Barry Odom walks away from the huddle

Barry Odom walks away from the huddle as the Tigers face a 10-0 deficit heading into the second quarter as the Missouri Tigers play the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.

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Receiver Johnathon Johnson did not travel with the Tigers to Athens due to an illness that kept him out of practice this past week.

“We anticipate (Johnson) will be back in action (Sunday) when we get back into meetings,” head coach Barry Odom said, “and then obviously Tuesday when we get back on the field.”

Last Tuesday, Johnson was not in uniform at practice. He leads the team in receptions and is third in receiving yards, but missing Saturday’s game damages his chances of catching the all-time MU record in career receiving yards.

Without their leading slot receiver, Missouri used a combination of Barrett Banister, Jalen Knox and Dominic Gicinto.

Tight end Niko Hea back after illness

True freshman tight end Niko Hea played two snaps Saturday, his first snaps since Missouri wrapped up its five-game homestand. He did not play against Vanderbilt or Kentucky. Odom said Hea came down with mono a month ago.

He played in every game prior to the Vanderbilt game, thus burning his possible redshirt season.

Hea wasn’t targeted in the loss at Georgia.

Albert O more productive

Odom has talked about the need to feed tight end Albert Okwuegbunam the ball more over the last couple of weeks, and offensive coordinator Derek Dooley’s playbook against Georgia clearly had more reads designed for the preseason All-American.

Okwuegbunam proved to be one of quarterback Taylor Powell’s favorite targets Saturday night. He caught four passes for 30 yards, but he also dropped two passes. He was targeted despite being in double coverage on what turned out to be an interception in the second quarter.

“I thought it was going to be an overthrow,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said.

Okwuegbunam’s performance comes after a Kentucky game in which he didn’t make a single catch. He only had two the previous week against Vanderbilt.

Scout roll call

Playing at a place like Georgia and against the No. 6 team in the country also means more eyes on Missouri. They included a variety of scouts who attended Saturday’s game. That list included representatives from the Steelers, Chargers, Falcons, 49ers, Buccaneers, Cardinals and two from the Giants.

This article originally ran on columbiamissourian.com.

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