Following Missouri's 31-10 defeat at the hands of South Carolina Saturday, SB Nation Mizzou blog Rock M Nation cited the Tigers' offensive line and special teams as the principal reasons for the loss:
While the run blocking actually looked rather encouraging as the game progressed, the pass blocking was a disaster. South Carolina's defensive line is fantastic, but while I'd have loved to see last year's line do battle with the Gamecocks, this year's mix-and-match unit just had no chance. The good news is that next week's opponent, UCF, doesn't have a great line; the bad news is that I don't automatically know that Mizzou's offensive line is going to win that battle.
As for special teams ... I don't know what can be done at this point in the season. At some point in the first four games of the year, Mizzou has had troubles with punt snaps, field goal snaps, punt coverage and kickoff coverage. Almost no future opponent has a return man as good as Ace Sanders, but the issues have piled up, and it's kind of too late in the year to find better personnel.
It wasn't all negative, though. For one, the Missouri ground attack found its form:
Mizzou really did seem to figure some things out on the ground. Kendial Lawrence, Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy combined to gain 100 yards in 16 carries, and the zone read was clicking nicely, especially with the quick slants thrown in. That gives opponents a lot to prepare for in the future, which is never a bad thing.
The Tigers return to action next week in Orlando against Central Florida.
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