As fun as our tailgate was — and folks, eating a steak and watching college football while your friend “invents” drinks by adding Wild Turkey to things is pretty fun — the Missouri Tigers put on the real show, parading in the rain and beating Wyoming 40-13.
Wyoming is not a great opponent, but they are decent, a big step up from the glorified scrimmage against Tennessee-Martin. Their coach, Craig Bohl, is a shrewd tactician who won approximately 38 FCS national championships at North Dakota State. They might not have power-conference caliber personnel, especially in the secondary, but they’re well coached and a respectable test for any offense.
Missouri passed the test. Drew Lock had a huge night, passing for 398 yards and, presumably because he knows what the Heisman voters like, ran for 51 yards and a touchdown as well.
Wyoming is limited on offense, but the Missouri defense passed the test with no drama, moving on to bigger challenges in the coming weeks.
Sure, it was an odd night. It was a pretty chilly evening for early September, so it didn’t exactly feel like a typical early season non-conference game. Then there was the rolling ceiling of gray clouds over the stadium, which lit up as the sun broke through just before it set, giving the impression that the sun was rising instead of setting. And, of course, there was Missouri’s epic botched extra point attempt, which may have been impacted by rogue firework smoke, and led to a wild, enduring scramble for the lose ball that looked like an early version of football the Native Americans taught the pilgrims at the First Thanksgiving.
So maybe I wasn’t totally in my regular frame of mind, but I couldn’t help but start dreaming a little dream about how good this Tiger team could be. I’m sure this game got other Missouri fans thinking the same thing. Drew throwing those sweet passes, Emanuel Hall racking up receiving yards, the defense looking a little more hard-nosed than in years past.
Really all that matters against the likes of Tennessee-Martin and Wyoming is holding serve and getting the win. But Missouri has held serve as forcefully as Roger Federer at Wimbledon.
Georgia is obviously the favorite in the SEC East, and on Saturday they dispassionately mauled South Carolina while I ate that steak and my friend concocted a “Turk-mosa.” The Dawgs are formidable and might just smash every division opponent, but on Saturday I let myself think about what it would be like if the Tigers pulled the upset on September 22nd.
We’ll know way more about this Missouri team in about 14 days. It’s perilous to read too much into slaughtering overmatched opponents, but so far the Tigers have definitely shown some potential.