Missouri rolled to another dominating win on Saturday, 42-10 over Troy at Faurot Field. But it came at cost, as star linebacker Cale Garrett was lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Also, quarterback Kelly Bryant had an injury scare, but he sounds like he’ll be able to play next week, although it’s possible he’ll miss a week or two.
In the game, the Trojans did take an early 7-0 lead, but then Missouri (4-1, 1-0 in SEC) scored six unanswered touchdowns to take a commanding 42-7 lead into halftime.
It was another great performance from the Tiger defense, which held Troy (2-3) to just 211 yards and forced three turnovers. Over the last four games, Missouri’s defense has outscored opponents 35-31, which is hard to fathom. But losing their leader Garrett is a big blow. He had been playing at an All-American level, and he was the leader of the defense. He’d also scored three touchdowns over the last three games. On Saturday, Garrett ran one interception back to the one-yard line and ran another pick back for a touchdown.
Bryant was injured on a touchdown pass when a Troy defender hit him low and late, hurting Bryant’s knee. The hit drew a penalty, but Bryant had to have the trainers come out on the field to check on him. He did walk off the field, but he didn’t return to the game, which was already in hand at the time.
These injuries are ominous, just as Missouri is starting to look like it could have a special season. The recent trend for the Tigers had been only good news. Overall, Missouri has outscored opponents 164-31 during the four-game winning streak, and that’s despite playing a lot of backups on offense or largely just trying to kill clock with big leads in the second half.
Now comes what’s usually the best week of the year in Columbia: Homecoming week. Missouri hosts Ole Miss on Saturday (6:00 p.m. on ESPN2). Homecoming is a fun chance to step back in time, to remember all the autumns gone by at MU. It’s an event that connects fans and alumni today with more than a century of tradition, a celebration of the university and the old tradition of spending fall Saturdays at Memorial Stadium.
Ole Miss (3-3, 2-1 in SEC) provides a decent test on Homecoming. Missouri is a little over a touchdown favorite, but the Rebels are coming off a commanding 31-6 win over Vanderbilt. Ole Miss freshman quarterback John Ryhs Plumlee was on a roll in that game, making some throws and most importantly running for 165 yards and a touchdown. He’ll be a challenge for that Tiger defense.
There’s some uncertainty about Bryant for the Tigers, but what’s certain is that the season has hit its stride, and each week the stakes seem to be getting higher. It’ll be a crisp night under the lights in Columbia, setting a good stage for this one.