Game Review: Missouri vs. Middle Tennessee State

    Missouri narrowly escaped a tough challenge from Middle Tennessee State (MTSU) on Saturday night, securing a 23-19 victory. The Tigers’ defense came up with a big stop with a little over three minutes remaining. Senior running back Cody Schrader’s seven-yard run for a first down in the final minutes sealed Missouri’s first 2-0 start since 2018. Let’s delve into the key performers and highlights.

    Mizzou Football edges MTSU in hard-fought 23-19 victory - Rock M Nation

    Photo Cred: Rock M Nation

    The Tigers’ Defense

    Defensive coordinator Blake Baker’s unit shone brightly during the game. Blue Raiders quarterback Nicholas Vattiato was sacked four times. Defensive lineman Nyles Gaddy was a standout with two sacks, while defensive backs Sydney Williams and Daylan Carnell each contributed with one sack. Carnell and Darius Robinson led the Tigers in tackles on Saturday. Carnell and Darius Robinson led the Tigers in tackles, with Carnell tallying eight total tackles (four solo) and Robinson recording seven total tackles (three solo).

    Photo Cred: Mizzou Athletics (#21 Gaddy)                    Photo Cred: Daily Journal

    Missouri’s defense set the tone early by forcing two consecutive three-and-outs in MTSU’s opening offensive possessions. The Blue Raiders’ offense was forced to punt five times throughout the game and had a turnover on downs in their final possession. The Tigers’ defense also concluded the matchup with five total pass breakups. DB Kris Abrams-Draine led the team with two. 

    Brady Cook

    Redshirt junior QB Brady Cook picked things up after a tough start to the game. He finished the night with 204 yards and two touchdowns. Things were looking rough early for the QB, as he was sacked three times in the first quarter. Cook also missed key opportunities by not connecting with open receivers. With 24 seconds remaining in the first half, the redshirt junior finally got things together. He powered his way into the endzone for a one-yard touchdown to give Missouri a 10-7 lead.

    Photo Cred: Yahoo Sports (#12 Cook)                     Photo Cred: KTGR (Wease Jr.)

    Cook kept things rolling to start the second half. He connected with wide receiver Theo Wease Jr. for a five-yard touchdown in Missouri’s first possession of the third quarter. On the very next drive, Cook completed a 49-yard touchdown pass to running back Nathaniel Peat on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Despite the strong second half, the St. Louis native fumbled the ball in the endzone, which resulted in a safety. This cut the Tigers’ lead to 23-19 with six minutes left. 

    Missouri’s Ground Attack

    Schrader reached 2,000 career rushing yards on Saturday with an 84-yard performance. The senior made several critical plays, including a 10-yard gain in the third quarter on second-and-three. The Truman State transfer also made the biggest play of the game. He rushed for seven yards on second-and-six with a little over two minutes remaining to seal the game.

    Photo Creds: L- Screenshot taken from a KMIZ ABC 17 News highlights video (#7 Schrader), R- St. Louis Post-Dispatch (#8 Peat)

    Peat also had a strong performance on Saturday, as he rushed for 51 yards and had a receiving touchdown. The Stanford transfer showcased his skills with a 15-yard rush in the first quarter.

    MTSU Gave Missouri All It Can Handle

    The Blue Raiders were no easy task for the Tigers, as they were resilient and formidable. Despite being 21-point underdogs, the Blue Raiders mounted a fierce challenge, giving Missouri more than it bargained for.


    Vattiato had a strong showing with 214 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown pass came in the second quarter when he connected with WR Kalani Norris, giving the Blue Raiders a 7-3 lead. The redshirt sophomore’s biggest play came with 6:57 left in the game. On fourth down, he threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to WR Justin Olson to cut Middle Tennessee State’s deficit to 23-17.

    Photo Creds: L- St. Joseph News-Press (Vattiato), R- Middle Tennessee State University Athletics

    MTSU’s defense also put up a fight, sacking Cook four times during the game. Linebacker Drew Francis led the team with two sacks, while LB Sam Brumfield and DL Quindarius Dunnigan each contributed one. Head Coach Rick Stockstill’s defense also got major production from safety Tra Fluellen. He finished the game with nine total tackles (six solo).

    This Saturday

    Missouri aims to maintain its undefeated record as it hosts No. 15 Kansas State at 11 A.M. at Faurot Field this Saturday, with the game airing on SEC Network.

    Kansas State at Missouri Preview and Predictions! - 2023 Week 3 College Football Predictions - YouTubePhoto Cred: YouTube

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