COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP)- Delaware State and Missouri are both looking for a little closure on Saturday.
The Tigers (1-2, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) are coming off a 28-27 loss to Georgia last week on a 4th-down touchdown pass with 1:31 remaining. Missouri led the Bulldogs throughout much of the second half despite committing four turnovers.
“When you pour your soul into something, and it doesn’t work out the way you want to, it’s frustrating,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said. “I know we’re going to respond … We’re anxious to get back into the arena of competing. There’s a lot of positives to build on from Saturday night. This will make us a better program. This will make us have a little more toughness. Trying times do that.”
Delaware State (0-2) lost its home opener 56-14 to Delaware and fell 34-20 to Monmouth on Sept. 10. However, after trailing 27-0 in the second half, the Hornets scored 20 unanswered points to make it a one-score game before surrendering another touchdown.
“It was a great situation and we’re proud of our kids,” Delaware State coach Kenny Carter said of the comeback effort. “We’re trying to get better.”
Here are some things to watch Saturday:
Carter is in his second year at the helm of the Hornets, but is no stranger to the SEC. From 2008-09, he served as running backs coach at Florida under Urban Meyer, winning the 2009 BCS championship with the Gators.
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock leads the SEC in passing yards with 1,106 and needs 227 more to surpass his total from 2015, when he made eight starts and appeared in 12 games. He has nine touchdown passes and is averaging nearly 16 yards per completion, both of which rank second in the conference.
“I’m excited about it,” Lock said of leading the conference in passing. “It’s pretty cool. Hopefully we can keep it going throughout the season.
“I knew that I had the skill set to do it, I just needed to align myself a bit more. I knew we’d have the guys around me to help me make plays and get to that level of competing, to say the least.”
Delaware State running back Brycen Alleyne leads the Hornets’ balanced rushing attack with 17 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown, and is also the team leader in catches with 7 for 41 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, Alleyne is the Hornets’ primary kick returner, with five returns for 141 yards, including a 50-yard return.
“He can do a little bit of everything,” Carter said. “He’s a great all-purpose guy. He’s also a really good pass protector, so he gives you the ability to really get into several different formations.”
Delaware State has eight turnovers through two games – five interceptions and three fumbles. Meanwhile, the Hornets have forced two turnovers, one in each game.
“We have way too many turnovers,” Carter said. “Most of the turnovers are from bad decisions. They’re not from bad play, they’re just from bad decisions that were made by the quarterback.”
The Tigers have also committed eight turnovers, and have forced six, including five interceptions, tied for second in the SEC. However, their turnover margin ranks 11th in the conference.
Missouri is wrapping up three consecutive home games and the Tigers better pack their earplugs: The next two games are at LSU and Florida.
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