Have an offense that struggling to score points? Send them to Columbia, Missouri, and watch the results.
After mustering just 24 points against Mercer last week, Auburn had no issues carving up a Missouri defense that appears to be playing 11 against 10 most of the time. On the other side, the home Tigers failed to correct their offensive problems in a 51-14 win—a final score that still seemed to flatter Mizzou.
Having rode him the past two weeks, the visitors didn’t need Kamryn Pettway at all to put this game out of reach in the first half. Instead Auburn allowed Jarrett Stidham to pick apart the defense while also putting its incredible running back depth on full display.
Kerryon Johnson did nothing explosive—his longest run being just seven yards. He finished with 48 yards on 18 carries for a meager 2.67 yards per attempt. But the junior picked up the tough yards where it mattered.
Having sat out the past two games, Johnson looked fresh in powering home five short touchdown runs. He scored several times on direct snaps. His scoring runs covered a total of 12 yards (1, 2, 1, 7 and 1). Four of them came in the first half as Auburn built a 31-7 lead.
With the way Missouri’s offense has played over the past three weeks, that lead might as well have been 310-7. The home team looked lost from the word opening snap—an all too common occurrence in the Barry Odom era.
What We Learned About Auburn
Well, that’s tough. On one hand, Saturday’s performance suggested the disastrous showing against Mercer was an anomaly. The five turnovers were to blame. No real concern. On the other hand, playing against Missouri is not a good barometer.
However, struggling on the road against the Tigers would have clearly been a cry for help. But, if that’s needed, it can wait a week. For now, celebrate Johnson and the rest of the offense.
Stidham finished an ultra-efficient 13 of 17 for 218 yards and one wide-open 57-yard touchdown pass to Nate Craig-Myers. For comparison, the Tigers defense made Drew Lock throw the ball 39 times (23 completions) just to reach 216 passing yards.
The running backs put up 263 yards on the ground. Kam Martin led the way with 74 yards. Eli Stove added 56 yards. Quarterbacks Malik Miller and Stidham contributed 40 and 35 rushing yards, respectively.
If we aren’t sure what we learned about the Auburn offense, we’re dang sure we know what we learned about the defense. This unit is the real deal. It’s easy to look that way against Missouri, but the Tigers have plenty of playmakers that Auburn managed to keep under wraps.
They will face a good test when a clearly mad Mississippi State team visits The Plains.
What We Learned About Missouri
This team will not win an SEC game this season. If they do, the opposing head coach should be fired immediately. This squad would finish middle-of-the-pack in Conference USA. That’s a reflection of Mizzou’s attitude, though, more than its talent level.
There’s going through the motions, and then there’s what the Tigers have done the past two-and-a-half games. When the camera has panned over the Missouri sideline during the past two weeks, it’s found nary a person visibly upset.
Obviously, players and coaches need to keep their cool during the game. But, at some point, it has to matter enough for leaders to step up and hold people accountable. None of that appears to be happening. Until it does, this team will continue to get blown out on a weekly basis.
There are few individual performances that Missouri can point to as successful. As mentioned before, Lock didn’t have a great night. Make that three times in four games. His top receiver on the night, Johnathan Johnson had 10 catches for 85 yards. He was the only Mizzou player with more than two catches.
Damarea Crockett had a few explosive plays but also coughed up the ball. The sophomore scored the Tigers’ first touchdown on a 19-yard screen pass. It was his only catch of the game. Crockett added a team-high 57 rushing yards.
At this rate, the Missouri offense has a good chance to pass the team’s defense for most embarrassing unit in the SEC. The Tigers have already laid claim to worst team in the conference. And it’s starting to become evident Odom is on his last toe. If he makes it to the end of the season, it will be a miracle.