Defensive Struggles and Penalties Doom No. 21 Missouri in Loss to No. 23 LSU

Photo Cred: LSU

Missouri’s defense had no answer for LSU’s offense in its 49-39 shootout loss on Saturday at Faurot Field. MU fell to 5-1 on the season after its second Southeastern Conference matchup.

Mizzou’s Defense Had a Rough Day

The Missouri Tigers’ defense gave up 533 yards throughout Saturday’s contest. Louisiana State produced 274 rushing yards, which definitely hurt Missouri down the stretch. 

“It goes from one thing to the next,” Missouri head coach Eliah Drinkwitz said. “We weren’t able to force them to throw the ball and we gave up too many yards in the run game.”

LSU Tigers running back Logan Diggs, who finished with 134 yards, also recorded a touchdown in the first quarter. The RB fought into the endzone to cut MU’s led to 8-7. Quarterback Jayden Daniels also had a strong rushing game against MU’s defense. The QB had 130 yards and a 35-yard rushing touchdown to give LSU a 35-32 lead with a little under eight minutes remaining in the game.

Missouri Tigers vs. LSU 10/7/23: Three takeaways, game recap | The Kansas City Star

Photo Cred: Kansas City Star

LSU’s passing game also gave Mizzou a hard time, as Daniels threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns. The QB’s first passing touchdown came with two minutes left in the first half, finding tight end Mason Taylor in the endzone. 

Wide receiver Malik Nabers led the way for the LSU Tigers with 146 yards and a touchdown. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a 29-yard reception to give the LSU Tigers a 42-39 lead with 2:58 remaining. MU also allowed WR Brian Thomas Jr. to put up 66 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter. 

Malik Nabers of the LSU Tigers scores against the Missouri Tigers in... News Photo - Getty Images

Photo Cred: Getty Images (Ed Zurga) #8 Nabers

“The effort was there,” Missouri defensive lineman Darius Robinson said. “The attention to detail is what we struggled with defensively.”

Despite the performance, there were bright spots from Blake Baker’s defense. Linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper and Chad Bailey were the leading tacklers for MU. Hopper had eight tackles (three solo) and Bailey had eight (one solo). Hopper also had the lone sack for the Missouri Tigers. Defensive Back Kris Abrams-Draine had two pass breakups in the endzone, including one on third down, causing LSU to kick a field goal in the third quarter. 

Penalties Were Also Costly 

Drinkwitz’s team also called for a lot of penalties. Throughout Saturday’s matchup, Missouri had 11 penalties, which were costly down the stretch. 

Offensively, the Missouri Tigers lost 35 yards on five penalties. Two holding calls by offensive lineman Cam’Ron Johnson hurt Kirby Moore’s offense the most. In the second quarter, a 10-yard gain from QB Brady Cook was called back due to one of those holding calls. Johnson’s second holding penalty came in the third quarter, erasing Cook’s progress on another play for five yards. An illegal snap by OL Connor Tollison in the fourth quarter on third-and-1 set the Missouri Tigers back five yards on the crucial play. 

Mizzou squanders lead vs. LSU with self-inflicted mistakes | The Kansas City Star

Photo Cred: Kansas City Star

Baker’s defense also was hit with multiple flags, with six penalties for 27 yards. Defensive lineman Johnny Walker Jr. got ejected in the third quarter after his second unsportsmanlike conduct of the matchup. Two crucial penalties by MU’s defense came in the fourth quarter. DB Daylan Carnell was called for a pass interference in the endzone on first-and-7, and DB Ennis Rakestraw Jr. had a disconcerting signal flag called on him on third down.

“We were beating ourselves with a bunch of unforced penalties,” Missouri RB Cody Schrader said. “We are going to get to work this week and clean that off.”

Looking Ahead

Missouri will travel to Lexington, Kentucky to face the Kentucky Wildcats next Saturday at either 6:00 or 6:30 P.M. CT at Kroger Field, with the game broadcast on SEC Network.

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