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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Eli Drinkwitz had the luxury of a mammoth halftime lead Saturday, affording him the chance to empty the bench like never before in his 13 games as Missouri’s head coach. The Tigers played 36 players on offense and 35 on defense in the 59-28 victory over Southeast Missouri.

Every Sunday, using Pro Football Focus’ data, we’ll take a closer look at the Tigers’ game, starting with complete snap counts for every player on offense and defense, then a deeper dive into their production and ratings. An asterisk denotes a player who made his Mizzou debut on offense or defense.

First, though, through three games, here are Mizzou's four highest-graded offensive and defensive regulars (50 snaps minimum)
 
Offense: RT Hyrin White, LT Javon Foster, QB Connor Bazelak, RB Tyler Badie
 
Defense: DE Isaiah McGuire, CB Akayleb Evans, FS JC Carlies, DT Akial Byers

Let’s dive in to Saturday's snaps and grades …

OFFENSE

Offensive line

Right guard/right tackle Connor Wood, 67

Left tackle Javon Foster, 48

Left guard Xavier Delgado, 48

Center Mike Maietti, 48

Right tackle Hyrin White, 48

Left guard Luke Griffin, 26

Center Connor Tollison, 26*

Right guard EJ Ndoma Ogar, 24*

Left tackle Zeke Powell, 24

Right tackle Bobby Lawrence, 7

Right guard Mitchell Walters, 2*

Center Drake Heismeyer, 2

Left tackle Richard Taylor, 2*

The Tigers were able to give the third team O-line some snaps on Saturday with four linemen making their first on-field appearances at Mizzou. The Tigers were without their most experienced guard in Case Cook, but on the edges, Mizzou’s top tackles continue to score well. Foster was the offense’s highest-graded player overall (91.5), followed by White (85.5). Both were excellent in run blocking with Foster scoring a team-high 93.4 grade, followed again by White (83.9). As far as pass blocking, the Tigers didn’t give up any sacks or hits on the quarterback for the first time all season. On 39 drop-back passes, Mizzou yielded just five pressures, two allowed by Wood, who got his most extensive playing time at the FBS level. 

Quarterback

Connor Bazelak, 48

Brady Cook, 13

Tyler Macon, 13*

Bazelak was out of the game by halftime but put together one of the highest-graded games of his young career. His total offensive grade of 81.9 was a career-high mark, while his passer grade of 81.1 was his second-best grade. He connected on a couple deep balls, completing 2 of 5 throws beyond 20 yards for 92 yards. All three QBs posted very high NFL passer ratings: Macon (156.3), Bazelak (144.9) and Cook (130.4). Macon’s rating was just short of a perfect NFL rating of 158.3. Anything higher than 100 is considered an excellent passing day.

Running back

Elijah Young, 30

Tyler Badie, 21

B.J. Harris, 9*

Michael Cox, 8*

Dawson Downing, 4

For the first time all season Badie was not MU’s most active running back. The senior didn’t see the field in the second half but like Bazelak continued to be incredibly productive. Badie’s best stat of the day: He averaged 7.6 yards after contact every time he carried the ball. That’s very impressive against any defense. Cox made the most of his fourth-quarter work, running for three first downs including the 55-yard rumble to the end zone. He posted the group’s highest offensive rating (81.1) and highest rushing rating (79.0).

Wide receiver

Keke Chism, 53

Dominic Lovett, 31

Mookie Cooper, 30

Tauskie Dove, 27

J.J. Hester, 16

Barrett Banister, 14

Chance Luper, 10

Micah Wilson, 10

Boo Smith, 5

Lovett and Cooper both played a career-high number of snaps in their first starts of the year. Three backups posted the group's best offensive grades: Smith (83.1), Hester (81.6) and Luper (80.2). Here’s an interesting stat that helps define what each receiver’s identity in this offense: average distance of target, which measures the receiver’s average number of yards downfield when the ball is thrown his direction. Chism is the still the ultimate possession receiver. He was targeted a team-high eight times and finished with a team-best four first downs while targeted at an average distance of 11.1 yards. Cooper (8.0) and Lovett (1.8) are still highly involved in the short passing/screen game. Smith (43.0) is primarily a deep threat. 

Just one drop (Chism) for the entire team.

Tight end

Messiah Swinson, 28

Niko Hea, 26

Daniel Parker Jr., 25

Ryan Hoerstkamp, 14*

Shawn Hendershot, 5

Kibet Chepyator, 4

Busy day for Swinson as the team’s primary tight ends saw limited duty. The group was targeted just four times in the game.

DEFENSE

Defensive line

Tackle Mekhi Wingo, 29

End Arden Walker, 26

Tackle Realus George Jr., 20

End Chris Turner, 17

Tackle Kobie Whiteside, 17

Tackle Daniel Robledo, 15*

End Johnny Walker Jr., 15

End Jatorian Hansford, 15

End Travion Ford, 14*

Tackle Akial Byers, 13

Tackle Darius Robinson, 12

End Trajan Jeffcoat, 11

End Isaiah McGuire, 8

Mizzou’s No. 1 rotation controlled the line of scrimmage in the first half without causing much carnage in the backfield. Against a running QB it was more important for the Tigers to play contain on the edges and for the most part, until the backups were gashed in the second half, the front four was stout when the game was still competitive.

George had his best game in a Mizzou uniform with the day’s third-best defensive grade (72.5) and best pass rush grade (88.0). For the game, Mizzou was credited with 12 pressures — Walker and Robinson each had two — and 10 hurries, led by Robinson’s two. The Tigers got only one sack and one other hit on the QB.   

Linebacker

Chad Bailey, 18

Devin Nicholson, 16

Jamie Pettway, 16

Blaze Alldredge, 14

Chance May, 11

Will Norris, 11

Dameon Wilson, 10*

Zach Lovett, 8*

The starters were out of there pretty quickly, but Alldredge finished with the team’s second-best defensive grade (75.3), while Bailey had the second-best tackling grade (78.3). Just a season-low four missed tackles by the entire defense and only one by a linebacker (Nicholson). The Tigers blitzed just six times, resulting in one only completion on those six snaps.

Secondary

Cornerback Allie Green IV, 34

Safety Jalani Williams, 31

Safety Martez Manuel, 29

Cornerback Ish Burdine, 25

Safety Stacy Brown, 24

Cornerback D.J. Jackson, 23*

Safety J.C. Carlies, 22

Cornerback Akayleb Evans, 18

Nickel Chris Shearin, 16

Nickel Kris Abrams-Draine, 14

Safety Mason Pack, 9

Cornerback Daylan Carnell, 8*

Safety Shawn Robinson, 7

Cornerback Davion Sistrunk, 7*

The Tigers didn’t have cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr. but again emptied the bench in the secondary.  A week after getting beat in coverage a few times at Kentucky, Abrams-Draine was Mizzou’s highest-graded defensive player (90.9) and was tops in coverage grade (90.8) thanks to grabbing his first career interception. It was a short day for Carlies, but Williams played well as his backup with the team’s best rush defense grade (73.0) and best tackling grade (84.3). Green played a season-high snaps and had the defense’s only breakup and second-best coverage grade (74.2).

Dave Matter

@dave_Matter on Twitter

dmatter@post-dispatch.com

This article originally ran on stltoday.com.

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