-blocking grades were much better with Foster leading the way at 83.3, followed by Wood at 80.2. Powell was tagged for three pressures allowed, while Griffin allowed two.
And then there were the penalties. Linemen accounted for six total: two each for Powell and Wood, one for Tollison and Ndoma-Ogar.
Nice-bounce back game for Cook, who posted career-high numbers for passing yards (292), TD passes (three), yards per attempt (9.7) and passing efficiency rating (184.8). Per PFF, ACU didn’t blitz him one time on 36 drop-back passes. He was 2 of 6 for 104 yards on passes targeted 20 yards or farther and an impressive 8 of 12 for 204 yards on passes 10 yards or farther. He was responsible for 11 first downs and threw under pressure eight times. Here’s an interesting number: 17 of Cook’s 22 completions were over the middle of the field at various depths.
Per PFF’s grading system, Cook’s total offensive grade (88.1) was the highest for a Mizzou starting QB since Kelly Bryant against Troy in 2019 (89.0).
For the first time this season, Young got the most playing time in the backfield. Peat started but seems like he’s on a pitch count with his hamstring — and didn’t do much in the game. We saw the debut of freshman Jones, who had some promising runs late. Might he work his way into the rotation? Schrader was the top-graded running back by far. He had the team’s most yards after contact (47), forced the most missed tackles (three) and had the longest reception (25) among the running backs.
|Luther Burden III||44||49.8|
Less is more, right? Lovett and Burden were the best playmakers on the field but had limited snaps compared to others at their position. Burden spent most of the second quarter getting looked at by the training staff, but with punt returns added to his plate, his workload at receiver was lighter — but his touches and production were increased. Also, he scored the team’s highest grade for run blocking at 88.7. Banister shared the team lead in targets, but we saw him commit an incredibly rare drop. Still a positive day for the sixth-year senior who made his 100th career reception, putting him at 25th place all-time at Mizzou. Dove had a chance for a touchdown catch on a well-thrown back-shoulder fade in the end zone but couldn’t get a foot inbounds.
Just one total target for the tight ends for the second straight week. They’re almost exclusively run-blockers at this point. The Tigers used more four- and five-receiver sets without a tight end on the field for nearly half the game. Chepyator played 41 snaps, 27 as a run-blocker and 14 running routes on a pass play. Neither of the two regulars, Stephens or Chepyator, graded higher than 60 in run blocking. Is that a one-week schematic wrinkle or a sign of things to come?
Missouri’s top-graded defenders who played significant snaps: linebacker Chad Bailey (78.7), tackle Josh Landry (77.8), tackle Kristian Williams (76.5) and linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper (76.1).
|Realus George Jr.||tackle||30||68.6|
Where’s the pressure? For the second week in a row, Mizzou’s D-line rarely caused disruption in the backfield. Only one D-lineman was credited with multiple pressures, Walker with two off the bench. He had the only hit on the quarterback. The D-line supplied five hurries all day. Several lineman earned grades of 70 or better against the run: Williams, George, Landry and McGuire. Only Landry and Jernigan earned pass-rush grades better than 70.
Not the cleanest day for the linebackers either. Hopper had two of Mizzou’s nine missed tackles and posted a low tackling grade overall at 39.8. Norris spelled Hopper for a series early in the game and played well off the bench in his limited action. Bailey scored the team’s highest coverage grade at 90.8.
|Ennis Rakestraw Jr.||cornerback||77||57.5|
ACU tried something most opponents don’t: Challenge Abrams-Draine. The Wildcats targeted him seven times, more than any other defender in coverage, but the damage was limited to just three completions for 37 yards, including a remarkable 30-yard catch along the sideline. Abrams-Draine also saved a touchdown pass with tight coverage in the end zone. Rakestraw notched his first career interception and was targeted six times for four completions for 47 yards. PFF tagged Jackson for the 49-yard deep ball. Otherwise, solid night in coverage for the secondary.