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Sunday grade card: SEMO


Each Sunday, will hand out a position-by-position grade card for Missouri from Saturday's game. Here are the marks from the Tigers’ 50-0 win over Southeast Missouri.

Quarterback: Kelly Bryant put up solid numbers once again, completing 15 of 20 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown. He showed impressive touch on two deep passes to Jalen Knox. However, he needs to stop forcing throws in the red zone. Bryant threw an interception in the end zone that resembled his Week One pick against Wyoming. That can't become a trend. The two backups, Taylor Powell and Connor Bazelak, didn't do much, with Powell completing one of five passes and Bazelak not throwing a pass. GRADE: B

Running backs: Larry Rountree III had one of the best opening possessions in recent memory, racking up 85 total yards and a touchdown on a 75-yard scoring drive. He finished the game with 142 yards and two scores. Tyler Badie showed the burst that makes him a solid compliment to Rountree with a 49-yard gain in the second quarter. The goal coming into this one had to be to run the ball well enough that Bryant didn't have to face many obvious passing situations in which he could be hit, and the Tigers accomplished that. GRADE: A

Running back Larry Rountree III rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns against SEMO.
Running back Larry Rountree III rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns against SEMO. (Jordan Kodner)

Wide receivers: Missouri didn't ask too much of its wideouts in this one, but the two times the first-team offense opted to throw downfield, Knox was able to get behind the SEMO defense for 50-plus yard gains. With six different wideouts catching a pass, Tigers continue to show that they have a lot of weapons at the position; the next few weeks should show whether they have a guy who can make plays consistently against a better defense. GRADE: A

Tight Ends: Albert Okwuegbunam made another impressive touchdown catch, continuing his run as one of the best red zone tight ends in the country. He also added a 21-yard catch in the third quarter, and he continues to look better as the season goes on. Daniel Parker Jr. caught one ball as well. GRADE: A

Offensive line: Missouri easily overwhelmed the undersized SEMO defensive front, paving the way for Rountree and Badie's big day. More important, Bryant never got sacked. The big question now is Yasir Durant's health. Missouri has at least shown it has some depth on the line by giving reserves Case Cook and Bobby Lawrence regular reps the past couple games. GRADE: A

Defensive line: Yes, it was against an inferior opponent, but it's good to see the defensive line dominate for the second week in a row. After giving up just 32 rushing yards on 30 carries against West Virginia in Week Two, Missouri allowed 40 yards on 32 carries to SEMO. The Tigers had eight tackles for loss and four sacks as well. It wasn't just Jordan Elliott, either. Chris Turner had three tackles including a sack, Tre Williams applied the pressure that forced an interception return for a touchdown and Markell Utsey had a nice tackle for loss as well. GRADE: A

Linebackers: Last week, Nick Bolton had a pick-six. This week, it was Cale Garrett's turn. Garrett's 27-yard interception return for a touchdown was part of Missouri's dominant first nine minutes. The linebackers deserve credit for SEMO's 1.3 yards per carry average as well. Missouri used this opportunity to share reps around a bit, which will be welcome for Garrett and Bolton, who played nearly every meaningful snap in the first two games of the season, and Cameron Wilkins and Jamal Brooks played well alongside the first team. Each finished with five tackles, with Wilkins recording two tackles for loss. GRADE: A

Cale Garrett returned an interception for a touchdown against SEMO.
Cale Garrett returned an interception for a touchdown against SEMO. (Jordan Kodner)

Secondary: SEMO quarterback Daniel Santacaterina was wildly inaccurate, and when he did drop back to pass, he rarely threw deep downfield. But while the secondary wasn't tested often, it certainly didn't allow any big plays. SEMO finished with just 54 yards passing. Next week against South Carolina and Ryan Hilinski will be the first real test of the season for the unit. GRADE: A

Special Teams: Ricahud Floyd's 71-yard punt return touchdown in the first quarter was a welcome sight. Missouri's punt return unit averaged just 2.6 yards per return all of last season, which ranked No. 129 out of 130 FBS teams. Tucker McCann had an impressive night as well, making all three of his field goals, including a 52-yarder, and averaging 55.4 yards on five punts. The special teams weren't all perfect — McCann missed an extra point, Jerney Jones got called for a roughing the punter penalty that extended a SEMO drive (though credit to him for getting to the punter so quickly) — but so far this season the special teams have clearly looked better than last season. GRADE: A-

Coaching: Missouri took care of business and did so quickly. That's all you can really ask out of these games. There were a few areas of concern — Missouri seemed to relax a bit after going up 27-0 and committed nine penalties for 79 yards — but you can't get too picky after a 50-point win. The coaching decision that deserves the most scrutiny is Barry Odom's call to keep the starting offense on the field for the first two possessions of the second half. On the first, left tackle Durant left the game with a neck injury and did not return. While Odom said after the game that he doesn't believe Durant's injury will cause him to miss playing time, the risk of playing the starters in that situation is not worth the reward. GRADE: B

Final Overall Grade: A