Cale Garrett runs after making his first interception

Cale Garrett runs toward the end zone after his first interception of the game during Missouri's game against Troy Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Garrett fell just short of returning this interception for a touchdown, but he scored on his next pick.

Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant appears to have avoided the worst after he went down with a left knee injury in the second quarter against Troy. Linebacker Cale Garrett, however, was not so fortunate.

Bryant has a knee sprain and is “expected to have full activity this week,” an MU spokesperson said.

Garrett is out indefinitely with a pectoral tendon injury that he will have surgery to repair.

Punt returner Richaud Floyd is doubtful for the homecoming game Saturday against Ole Miss with a hamstring injury.

Garrett intercepted two passes against Troy, one of which he took to the end zone for a pick-six. He has scored three defensive touchdowns this season, two of those off interceptions. Garrett leads all Tigers with 39 total tackles, which rank fifth in the SEC.

He won SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors after his performance against South Carolina in which he finished with five solo tackles and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, and won it again this week.

Garrett is known as one of the most dedicated film studiers on the team, which linebacker Nick Bolton said has set up each of Garrett’s interceptions.

“He always knows what the quarterback is doing,” Bolton said postgame. “He reads quarterbacks’ eyes. He is a great football player with great instincts. He is just getting a chance to showcase his talents.”

Now, for the foreseeable future, other linebackers on the roster will have to take the field for Missouri. Junior Jamal Brooks was listed as Garrett’s backup on the depth chart that was released before the Troy game. Brooks tallied a career-high five tackles against Southeast Missouri State. The most he has played in a game is 29 snaps. Against Troy, he tallied two solo tackles.

Another option is sophomore Cameron Wilkins, listed as Bolton’s backup. Wilkins also finished with five tackles against SEMO, two of which were tackles for loss. Saturday against Troy, Wilkins added another five total tackles.

Instead of having one of these two slide directly into Garrett’s spot, Missouri could move Bolton over to middle linebacker and have one of the backups filled in at Bolton’s spot on the outside as a “Will” linebacker.

There’s no replacing Garrett completely, though. Missouri coach Barry Odom called Garrett, a senior captain, the heart and soul of the team after the Troy game.

Bryant left the game against Troy while walking off under his own power. Trojans defensive tackle Travis Sailo hit him below the left knee and was called for roughing the passer on the play. Many of Bryant’s teammates remained optimistic postgame about his availability, highlighting Bryant’s ability to keep things light and joke around after the injury.

Floyd injured his hamstring in the first quarter against Troy and was spotted on crutches on the sideline in the second half. He came into the game averaging 18 yards per return. He also scored off a 71-yard punt return against Southeast Missouri State.

“(Floyd) is just a positive guy,” cornerback Adam Sparks said postgame. “When he does a good play, everybody is rooting for him because everybody likes him. Everybody loves him as a dude. We just wish for him to do good.”

  • Nick Kelly is a Missouri football reporter for the Columbia Missourian. A native of Minneapolis, Minn., he is studying magazine writing and business. Previously, he covered sports for The Boston Globe, Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic.

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