2022 Missouri Tigers Preview

by Matt Fargo

Missouri Tigers

2021-22 Season Record 6-7 (3-5 SEC East) - 4-9-0 ATS - 7-6-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 6
Defense - 8

Overview

Missouri snapped a two-year bowl absence with a trip to the Armed Forces Bowl last season and third year head coach Eli Drinkwitz will be out to string something together after several very average seasons. The Tigers joined the SEC in 2012 and after a 5-7 inaugural season, Missouri went 12-2 and 11-3 under Gary Pinkel but another 5-7 season after that was his final one. Barry Odom took over and went 25-25 in four seasons but was never able to get Missouri over the hump and in came Drinkwitz after a 12-1 season at Appalachian St. Those two seasons under Pinkel were the last two that the Tigers finished ranked in the AP Poll and they look to be on the right track. 14 starters are back with a ton of transfers to make an immediate impact and Missouri has now had two straight recruiting classes in the top 25 but this is an important year with the SEC only getting stronger.

Offense

The Missouri offense has topped 400 yards in each of the last two seasons and last season, it finished No. 59 overall and No. 55 in scoring which are average numbers and it could be better this season as long as the quarterback situation sorts itself out. The Tigers limited their turnovers as they were No. 24 in giving it up but 11 of the 13 giveaways were interceptions from Connor Bazelak who is no longer in the program and the new starter will likely not be named until late in fall camp with four players in the mix including transfer Jack Abraham and four-star recruit Sam Horn. Missouri has a better recruit at wide receiver in Luther Burden who will join a veteran group. The running game is even less settled as top back Tyler Badie and his 1,604 yards has moved on so someone has to step up right away behind an offensive line that will be moving parts around to get together.

Defense

The defense improved immensely in the passing game but could not stop the run as the Tigers improved by over 50 ypg through the air but gave up 75 more ypg on the ground from 2020. They do return eight starters and have a new defensive coordinator in place so there is potential for a big improvement. The defensive line is strong on each side but they need to shore up the interior to help improve that rushing defense that allowed a whopping 5.4 ypc and this is where Jayden Jernigan from Oklahoma St. can help right away. The linebackers are in good shape as Chad Bailey is back after starting 10 games and the real force could come from Ty'Ron Hopper who transfers in from Florida. The secondary will be the strength once again as safeties are loaded with Martez Manuel and Jaylon Carlies who combined for 144 tackles and the corners are deep.

2022 Season Outlook

There will be a lot of moving parts at most every position on both sides of the ball so it really remains a mystery how much better this team will be but the fact is they have improved player-to-player overall. While it was just one season, Drinkwitz quickly made a name for himself at Appalachian St. but he fell into a great situation that Scott Satterfield built yet he is showing what he can do, rivaling Lane Kiffin as the portal king in the SEC. The good news is that Missouri has seven home games on the schedule, but the bad news is three-fold. The five road games are all difficult matchups, the home SEC schedule includes Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas and they only have back-to-back home games once which does not come until the final two games of the season. The O/U win total is 5.5 and that number is tough to decipher with numerous unknowns and a treacherous slate. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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