Garrett Bridges, 23 Sports

The Missouri Tigers came back home to the place that invented homecoming and delivered the kind of performance their fans had been waiting for. After losing their last three games, two of which the Tigers could’ve won but for mental mistakes and questionable calls, people were starting to write off the season. However, head coach Barry Odom and the hometown Tigers had other ideas.

It had to be an interesting game for Odom, who was the defensive coordinator at Memphis from 2012-14. Memphis also came into the game looking strong, almost handing No. 10 UCF their first loss the week before. However, Memphis would not have the same poise on this windy Saturday.

Mizzou won the toss and decided to defer to the second half. Memphis started with the ball, and punted it away six plays later. The punt was blocked, setting up Mizzou to start at the Memphis 27-yard line. Three plays later, sophomore RB Larry Rountree III ran it in from two yards out to give Mizzou the early 7-0 lead. On the next drive, Christian Holmes picked off Memphis QB Brady White, and would proceed to take it to the house to extend Mizzou’s lead to 14-0. Memphis would go three-and-out on the next drive, and Missouri would score again on an impressive five play, 76-yard drive, capped off by a 14-yard touchdown run to balloon their lead to 21-0.

The momentum would sway after that, as Memphis would score 17 unanswered points to close the gap significantly to 21-17. Things were looking for bleak for Mizzou, as they faced a 4th-and-1 in their own territory. When Odom lined up to go for it, Memphis called a timeout. After the teams had some time to talk about it Odom stayed with his call. It paid off, as Mizzou converted on a nice catch by junior slot WR Johnathon Johnson. That would wake Mizzou up, as the next play senior QB Drew Lock found sophomore TE Albert Okwuegbunam for a 58-yard TD to make the score 27-17. An Adam Sparks INT gave Mizzou the ball back early the next drive, and one play later Mizzou had another touchdown on a 44 yard Drew Lock pass to Jalen Knox.

Mizzou would build the lead to 48-20 by halftime. They outscored Memphis 17-13 in the second half, including an Albert Okwuegbunam touchdown catch and a Larry Roundtree touchdown run, but by that point the game was all but decided.

The offense rediscovered their magic touch they had at the start of the year. They totaled 646 yards on the day, 238 more than Memphis, despite the backups seeing a ton of time for Mizzou. Drew Lock played great, going 23-29 for 350 yards and four TD passes. Albert Okwuegbunam played like the 1st-team All SEC player he was tabbed as in the preseason, totaling 159 yards and three TD catches on just six catches. Larry Rountree had nine carries for 118 yards and three TD runs, including an impressive 59-yard TD run. Mizzou would go on to win easily, 65-33.

Mizzou will have a very tough test at home next week, as they face the No. 12 team in the nation, the Kentucky Wildcats. It was a great homecoming week and finish on Saturday for Mizzou, and they will need to play that well and possibly better to beat a once-under-the-radar team in Kentucky.