J.J. Angelo – 23Sports 

Despite an unusually warm October morning, the conditions seemed anything but favorable for a Missouri Tigers win. Yet, four hours and a flea-flicker later, Mizzou stood victorious over the Tigers of LSU, 45 to 41.

Entering the matchup with No.17 LSU, Mizzou was missing starters and several more reserves on both sides of the ball. Whether injury or COVID-19 related issues, the absences were notable. Defensive tackle, and 2019 Mizzou sack leader, Kobi Whiteside was out as well as receivers Keke Chism and Damon Hazelton. 

It did not seem to matter. Mizzou head coach Eli Drinkwitz said about the injuries: “(It’s a) next man up mentality, not about the talent, it’s how you function as a unit.” 

To add insult to actual injury, on the first snap of the game backup quarterback Shawn Robinson injured his ankle lining up out wide as a receiver, thinning down the offense even further. Even still, the Missouri unit was not phased. 

Perhaps the greatest embodiment of Mizzou’s play today was LB Nick Bolton who was questionable all week with an undisclosed injury yet played “50 of the 67 snaps” today “if not more” according to Drinkwitz. 

Mizzou set the pace for the game early, with an old school flea-flicker that saw Tauskie Dove haul in a 48 yard dot from recently named starting quarterback Connor Bazelak. It wouldn’t be the last time either Tigers team would strike deep. 

Credit where credit is due. LSU’s Myles Brennan and Terrace Marshall Jr. had a lethal quarterback to wide receiver connection throughout the entire game. There were several times, especially after a 75 yard Marshall touchdown, LSU looked like they might pull away for good. 

Nevertheless, Mizzou never once flinched. “It was our will versus theirs and we wanted it more… bottom line” Drinkwitz stated on his team’s unwavering effort.

The end of the game quite literally came down to the bottom line. A driving LSU offense lined up with a first and goal from the one yard line and 44 seconds to work with. They were initially stuffed twice at the line, then unable to convert on a third down passing play.  

LSU’s final try to win the game, saw Myles Brennan roll right and target the guy who’d been previously unstoppable: Terrace Marshall Jr. Yet, against all odds, safety Joshuah Bledsoe batted the pass away to seal the deal in a benchmark win for the Mizzou program. 

Numerous Missouri Tigers stepped into bigger roles today due to the injuries. The aforementioned Dove led Mizzou receivers with six catches for 83 yards, receiver D’ionte Smith hauled in six himself and Jalen Knox averaged 11 yards per catch on five receptions. 

Most notably, Tyler Badie found new life today. Badie, who led Mizzou in all-purpose yards last season, had been quiet thus far but returned to form punching in two touchdowns on the ground and through the air. 

Connor Bazelak impressed through and through in his first start this season. Tossing four touchdowns and 406 yards on a 85% completion rate. He gave no reason to doubt he’ll be the guy going forward. 

A great aid to Bazelak’s play was the porous LSU defense which allowed 586 total yards and left otherwise unheard of receivers wide-open time and time again. 

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron was not hesitant to call it like it was, emphasizing his defense as “embarrassing” and saying “we have to get it fixed.”

On the flip side, Eli Drinkwitz was not quick to acknowledge the significance of his first victory as Mizzou’s head coach, saying bluntly “unless they cancel the season today, it’s not a signature win.” However, he was not lacking in praise for his Tigers team, repeatedly mentioning how proud he was of their output. 

It’s an outcome that’ll undoubtedly have immense impact on the Missouri Tigers football program, both on the outlook of this season and the future of recruiting. 

Mizzou improves to 1-2 on the year and welcomes the Vanderbilt Commodores to Columbia for homecoming next week. LSU now falls to 1-2 this season after an undefeated one last year, they matchup with the Florida Gators next.

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