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Missouri preaches patience with Southeast Missouri State to visit

Sep 11, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Connor Bazelak (8) lines up a pass during the first quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Connor Bazelak (8) lines up a pass during the first quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

After losing their SEC opener at Kentucky, Missouri will look to regroup Saturday when it hosts FCS opponent Southeast Missouri State.

The Tigers (1-1) were outgained 519-398 in total yardage and 340-104 on the ground in their 35-28 loss to Kentucky.

They return home to Columbia, Mo., to face the Redhawks (0-2), who are coming off a 52-14 loss at Sam Houston — the top-ranked FCS team.

“There’s no reason to panic, (nobody) needs to panic or jump on Twitter and go crazy,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “Like, relax. It’s week two on the road, night SEC football game versus a good opponent. We had a chance to win, we didn’t get it done.

“We’ll go back to work and we’ll go to fixing it, and that’s what we’re going to do. Lot of football season left, whole heck of a lot of football season left.”

Southeast Missouri State has an all-time record of 1-24 against FBS teams, and the Redhawks fell 50-0 at Missouri in 2019. But Redhawks coach Tom Matukewicz welcomes the challenge to play on a bigger stage.

“When you grow up as a kid, you want to play against the SEC,” he said. “Now we get that opportunity.”

The Redhawks hung tough with Sam Houston into the second quarter, when the game was tied 14-14. Quarterback CJ Ogbonna took a step forward while completing 13 of 27 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown.

Ogbonna had seven passes dropped and his one interception came after his intended receiver tipped it. In the Redhawks’ season-opening loss to Southern Illinois, he completed 9 of 19 passes for just 47 yards.

“I feel like (he) had good progress from Week 1 to Week 2,” Matukewicz said. “I like what I’ve seen so far.”

Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak completed 34 of 51 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.

Tigers running back Tyler Badie gained 149 yards from scrimmage against Kentucky, giving him 392 yards in two games.

“He’s a hell of a football player,” Drinkwitz said. “The dude is playing his butt off. He doesn’t get very many breaks. He’s a factor in both the run game and the pass game and has to run a lot of routes, a lot of yardage. He’s a very good football player and we need him to continue to be in order for our offense to have any chance of success.”

–Field Level Media