Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mizzou Tweaks Lineups after Bye Week

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mizzou Tweaks Lineups after Bye Week

Article excerpt

LEXINGTON, KY. * Missouri reshuffled its starting defense during the bye week, but the biggest wrinkle came on offense, at least for the Tigers' first possession in Saturday's 40-34 loss to Kentucky.

Alec Abeln, a senior reserve offensive lineman, started at fullback in a new package for the Tigers, lining up in the backfield to block for a handoff to Damarea Crockett on MU's first play from scrimmage. Against a Kentucky defense that came into the game ranked No. 3 nationally in rush defense, the Tigers opted for an extra blocker on the field and opened with only two wide receivers, Emanuel Hall and Johnathon Johnson, and not regular starter J'Mon Moore, along with tight end Kendall Blanton. Abeln, a fifth-year senior from St. Louis University High, started nine games in 2015-16 at guard, but has played only special teams this year as a blocker on the punt team. The Tigers didn't use the package for the rest of the first half, opting for three- and four-receiver formations.

Overall, the running game was a strength for the Tigers, as Ish Witter (139 yards) and Crockett (74) combined to average seven yards per carry.

For Missouri's defense, Brandon Lee replaced Kaleb Prewett at strongside linebacker, while Ronnell Perkins took over Anthony Sherrils' place at strong safety. Sherrils is recovering from a concussion and did not make the trip to Lexington, MU confirmed.

Missouri defensive tackle Walter Palmore was limited after breaking his hand, while tight end Jason Reese was sidelined with an undisclosed injury suffered during pregame warmups.

For the second straight game, the Tigers went with an offensive line of Yasir Durant at left tackle, Kevin Pendleton at left guard, Trystan Castillo at center, Tre'Vour Simms at right guard and Paul Adams at right tackle. Durant replaced 2016 starter Tyler Howell in MU's last game against Auburn. …

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