Most teams that want to pass the ball like Missouri, understand they have to get the run game going first. The Tigers enter their regular-season finale with a mixed bag of results from the run game that has in part led to a 5-6 record. There’s been running back changes, poor rushing production, fumbles and more.
For this exercise, we will only look at Brady Cook‘sCody Schrader‘s and Nathaniel Peat‘s rushing totals since they account for 80% of the carries entering week 13.
Rushing production in wins
Louisiana Tech: This would be the only time the trio had 60 or more yards and a touchdown a piece in any game this season.
Abilene Christian: Cook would pass for 292 yards and three touchdowns on this day, so that was the focus of this contest, but the trio still averaged 6.13 yards per carry.
Vanderbilt: This would be the last game that Schrader and Peat would have a similar number of touches. Peat fumbled in the red zone again in this game and Drinkwitz would consider Schrader as the team’s feature back going forward.
South Carolina: This was Missouri’s most balanced game on offense and defense and it would be Schrader’s first time being the lead back. He didn’t have a spectacular day, but he was efficient and kept the chains moving for the Tigers.
New Mexico State: Drinkwitz would call this Schrader’s best game of the season after he found the end zone a couple of times. This would be Cook’s second straight game with a rushing total of less than 70 yards. Peat would gain three yards on one carry and lose three yards on the other.
Rushing production in losses
Kansas State: The offense couldn’t get much going and got down by double digits relatively fast and had to revert to passing the ball. It would be one of two games that Schrader and Peat combined for less than 50 rushing yards.
Auburn: Peat led the charge in this game and at the time it was Peat’s career-high in rushing yards and his second career 100-yard rushing game. Ironically, this day would be more remembered for what he did on the last play of the game which is a fumble into the end zone resulting in a touchback and a 17-14 win for Auburn.
Georgia: This was a game more about Missouri’s defense holding a top 15 offense down to 12 points through three and a half quarters and Mizzou kicker. Harrison Mavis making all five of his field goal attempts, including three from 49 yards or more away. Schrader did have a 62-yard rush that put the Tigers at UGA’s one-yard line.
Florida: Another good game from Peat which saw him set a career-high on the ground. This loss isn’t because of the running game, but more about the passing game and Cook’s two costly interceptions.
Kentucky: This was a game that saw the Tigers rally and take a 17-14 lead sometime in the fourth after Cook’s two rushing scores. This was also a Missouri head coach game Eli Drinkwitz said that he believes the team worked Schrader too hard.
Tennessee: This was Cook’s best game of the season in both the passing and rushing game. He led the Mizzou to its season-high in points (24) against a Power 5 team and his 106 rushing yards marked a career-high. This is the second game that Schrader and Peat failed to rush for more than 50 yards. When you add Elijah Youngwho had three carries for 21 yards and a fumble, Missouri running backs accounted for 16 carries for 58 yards and a fumble.
The Tigers are 4-2 in games when Schrader was the leading rusher. Six times Peat has finished as the worst rusher among the three and the Tigers are 3-3 in those games, but they move to 3-4 when you remember Peat’s fumble at Auburn. Peat has two of the three fumbles among the trio, with Cook’s fumble versus Kentucky being on a scramble. The Tigers are 1-2 in games when they fumble on a rushing attempt.
Cook fumbled against Abilene Christian and Vanderbilt, but both of those were strip sacks on plays he didn’t try to scramble on. However, Missouri won both of those contests.
In wins, the trio is averaging 30 carries, 143.6 yards (4.78 yards per carry) and 1.6 touchdowns per game.
In losses, they’re averaging 32 carries, 120 yards (3.75 yards per carry) and a touchdown.
One of Missouri’s biggest issues this season has been tackles for loss. A lot of it has to do with the offensive line and the struggles of that position group, but not all of it. Schrader has played in all 11 games and has lost only 22 yards on tackles for loss. Peat has played in nine games and has lost 54 yards on tackles for loss. He lost 20 yards alone against Kansas State. Schrader had three games where he didn’t lose any yardage while Peat only did that once.
The league average in the Southeastern Conference is 176 yards per game and Missouri averages 152.3 yards per game. In games where the Tigers rushed for less than 176 yards, they are 4-6. They’ve only rushed over that mark once and that was the win over Louisiana Tech.
In games when they rush for 152 yards or less, they’re 4-5 with them being 1-1 when they rush over that mark.
Currently, Schrader is ranked 14th in the SEC with 604 yards and seven touchdowns with an average of 54 yards per game. In games when he rushes for 54 yards or more, Mizzou is 5-2. In games when he doesn’t, the Tigers are 0-4.
Cook has the seventh most rushing yards for an SEC quarterback and is the 29th-ranked rusher in the conference with 409 yards and five touchdowns with an average of about 34 yards per game. In games when he rushes for 34 yards or more, the Tigers are 4-2. In games when he doesn’t, they’re 1-4.
Peat is ranked 30th in rushing in the SEC with 399 yards and two touchdowns with an average of 39 yards per game in nine games. The Tigers are 2-3 in games he rushes for 39 or more yards. In games when he doesn’t, they’re 2-2 (not including the games he didn’t have a rush).
The biggest issue is that the Tigers aren’t rushing for the SEC average enough and that can hinder the passing game as the Tigers have shown throughout most of the season.
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