There might not have been a more important lesson than the one learned minutes before halftime Saturday: The outlook of a team's season can change in one play. In one tackle. In one low dive below the knees of a quarterback.
After Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant left the game with a left knee injury late in the first half, no matter what happened on the field, before or after, could carry the weight of the ominous cloud of uncertainty hovering over Missouri's season. Tigers coach Barry Odom did not have an update on Bryant when he spoke postgame, only further fueling the questions as to what Bryant's availability will be moving forward.
The injury stands out more than anything that happened in Missouri's 42-10 victory over Troy, but there are still takeaways to be made from the victory that have nothing to do with the knee of a certain graduate transfer quarterback.
Kobie Whiteside becoming a wrecking ball in the middle
If there was any talk among Missouri's opponents about double-teaming defensive tackle Jordan Elliott, that discussion may need to end. Yes, Elliott has a strong chance to play at the next level, but the defensive tackle next to him is proving difficult to stop right now, too.
With two sacks against Troy, Whiteside has tallied back-to-back two sack games. He has five on the season, which leads the Southeastern Conference.
Whiteside, a junior, finished with one sack in all of last season. He has also already reached his 2018 tackle total in only five games.
The success of Missouri's defense, or any defense for that matter, starts in the middle. If Whiteside can continue to produce alongside Elliott, the Tigers will remain strong defensively as they dive deeper into their SEC schedule.
Kam Scott given bigger role
A game like the one against Troy in which Missouri could rest many of its starters in the second half does not give terrific insights in regard to snap counts. 11 different receivers are not going to play in most games like they did Saturday.
But one snap count note of interest is that of wide receiver Kam Scott.
Scott, a sophomore receiver, was on the field for every series but one in the first half. He was given the chance to start opposite Jonathan Nance.
Fellow sophomore receiver Jalen Knox usually occupies that spot. He has logged the second-most snaps of any player on the offense outside of Nance and Bryant. However, against Troy, he played only 15 total snaps, 10 of which came in the first half. Scott saw 26 first-half snaps.
Scott also made the most of his time on the field. He led the Tigers in catches (five) and yards (88). He also finished with 31 snaps, tied with Nance and tight end Daniel Parker Jr. for the most of any offensive skill players.
Whether Scott continues to receive more snaps remains to be seen. But at the very least, the Missouri coaching staff seemed to want to give Scott more of an opportunity to show what he could do.
Niko Hea and Martez Manuel to be called upon for entire season with redshirts now burned
The Tigers certainly think true freshman tight end Niko Hea and defensive back Martez Manuel can contribute in the long run this season. Both have burned their redshirts now that they have played in five games.
Players are allowed to participate in four games without burning a redshirt.
Hea burning his redshirt is not unexpected considering how Odom talked about him in fall camp. He said he would be surprised if Hea didn't play the entire season.
Hea caught his first collegiate pass, which went for six yards, in the second half Saturday.
Manuel, a Rock Bridge alumnus, has tallied one tackle over five games. He has mainly contributed on special teams.