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Another Maddening Loss For Mizzou. Why is Drew Lock Getting Worse Instead of Better?

Sorry, I have to vent about Mizzou.

1. After Saturday’s horrendous 15-14 loss to Kentucky, the Tigers are 0-4 in the SEC. They should be 2-2, but gave away games to South Carolina and Kentucky with shaky coaching, frequent mistakes, and surprisingly ineffective play from senior quarterback Drew Lock.

2. The next time your neighbor Larry insists that Barry Odom has Mizzou moving in the right direction, just remind him of a few facts:

— There are only four Power 5 Conference teams that remain winless in league play so far this season: Arkansas (SEC), Rutgers (Big Ten) and Louisville (ACC) are each 0-5 in conference games. Missouri is the fourth team, at 0-4.

— Odom is now 2-17 against FBS teams that have a winning record, 0-8 against ranked teams, 7-17 against Power 5 teams, and 6-14 in the SEC.

— Not counting wins over hapless FCS blood-donor programs that come to Columbia to accept a big check and a beatdown by Mizzou, Odom’s true overall record is 12-28 … and this is with the talented if overrated Drew Lock.

3. The Kentucky loss was plagued by incompetent coaching Terrible coaching decision No. 1, and I’m repeating what you and thousands of others already have said: of course, it was the awful call by offensive coordinator Derek Dooley, who ordered a pass pass on third-and-2 with 1 minute 41 seconds remaining and Mizzou protecting a 14-9 lead. No good. Incomplete. By running the football in that situation — or even telling Drew Lock to fall down if no receiver broke open — Mizzou would have forced KY into burning its final timeout.

But, no. The clock stopped after the incompletion, and the Wildcats made valuable use of their last timeout on the game-winning drive, using it to regroup after a critical sack of QB Terry Wilson at the Mizzou 27 with nine seconds left.  Kentucky scored two plays later (on a Wilson TD pass) to shock the Tigers and their fans. I’m sorry, but if Dooley can’t think straight under pressure then it’s up to Odom to intervene with a simple message to his offensive coordinator: “Let’s run the damn football.”

4. The second abysmal coaching decision? Mizzou opting to use a prevent-style defense on Kentucky’s final drive — which made it much easier for Wilson to find open receivers and deliver throws away from coverage. Wilson isn’t an accurate passer, so you have to make him drill the ball into tight spaces. Instead, Odom and the defensive staff coached scared, and did Wilson a tremendous favor. Wilson led the Cats on the winning 81-yard drive by connecting on passes of a 12, 16, 27 and 13 yards on four consecutive plays early in the drive — taking Kentucky from its own 12-yard line to Mizzou’s 20 in very short time. After the sack that pushed Kentucky back to the 27-yard line — and after the timeout that Kentucky never should have had in its pocket —  Wilson took advantage of more off coverage from Mizzou to hit a receiver for a 17-yard completion and first down. You know the rest. This is just bad coaching.

5. The most astonishing aspect of Mizzou’s loss was the second-half futility by the Tigers offense.

Eight possessions.

Eight three-and-outs.

Not a single first down.

In the second half Mizzou’s offense snapped the ball on 24 plays and gained a net 34 yards.

Unacceptable. Kentucky has an outstanding defense, sure. But c’mon now … Not one first down? That wasn’t a problem in the first half when Mizzou scored two touchdowns for a 14-3 lead.

6. Which brings us back to Drew Lock. He came up short, way short, again. With his experience and talent it’s difficult to understand how Lock has regressed from his junior season. When Lock decided to return for his senior season, we all expected him to get even better and use the improvement to enhance his stock in the 2019 NFL Draft. But the opposite is happening; Lock has gotten worse.

7.  Against ranked teams, Lock for his career has completed only 47.6 percent of his passes, averaging only 5.2 yards per pass attempt, with eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His record against ranked teams is 0-9.

8. As a junior, Lock led SEC quarterbacks in passing efficiency (139.7), adjusted yards per passing attempt (10.1), yards per passing attempt (9.5), total yards, touchdown passes (44) and most touchdowns responsible for (45).

So far this season Lock is 6th in the SEC in passing efficiency (139.7), 6th in adjusted yards per passing attempt (7.9), yards per pass attempt (7.7) and is third in total yards and most touchdowns responsible for (19.) He’s tied for second with three other SEC quarterbacks in touchdown passes (16.)

9. In games against Power 5 competition this season, Lock has been outplayed by the opposing team’s quarterback in every game — that, based on the advanced quarterback rating, QBR:

  • Purdue:  Lock had a 82.8 QBR; David Blough, 85.0
  • Georgia:  Lock 26.5 QBR; Jake Fromm, 78.4.
  • South Carolina:  Lock 33.9 QBR; Michael Scarnecchia, the SC backup, 69.7 QBR.
  • Alabama:  Lock 8.2 QBR compared to Tua Tagovailoa (82.7) and Jalen Hurts (92.7)
  • Kentucky:  Lock 38.2 QBR; Terry Wilson, 71.1

10. The QBR number is tied to winning percentage because it presents a team’s chances of winning based on the quarterback’s all-around play. Loosely translated: in Saturday’s loss to Kentucky, Lock’s 38.2 QBR meant that Mizzou had (roughly) a 38% percent chance of prevailing. But Lock completed only 15 of 27 passes for a meager 165 yards, with no touchdowns. Wilson passed for 267 yards and a touchdown in completing 22 of 31 passes.

I don’t know why Lock is getting worse instead of better, but it doesn’t reflect well on Odom, Dooley or the quarterback himself.

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie

More: Karraker – Mizzou’s Problem: Tigers Can’t Finish Strong Enough to Win