Sometimes when we set up a question and answer with another SEC blog, it’s the same guys we have heard from for years from LSU, Bama, and so on and so forth.
But this week we get to tap into the minds at the university that pretty much invented newspapers and journalism I think. Also, they are very confident going into Saturday’s game between Ole Miss and Missouri - its Sammy Stava at Rock M Nation.
Here’s what our good midwestern pal had to say about the state of the Tiger program.
So look, Ole Miss has lost at Wyoming before, and it is really embarrassing and terrible. But what exactly happened in that game that Ole Miss could potentially replicate?
RMN: The only way to explain for Missouri losing to Wyoming is that everything needed to go horribly wrong in that game and it just did. Turning the ball over three times and allowing 297 rushing yards will do that. Laramie is also a tricky place to play and Craig Bohl is a pretty damn good coach. And it was another Mountain West win over a Power Five team this season, but I’m not excusing what happened. Luckily for Mizzou, it was only one game and it happened in Week One. With winning four straight, the Tigers have shown that the loss was pretty much a fluke.
The Mizzou defense is very solid as usual. Who are the key players on the defense and what do the Tigers do defensively to be so efficient?
RMN: The Missouri defense just received some devastating news after their 42-10 win over Troy on Saturday, as senior linebacker Cale Garrett, who was a legitimate candidate for SEC Defensive Player of the Year, has been likely ruled out for the season with a pectoral tendon injury. But, this is still Missouri’s best defense under Barry Odom and it isn’t even remotely close. In their last four games, Missouri’s turnover differential is plus-7 and the defense has scored more points (35) than they have allowed (31). A lot of that has to do with bringing in coordinator David Gibbs, who is essentially a turnover wizard. The Tigers have a lot of potential NFL talent at each position. Now that Garrett is likely out for the season, defensive end Jordan Elliott and cornerback DeMarkus Acy need to step up as the leaders on this defense.
What was the reaction when the news hit that Kelly Bryant would be transferring? Has there been any speck of buyer’s remorse or are you going to get a Kelly Bryant tattoo on your face soon?
RMN: Out of the teams that were in the race on Kelly Bryant (Auburn, Arkansas, North Carolina, Mississippi State, etc), Missouri was the team that needed him the most. When he announced his decision to transfer to Mizzou, expectations for this season drastically changed. If the Tigers don’t land Bryant, they just didn’t have a lot of answers experience wise at the quarterback position in the Drew Lock era. So far, Bryant has done pretty much everything Missouri fans have asked for and is living up to everyone’s expectations. It’s been a fun ride, and I think Mizzou fans are pleased and fortunate to have him as the quarterback, albeit only for one season. Now that you’ve asked it, maybe I WILL get a Kelly Bryant tattoo on my face.
The Mizzou offense looks seemingly very balanced though Bryant and Larry Rountree stick out clearly above other skill position contributors. Who else do you think Ole Miss fans should be aware of when the Tigers have the ball?
RMN: It’s got to be tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. He is a projected first-round NFL draft pick and is playing like one this season. The only concern is his injury history, but he just scored his 22nd career touchdown on Saturday, and that is tied for second in Missouri history in receiving touchdowns. He is a special talent and is only a redshirt junior, but will likely be off to the NFL after this season.
Is Shakespeare’s Pizza the GOAT? Or overrated? Any other spots traveling Rebels need to hit in CoMo?
RMN: I LOVE Shakespeare’s Pizza, but I can also see why people think it’s overrated, so I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the GOAT. The top spots in my opinion when you go to COMO are Booche’s, Harpos, and Campus SEC bar.
How do you see this game playing out? And is a 8.5 point spread reasonable or not healthy enough?
RMN: I think Missouri would cover that 8.5 point spread. It’ll all depend on how this team responds after losing Cale Garrett. But it’s Missouri’s Homecoming game, at night, and the final game of their five-game home stand. Fans are starting to buy in again.
Give me Missouri 37, Ole Miss 23.