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Missouri Tigers 24, South Carolina Gamecocks 10: Missouri Harvests Low-Hanging Fruit

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Tigers beat Gamecocks, but what does it mean for each team going forward?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This was a game between two teams that lost, in football, to Kentucky. It's not interesting in the normative sense -- after all, neither team is a SEC East contender -- so let's focus on themes. Both Missouri and South Carolina started true freshmen quarterbacks in this game, and both are trying to grab much-needed wins. One of those quarterbacks had support, while the other had to deal with an ornery defensive line:

That was just the first quarter. Missouri's defense would go on to collect three interceptions, and probably should have had four picks. Mizzou's defensive weakness continues to be tight ends exploiting the Tigers linebackers in the middle. It's a soft underbelly that needs to be addressed.

Drew Lock finished the day 21-of-28 with 136 yards passing and two touchdowns. That's not an impressive stat line minus the accuracy, but Maty Mauk will be hard-pressed to see the field again this season barring injury. Missouri is figuring itself out, and a low-ceiling identity (relative to previous seasons) is coming into focus.

South Carolina, on the other hand, is still flailing. Starting quarterback Lorenzo Nunez threw three interceptions, and was 15-of-24 before getting injured and being replaced by Perry Orth. Nunez was bailed out on his lone touchdown pass, and started the second half with a bad intentional grounding. He played like a true freshman, but the problem was the support he received from teammates.

Skai Moore, Pharoh Cooper, and Dante Sawyer are legitimate players, but they can't do it all. Both sides of the line looked beneath pedestrian. If you are South Carolina, where do you go from here, and how do you explain this? Both sides of the ball appear under-recruited, under-developed, and the few shining stars are getting swallowed by the irresistible tide of mediocrity.

Missouri now hosts Florida with equally tough games at Georgia, at Vanderbilt, followed by Mississippi State and BYU. If Missouri is able to construct some form of offense the team will win more games, but the defense can't keep their fingers in the dam for much longer.