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Middle Tennessee vs. Missouri 2016 final score: What we learned from the Tigers’ 51-45 loss

An embarrassing Homecoming affair for ol’ Mizzou.

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The string of embarrassing defeats for Missouri continued on Saturday evening as the school celebrated Homecoming. This time however, the opponent wasn’t from the SEC. In fact, they weren’t even one of the Power Five programs. The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders of Conference USA were the ones to do the damage, as the Blue Raiders walked in and stomped away with a 51-45 victory.

Keeping things short and sweet, there’s no other word to describe this other than “embarrassing.” Mizzou is now 2-5 on the year with hopes of a bowl game shrinking down at the speed of light. Despite the fact that they picked up 348 yards on the ground and 281 through the air, there’s almost no excusing this loss.

3 things we learned:

1. Mizzou’s defense is a sieve: Coming into the game, Middle Tennessee’s offense was in the Top 25 in Explosiveness (25) and Success Rate (27). With that said, the fact that they were able to take it to the Mizzou defense with such ease is concerning going forward for the Tigers. They’ve had great defenses in the past and their reputation has certainly preceded them. The problem is we can’t go on much longer thinking that they’ll shore it up. The fact is this is a poor defensive unit and may ultimately hurt the Tigers more than their relatively woeful offense.

2. Damarea Crockett is a stud: It’s hard to think positive after such a pitiful performance but the Tigers may have a budding star in their backfield. Damarea Crockett has been terrific this year and Saturday’s performance against Middle Tennessee gave credence to that notion again. Coming into the game, Crockett had piled up 390 yards on just 54 carries. This came with a 14-145 performance against Florida last week. This time around, he picked up 156 yards on the ground on 29 carries, and four—count ‘em, four--rushing touchdowns.

3. Worse times may be lying ahead: Make no mistake, the worst may be yet to come for Mizzou. As Brandon Kiley of GridironNow points out, the Tigers’ strains are tied to poor recruiting efforts and strategies. Barry Odom will be given his shot to turn the tide, so to speak, but the roster right now is not one built for success this year and possibly next year as well. The Tigers stand at 2-5 right now (Hey, so do Notre Dame and Oregon. Maybe it’s just the fashionable thing) and with a bowl game looking like a longshot, it’s now a wonder how many games the Tigers will win, even with a relatively easy schedule lying ahead.