COLUMBIA, Mo. — Another Power Five conference opponent, and unfortunately for the University of Wyoming football team, a similar outcome.

Little to no offense, and a defense that wore down as the game progressed resulted in a 40-13 UW loss to Missouri in front of an announced crowd of 50,820 at wet and soggy Faurot Field on Saturday.

The Cowboys (1-2) have lost their last two games to Washington State and Missouri by the combined score of 81-32, and saw their losing streak to Power Five conference foes grow to 14. They struggled in many of the same aspects here as they did last week at home in a 41-19 loss to Washington State.

UW had only 248 yards of total offense and was 3 of 13 on third down against Missouri. Last week against WSU it had 206 yards and was also 3 of 13 on third down.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Vander Waal was 13 of 28 for 160 yards, which was a career high. He was 8 of 20 for 67 yards and one interception against Washington State. Vander Waal’s receivers didn’t help him much against Missouri with a handful of drops.

With UW down 23-0 early in the third quarter, associate head coach/offensive coordinator Brent Vigen seemed to open the playbook up a little more for Vander Waal, who showed some flashes. But that’s all it was — flashes. Nothing was consistent, especially early when it was needed the most. With the game already out of hand, what can you read from some of that offensive success?

Vander Waal hopes it is the start of things to come.

“It was good to see the offense make progress from last week,” he said. “We got better, but it was a little late. If we start that at the beginning, I think we will be fine.”

We shall see.

A week ago, Washington State scored touchdowns on four of its five second-half possessions. Missouri scored on six consecutive drives from midway through the second through early in the fourth quarter, including five straight touchdowns.

The Tigers rolled up 601 yards of total offense. Senior quarterback Drew Lock was 33 of 45 for 398 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 51 rushing yards. He lived up to his hype as one of the country’s top quarterbacks.

Missouri was 14 of 20 on third down.

Those numbers suggest UW’s defense got carved up, and it did. But like last week, it wore down as the offense did nothing early. Missouri had the ball in UW territory five times in the first quarter and settled for just three points. Two missed field goals helped the Cowboys, but they stiffened when they had to.

They just couldn’t keep doing it as the game went on. They also couldn’t get any pressure on Lock — a problem they had against Washington State, and again, it seemed to get worse as the game went on.

“We just need to finish, plain and simple,” senior strong safety Andrew Wingard said. “We’ve been terrible at that in the second half. That needs to be addressed by coaches, captains and as a team. We need to finish.”

It was kind of like the movie “Groundhog Day,” as the same issues, different day occurred for the Cowboys. But there were some things that felt different from this loss compared to last week.

One, UW had only three penalties for 17 yards, compared to 13 for 109 against Washington State.

Two, despite getting blown out, the Cowboys gave effort from start to finish. Not perfect effort, but effort nonetheless. That lacked that near the end of the Washington State game.

Three, while both this and the Washington State losses were disappointing, UW felt like it let an opportunity slip through its fingers last week against Washington State. It led 19-13 late in the third quarter of that game.

In this game, UW simply got beat by the better team.

“We got whooped tonight,” fifth-year UW coach Craig Bohl said.

Yep, that sums it up pretty well.

So what do we know about UW through three games?

It isn’t ready to beat a good Power Five conference team quite yet.

It has a good defense, but if it can’t get a push up front against teams that can throw the ball, it will struggle.

The offense is still trying to find itself, and better find something fast because it won’t be able to leverage its defense for long.

Despite the disappointment here and last week, UW still has its top goal in front of it — winning a Mountain West championship. It hasn’t looked anything like a conference champ recently, but it still has that to play for.

It better not take Football Championship Subdivision foe Wofford for granted next week, but conference play begins Sept. 29. It has some time to work on its shortcomings and improve.

And, it has plenty to work on.

Robert Gagliardi is the WyoSports senior editor. He can be reached at rgagliardi@wyosports.net or 307-755-3325. Follow him on Twitter at @rpgagliardi.

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