The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Morgantown, WV

Mizzou drops season opener to West Virginia

1647 days ago
Associated Press

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Backup running back Justin Crawford rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown filling in for the injured Rushel Shell, and Skyler Howard overcame a first-half shot to the ribs to lead West Virginia to a 26-11 win over Missouri on Saturday.

West Virginia's Mike Molina kicked four field goals in place of the suspended Josh Lambert.

In the debut for Missouri coach Barry Odom, the Tigers lost an opener for the first time since 2001, which was the first season under previous coach Gary Pinkel. The Tigers struggled most of the game under sophomore quarterback Drew Lock, who threw an 8-yard scoring pass to Chris Black with under two minutes left.

Howard was hurt when he was tackled while sliding during a run near halftime. Trainers worked on his ribs before the second-half kickoff and he returned to the game.

Coach Dana Holgorsen said Howard is sore but no ribs were broken.

"He knew we needed him," Holgorsen said. "The kid is a competitor and is going to do anything ... to help the team win."

Howard finished 23 of 35 for 253 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

Crawford, a junior college transfer, got most of the carries after Shell walked off the field gingerly early in the third quarter and didn't return. Holgorsen said Shell had leg cramps and "he's fine."

Crawford had a 1-yard scoring run in the third quarter. Shell finished with 90 yards, including a 23-yard TD in the first quarter.

Odom served on Pinkel's staff for 10 years, including the 2015 season as defensive coordinator. Pinkel retired after last season to fight non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

"I don't feel like I did a very good job on this," Odom said. "I'm obviously very thankful and honored to be the head coach. But I've got a job to do and I didn't get it done today."

THE TAKEAWAY

MISSOURI: New offensive coordinator Josh Heupel has a lot of work to do to get the Tigers ready for the grueling Southeastern Conference schedule. The Tigers struggled against a defense that had nine new starters. Lock finished 23 of 51 for 280 yards.

WEST VIRGINIA: Like last season, the Mountaineers had trouble finishing drives. Four stalled inside the Missouri 10, all leading to short field goals.

UP NEXT

MISSOURI: Tigers fans get to see how Odom does for themselves in the home opener against Eastern Michigan before Missouri's SEC home opener with Georgia a week later.

WEST VIRGINIA: The Mountaineers welcome ex-Nebraska coach Bo Pelini in their first-ever meeting with Youngstown State, which gave Pittsburgh a scare on the road a year ago.