Justin Bjorseth, 23 Sports Reporter
The past several weeks have drawn much of Columbia’s attention to the hardwood, but on Saturday the focus shifted to the gridiron for Mizzou’s annual Black and Gold Spring football game. The offense (Gold) defeated the defense (Black) 24-0. There were a lot of positives on both sides of the ball throughout the entire game and many faces, both old and new, shined in front of the 16,000-plus in attendance.
The first-string offense came out looking like the explosive group that Mizzou fans became familiar with last September. Dawson Downing showed quick moves on his three carries, rushing for 38 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown. The biggest play on the 75-yard scoring drive came via a 25-yard strike from Drew Lock to sophomore Johnathon Johnson.
The offense was not done there. On their second possession, sophomore Jack Lowary went deep to junior Emanuel Hall for a 42-yard touchdown on third-and-7. Hall was quite the threat through the air, catching three passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
That was the end of the early success for the offense, as the defense buckled down and forced punts on the next four possessions. The defense received a couple of big plays from junior college transfer Rashad Brandon. This could be a good sign for the Tigers, who are trying to fill the hole Charles Harris left up front. The Tigers did not score again until Tucker McCann nailed a 47-yard field goal with just over six minutes left in the first half. The sophomore looks to move past what was a subpar freshman year.
At the half, the Gold team held a 24-0 lead. The offense found many ways to get it done in the opening half, posting 112 rushing yards and 204 yards through the air. The defense posted three sacks and five tackles for loss. The defense forced two turnovers, both in the fourth quarter, with back-to-back interceptions from linebacker Grant Jones and safety Ronnell Perkins.
There’s still a long way to go before the season opener, but Mizzou football is back at work, looking to build towards coach Barry Odom’s first bowl game.