I’ve been thinking about this law since the end of the Abilene Christian Game. Did you know that the last time Missouri scored 34 points or less against an FCS opponent was 2015? In fact, these are the only two cases where Missouri has scored less than 37 points against an FCS opponent in the past 20 years.
It’s the kind of company you don’t want to keep. Missouri fans suffer a bit from deja vu.
2015 was a season in which the field producer did not match pre-season expectations. The young midfielder looked confused, the offensive line with several players looked exhausted, and the defense did its best to keep the results respectable.
looks familiar? As I began to dig deeper into the field memories of the 2015 season, I couldn’t help but see the similarities.
By 2015, Missouri fans were filled with optimism. Why wouldn’t they be? The team was emerging from back-to-back SEC East titles with a returning start at the quarterback and a defense filled to the brim with a return to production. But things went almost immediately. Russell Hansbro injured his ankle in the Tigers’ season opener. So did Evan Bom. Both players struggled through pain, but they weren’t alike. Mattie Mok’s start to the season on the pitch has been as uneven as his behavior off it.
The team started 3-0, but the wins were far from intimidating. Mizzou beat SEMO 34-3, followed it up with an impressive 27-20 win at Arkansas State, then went back 50 years in the worst football game I’ve ever seen in person, a 9-6 win against Okon. That’s when the win, more or less, ended. The offensive line was too much to beat. Playing a quarterback was too much to beat. The defense can only hold things together with toothpicks and butter for a long time. Losses began to pile up, and the end of the season wasn’t fast enough.
(Obviously there were also off-pitch issues at play in the end-of-season scenario. I don’t care to get into those issues at the moment. Let’s focus on the similarities on the pitch.)
The 2022 season in Missouri began, just like 2015, with legitimate reasons for optimism. The team doesn’t come with back-to-back titles from SEC East, but they do come out of two of the best recruitment chapters in the program’s history. Defense doesn’t bring much back in production, but it did bring in a new batch of newbies who offered so much hope. The spacious reception room got a much-needed overhaul, just enough to hide the shortcomings in the center.
It just didn’t meet. The Tigers struggled to break away from the FCS opponent. Kansas outperformed the Tigers as much as Florida did in 2015. What lies ahead is a schedule challenge unlike anything Missouri had to contend again in 2015.
To me, the 2015 Missouri season is remembered as the end of an era. A defense that was among the best in the country wasn’t enough to support an attack that was among the worst. This defense is not as good as the 2015 version, but the attack does have some unfortunate similarities. Missouri finished the 2015 season with five wins due to a poor schedule. At this point, all I can do is hope that Missouri can take this overall win in 2022.