#73 Missouri Football 2017 Preview

Missouri Tigers
Overall Rank: #73
#14 SEC
By the end of last season, Missouri was looking like a pretty good team. It took some time for Coach Barry Odom’s schemes to come together on offense and there is work to do on defense, but the Tigers have the potential to pull off an upset or two.
2016 Record: 4-8, 2-6
2016 Bowl: None
Coach: Barry Odom (4-8 at Missouri, 4-8 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: DeMontie Cross
Defensive Coordinator: Erik Chinander
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Damarea Crockett, RB, 1,062 yards
Passing: Drew Lock, QB, 3,399 yards
Receiving: J’Mon Moore, WR, 1,012 yards
Tackles: Thomas Wilson, S, 58
Sacks: Marcell Frazier, DL, 7.5
Interceptions: Joey Burkett, LB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Ish Witter, WR Dimetrios Mason, WR Johnathon Johson, DB Anthony Sherrils, S Cam Hilton, P Corey Fatony
Key Losses: DB Aarion Penton, DB John Gibson, LB Donavin Newsom, DL Charles Harris
Missouri is loaded at the skill positions. At running back Damarea Crockett hopes to build off a great freshman campaign in which he rushed for 1,062 yards and ten touchdowns. Also back is Ish Witter, who added 750 yards and six scores. Quarterback Drew Lock had some struggles against the tougher defenses in the SEC, but he had some very good games too. On the year he threw for 3,399 yards and 23 touchdowns. With plenty of talent returning at wide receiver, expect Lock to have a better season in 2017. J’Mon Moore caught 62 passes for 1,012 yards and eight touchdowns and is a big, fast receiver who will be a consistent threat down the field. Dimetrios Mason and Johnathan Johnson are solid playmakers too. With seven players with starting experience on the line, this should be a very potent offense.
Despite the potential of the offense, Missouri has a lot of work to do on defense. The pass rush was much better late last season when the coaching staff let them loose. Marcell Frazier led the way last season with 7.5 sacks, but he will need some help from the rest of the new look line, including end Nate Howard. Eric Beisel stepped into a starting role in the middle of last season and did a very good job. He will need to emerge as a senior leader now while Terez Hall and Kansas state transfer Kaleb Prewett fill in on the outside. The Tigers also have to replace both starting cornerbacks on a secondary that struggled on a regular basis. There are some nice pieces here, but not enough to turn Missouri into a good defense that can compete in the SEC.
The Bottom Line:
Missouri’s offense might be good, which will be fun to watch, but it is asking too much for the defense to do enough to put Missouri in a bowl game. With non-conference games against Missouri State, Purdue, Idaho and Connecticut, the Tigers should be looking at four wins right there. That only leaves a couple more wins for bowl eligibility, but of course the SEC is tough and getting those two wins will not be easy.
Projected Bowl: None
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 205.1 (38th in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 295.4 (20, 2)
Total Offense: 500.5 (13, 1)
Scoring Offense: 31.4 (48, 5)
Rushing Defense: 232.8 (112, 13)
Pass Defense: 246.8 (86, 12)
Total Defense: 479.7 (118, 14)
Scoring Defense: 31.5 (90, 12)
Turnover Margin: -0.25 (85, 11)
Sacks: 2.25 (51, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.17 (16, 1)