By: Sammy Stava
After a devastating 15-14 loss on Saturday against nationally ranked Kentucky on the final play of the game, Missouri heads into the final month of the regular season with a record of 4-4 (0-4 SEC) with four games remaining. At this point last season, the Tigers were 3-5 and also 0-4 in the SEC. They finished with four consecutive conference wins, against Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas. Those happen to be the remaining opponents on Missouri’s schedule this season, as the Tigers will need to split in order to make a bowl game. Needless to say, there’s zero room for error the rest of the way for this Missouri Football team.
Up next for the Tigers? A visit to The Swamp to take on the Florida Gators (3:00 p.m. CT kick-off on 550 KTRS). Missouri beat Florida 45-16 in Columbia last season in the midst of their six-game winning streak. Though last season’s Florida team didn’t even make it to a bowl game. This season the Gators are (6-2, 4-2 SEC) and ranked No. 13 in the country. That means this will be Drew Lock’s last chance to beat a Top 25 team in his career, coming in with a 0-10 record against ranked opponents.
Getting senior wide receiver Emanuel Hall back would be a huge boost for Drew Lock’s chances at his last shot for a signature win. After missing four straight games due to injury and his father’s death, Hall was listed on this week’s Missouri depth chart and head coach Barry Odom said that he practiced today and looked good. This season, Hall has 18 receptions with 430 yards and three TDs. Missouri is 3-1 when he plays and 1-3 when he doesn’t.
Missouri could at least be 3-1 even without Emanuel Hall in the lineup. In arguably the two most critical games of the season, the Tigers have lost to South Carolina (37-35) and Kentucky (15-14) by a combined three points. In both games, Missouri had a two-score lead at halftime and received the ball to start the second half. Those happen to be the only two losses Barry Odom (13-2) has after leading at halftime. For him to recover from those losses, he may need to finish the season strong like he has done previously. In his first two years as head coach, Missouri is 6-2 in November games under Odom and a respectable 9-5 in the second half of the season
“We’re not playing bad football. We’re a good team,” – Drew Lock said at Tuesday’s press conference. This team needs to prove it, because Missouri has zero room for error.