With over 52 starts between them, it’s safe to say that Missouri senior offensive linemen Yasir Durant and Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms took last week's loss against Wyoming personally.

But after a week of practice and soul-searching, the left tackle and right guard showed what the Tigers can look like by getting back to the fundamentals.

In a 38-7 win over West Virginia on Saturday in the Tigers' home opener, Durant and Wallace-Simms led the way up front along with center Trystan Colon-Castillo, left guard Larry Borom and right tackle Hyrin White for the offense, which produced over 380 total yards.

“This game definitely sent a statement,” Wallace-Simms said. “We got to wash the stain off of last week and we definitely needed this game. The focus point through the week was just focusing on the details and playing hard through the whistle, and just getting back to the basics of football.”

Missouri head coach Barry Odom also took notice. Numbers-wise, the Tigers looked decent against the Cowboys with over 400 yards in total offense, but only 114 of those yards came on the ground. Missouri was also minus-three in the turnover margin last week against Wyoming. In the game against West Virginia, the Tigers were plus-three, and the difference was stark.

“It’s so important for us to be able to run the ball offensively and that’s usually blocking at the point of attack, and it’s not just the offensive line, it’s the runners running, it’s the tight ends blocking and the receivers blocking on the perimeter,” Odom said. “Our guys controlled the line of scrimmage from the start and that obviously helps.”

Durant said he thought the offensive line as a whole played as a consistent and cohesive unit against West Virginia.

"I think we played really good,” Durant said. “I think we really improved, but there is still room for improvement, but us getting better week-to-week is key for us. We emphasized our effort, emphasized staying on our blocks for a second or two longer and just emphasized not turning the ball over. I think all that stuff played into the loss against Wyoming.”

Colon-Castillo, a two-year starter for the Tigers at center, credited the running backs for helping Missouri block for its playmakers.

“Even me, I missed a couple of blocks today and a running back bailed me out,” Colon-Castillo said. “They came out and they were running hard.”

MU established the run early with 149 yards rushing and 125 passing for a total of 274 yards of offense in the first half. Missouri also controlled time of possession for the second week in a row.

Wallace-Simms attributes the turnaround to practice early in the week.

“Just coming in and practicing hard because I feel like the game is won on Tuesday and Wednesday so the game is already won before you played it,” Wallace-Simms said.

With over 200 yards on the ground and four different running backs carrying the ball throughout the game, Durant said it’s up to the offensive line to hold their blocks no matter what.

Durant said whether it was blocking for Drew Lock last year or Kelly Bryant this year, the offensive line has a job to do.

“We just need to keep blocking, keep holding on to your blocking and everything will play out at the end,” Durant said. "Just keep improving every week. Just keep on building and keep on playing with a high effort and lot of execution.”

The improvement was definitely noticeable against West Virginia.

That same effort will need to be present every week going forward, starting with next Saturday against Southeast Missouri State.


Opening statement in the postgame presser from Barry Odom. pic.twitter.com/FCxqDFOTHE

— Eric Blum (@ByEricBlum) September 7, 2019