Insights PFF: Wake Forest in Mizzou

Another season of college football means another season of team rivals PFF College to deepen the analysis of the players. After every Missouri football game, we’ll use PFF Collegethe numbers to break down the performance of the Tigers as a unit and as individuals. Here’s a breakdown of how the team performed in week two and how they performed individually. For those unfamiliar with how PFF calculates its grades, an explanation can be found here.

Overall grades

Pro Football Focus classifies infractions into five categories: passing, running, receiving, pass blocking, and run blocking. Categorize defenses based on four: run defense, tackle, pass rush, and cover. Here’s how Missouri performed in each category on Friday.

Take away: Across the board the numbers were down for the Tigers. They never seemed to have real pace lasting back-to-back drives and despite scoring on three of their first six drives, they stalled on their last five possessions with three turnovers on downs and two punts. Quarterback Brady Cook completed 60% of his passes, but his performance declined over time.

The rushing score is inflated by Cook’s 38 yards, 36 of which came in a run. Cody Schrader and Nathaniel Peat combined for 18 carries and 79 yards with Schrader’s longest carry being 16 yards and Peat’s longest being 11. Subtract those two carries and the running backs combined for 16 carries for 52 yards (three yards per carry).

The receiving group is credited with two crashes but otherwise had a good day despite being under Dominic Lovett. The pack couldn’t part with a 95th-ranked pass defense without one of its starting cornerbacks, but the Tigers were able to do a lot of their damage with yards after the catch. The group had 211 of the team’s 215 receiving yards and 117 of those yards were after the catch.

Take away: The defense fell short of his high standards, but played well considering the circumstances. Missouri was without four starting-level players at defensive end safety Martez Manuel and defensive ends DJ ColemannIsaiah McGuire and Trajan Jeffcoat.

The run defense was pretty good with the defense making four tackles for a loss and holding Wake Forest to 106 yards on 35 carries (3.02 yards per carry). The tackle was much better than in Week 13, when the defense had a season-low grade of 40.2. This week the tackle rating was 75.7 after the Tiger recorded 48 tackles and missed just seven tackles against Wake Forest.

The pass rush was non-existent for most of the game, which was to be expected to some extent without the team’s best passers on the field. Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartmann he did a lot of damage out of the pocket and didn’t have to worry about rushing his throws or getting out of the pocket to make anything happen.

The team’s secondary is probably his best position group and he struggled big time against Wake Forest’s wide receivers. To Perry he was finding the soft spots in the zones and just setting up shop in those soft spots to reach 11 receptions for 116 yards. Taylor Morin had three receptions for 30 yards and two touchdowns including a 48-yard touchdown run with no defender within 15 yards of him once he got the ball.

Part of their performance was due to a lack of pass rushes, but at the same time, Wake Forest hit the same or very similar drag, curl, and out-route plays and the secondary didn’t stop.

The best offensive players against Wake Forest

Other notables: Javon Foster, like most games this season, was the team’s top offensive tackle. His pass blocking rating of 84.3 and run blocking rating of 81.0 energized the team.

Again, Peat’s 11-yard run at halftime when Wake Forest was playing against the defense makes his stat line look better than what the product showed on the field. Without that carry, he has four carries for 14 yards.

Barrett Railing he had seven receptions on nine targets for 49 yards in his last collegiate game. This was the third straight game he had with seven receptions, which is also his career-high in catches.

Peanut Houston had nearly four times the number of snaps (46) he had against New Mexico State (12), which was his prized season high in snaps and he made the most of the opportunity to finish with six receptions on eight targets for 37 yards and his first touchdown of the season.

Mookie Cooper had a downturn, but beyond that, had his season-best game with six receptions on eight targets and 57 receiving yards.

Luther Burden III had seven receptions on 12 targets for 46 yards and had one of two drops on the team. Burden finished with a total offensive rating of 58.8. He had a great first quarter, but things turned sour after he muffed a dying punt that he had no right to pick up midway through the second quarter.

Cook's pass direction versus Wake Forest.

Cook’s pass direction versus Wake Forest.

Cook finished the game having completed 29 of 48 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown. His 29 completions tied a Gasparilla Bowl game record.

In the first half the game seemed to slow down for Cook, but in the second half things started to fall apart for him and the rest of the attack. Some of it had to do with injuries to two of his starting offensive linemen, a lack of a running game, and some of Cook’s hitting during the game.

Cook was 22 of 28 for 137 yards and a touchdown on short passes of 10 yards or less. This has been Cook’s sweet spot all season and when he launches at this range he’s more than a competent Power 5 quarterback.

However, Cook’s struggles passing 10 yards or more were evident once again against Wake Forest. He completed 6 of 11 passes for 93 yards, including being 0 of 5 on deep passes (20 or more yards) for a 42.5 offensive rating.

Cook was at his best when blitzed completing 4 of 5 passes for 35 yards and a touchdown for an 88.0 offensive rating.

He was also successful when kept clean completing 23 of 35 passes for 198 yards for a 72.8 offensive rating.

Cook was at his worst when under duress, which was about half the time. He completed 5 of 13 passes for 32 yards and a touchdown for a 42.3 offensive rating.

The best defensive players against Wake Forest

Chad Bailey was arguably the Tigers’ best player on Friday. He tied Jaylon Carlies and Ty’Ron Hopper in tackles with nine to go along with 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Bailey also ranked as the Tigers’ top defenseman (80.5), pass rusher (75.9), and cover man (73.9).

Josh Landry had the best game of any Mizzou defensive lineman with three tackles, 0.5 sacks and 0.5 tackles for loss in what was a season high for him in snaps. He finishes the season with four total defensive ratings over 66. This game was also his best in run defense (74.1) and tackles (73.4).

Joseph Charleston recorded just one tackle, but ranked in the top five in coverage (second, 68.9) and tackle (third, 78.8).

Daylan Carnell had two tackles, two pass deflections and one quarterback hit in what was a season high in snaps.

Realus George had four tackles and one tackle for loss. After garnering a season-low 25.9 tackle rating against Arkansas, George finished with a 73.6 tackle rating. He had a north tackle rating of 70 in all but the aforementioned Arkansas game.

Carlies had nine tackles and one interception, which means he finishes with three on the season. He finished with the second-best defensive rating at 76.5.

Darius Robinson has seen snaps at both defensive tackle and defense and received a lot of praise from Mizzou’s coach Eli Drinkwitz for his efforts in both roles. Lui finished the game with four tackles and had the seventh-best total defensive rating at 63.1. He finished in the top six in rushing defense (fourth, 72.3) and tackles (sixth, 76.5).

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