'Treated this week like it was the Super Bowl': What Eli Drinkwitz said after Mizzou beat SEMO

Chris Kwiecinski
Columbia Daily Tribune

Missouri is back in the win column after a blow out win over Southeast Missouri State, where the Tigers were shutting out the Redhawks at halftime.

MU was a 33.5-point favorite, and played like it by scoring early and often. It was cause for celebration on Missouri's end, especially after taking a difficult loss on the road against Kentucky. 

Here's what Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz said after Missouri rebounded on Saturday to beat Southeast Missouri State 59-28.

Opening statement on the win

The win over SEMO was an expected one, but it still was a game where Missouri needed to take care of business. 

Drinkwitz reflected that in his opening statement after the win.

"I thought they came out really all week with the right mindset and attention to detail and focus on practice. I just challenged them to take that to the field today, and they really did that.

"The defense really did a nice job in the first half controlling the game. Obviously in the second half, they had a lot of different people with an opportunity to play which is good. But, it's also a reality for some of these guys. They've got to put a lot more work and attention to detail in to continue to develop."

Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz smiles on the sideline Saturday at Faurot Field.

On the wide receiver group

The Tigers had 12 players catch at least one pass on Saturday, showing the depth MU has at receiver.

Drinkwitz said he would tease wide receivers coach Bush Hamdan for his substitution tendencies Saturday, as it often seemed like a different sport.

"It's like you're subbing in a hockey line with a wide receivers. They just come in and out all the time, so it's good to get a lot of people in there.  

"Really proud of the way JJ Hester looked. Today he took that slant route and exploded through there. He played with some confidence, which is what we're really wanting to see out of him. So that was really good to see."

More:What we learned from Mizzou's dominating 59-28 victory over SEMO

On passing 30 times with Connor Bazelak

Even though MU held a 38-0 halftime advantage, quarterback Connor Bazelak threw the ball 30 times in the win. 

Drinkwitz said that was part of the plan from the beginning, as MU doesn't pay attention to who the opponent might be.

"It doesn't matter who our opponent is," Drinkwitz said. "We treated this week like it was the Super Bowl. So we're trying to call our best stuff, the best plan possible. Attack the defense at their weakness, use our strengths against their weaknesses. Invest in who we are. Opponent is irrelevant to us."

On getting true freshmen playing time

True freshmen, like quarterback Tyler Macon, got playing time Saturday for the first time this season.

Even though some of these players that are buried deep in the Tigers' depth chart might not see time in a meaningful SEC game, it does introduce them to the speed of college football.

"I think you can take off the shock factor playing in a college football game," Drinkwitz said. "I mean, a lot of these guys, it's the first time they've ever done that, experienced it, the nerves that they're going to have. Then there's a reality check to it too. There's a — OK, I got to improve. I got to do this. Maybe there's not. Maybe there is a huge difference between what I think I am and what I got to be in order to play, and I think that's going to show up in tape tomorrow."

More:GALLERY: Mizzou football defeats SEMO 59-28

On playing a FCS opponent, with upcoming SEC games looming

Next for Missouri is Boston College, an ACC team that's the last Power 5 team on MU's non-conference schedule. Balancing the positives from a win over an FCS opponent is tricky, but Drinkwitz put it in terms of how he wants his team to play on a weekly basis.

"You got to play to a standard, and I thought we did a nice job of playing to the standard that we wanted in the way we wanted to play," Drinkwitz said. "You got to convert third downs, you got to stop the run and you got to get off the field, and we were able to do all those things very effectively in the first half."

"I also know that crazy things can happen, like targeting where you would miss guys in the first half. Injuries play a factor, because you have games moving forward."

"I take a lot of confidence away from what we were able to do and the improvements that we made on the game."

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