30 October 2011

Overtime Aggie Upset

Tigers get the best of the 12th Man
by Mizzou Matt 10/30/11
COLLEGE STATION, TX- On Saturday, October 29th, the University of Missouri Tiger football team traveled to College Station, TX for the second time in as many years to take on the Texas A&M Aggies on Kyle Field. Last year, the Tigers posted a 30-9 victory over TAMU, giving the Aggies one of their three losses in the regular season. This year, things would play out a little different.

Mizzou gambled on fourth down early as the Tigers struck first when quarterback James Franklin ran like a man possessed as he shook off tackles on a 20-yard run. Franklin would connect with tight end Eric Waters later in the quarter to give Waters his first touchdown catch of his Mizzou career. Texas A&M would score 21 unanswered to go up 28-14, but punter Trey Barrow, who was filling in for the injured Grant Ressel, and added a 26-yd field goal, his first collegiate field goal, to take the Tigers into the locker room trailing by 11, 28-17.

Grant Ressel was out with a hip flexor, his return is unknown.

The third quarter was a scoreless one as both teams settled in on defense and seesawed back and forth. The offense found their groove, scoring 14 in the fourth quarter and the Tigers D really had their ears pinned back in the second half after giving up 21 in the second quarter, only allowing 3 points late as the Aggies tied the game. The key play in the quarter was Mizzou's Randy Ponder with an interception as Brad Madison got his hands on quarterback Ryan Tannehill's arm. The Tigers' first points in the second half came as running back Henry Josey took it in from 11 yards out. That score cut the deficit to four. Another Franklin touchdown run after the Ponder interception put the Tigers on top 31-28, and A&M would tie late. A big kick return by Jerrell Jackson set up the stage for a game-winning field goal attempt. Barrow had a chance to win the game on a 46-yard field goal (career long is 47 while at Moberly High School), but the ball failed to curve inside the upright. To overtime we go against the #16 Aggies.

Texas A&M won the toss and elected to go on defense first. The Tigers struck on an 11-yd pass from Franklin to Marcus Lucas. The Aggies would try to come back to tie, but a deflected pass on fourth down ended their hopes in overtime. Final in College Station- a thrilling 38-31 OT win for Mizzou.

DB Randy Ponder (7)
Missouri seemed to find a cure for the turnovers last week against Oklahoma State, but still committed a fumble in the third quarter. Texas A&M committed three turnovers in the game, with Ponder's interception the most costly.

After the offensive line gave up two sacks on the opening drive for the Tigers, Franklin and Josey both had big days on the ground. Josey, the Big 12's leading scorer, rushed 20 times for 162 yards and a touchdown and Franklin added 97 yards of his own and two rushing scores. Franklin threw for 198 and two touchdowns. Franklin, who threw two interceptions in the first five games, threw five in the two against Iowa State and against the Cowboys. He reconciled those by throwing zero against A&M.

Next week, the Tigers take on a Baylor team that fell to the Cowboys on Saturday, 24-59 before returning home to play Texas (shutout Kansas 43-0), and Texas Tech (loss to Iowa State 41-7). The final game is against Kansas in Arrowhead on November 26th.

One State, One Spirit Stats

As posted before, the Tigers took on the Lions of Missouri Southern in the One State, One Spirit Classic to raise money for the Joplin Relief Fund. A sellout crowd of 3,477 showed up to help out the local community.

Stats from the game:
Mizzou's Marcus Denmon led all scorers with 25 points. Missouri Southern's Keane Thomann led the Lions with 21. Michael Dixon and Ricardo Ratliffe both had 8 rebounds each to lead the Tigers while Thomann led MSSU with 7. Dixon led the Tiger bench with 19 points while Jason Adams of MSSU led the reserves with 18. Missouri State committed almost as many turnovers as they had points in the first half (23 points, 20 turnovers).

Tigers Box Score:
Marcus Denmon- 25 points, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 3 rebounds
Kim English- 10 points, 4 assists, 2 turnovers, 3 rebounds, 3 personal fouls
Michael Dixon- 19 points, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 8 rebounds
Ricardo Ratliffe- 17 points, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 steal, 8 rebounds, 3 personal fouls
Matt Pressey- 18 points, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 3 steals, 7 rebounds, 1 personal foul
Phil Pressey- 10 points, 9 assists, 3 turnovers, 6 steals, 4 rebounds, 1 personal foul
Kadeem Green- 4 points, 1 rebound
Jarrett Sutton- 3 points, 1 assist
Steve Moore- 8 points, 1 turnover, 3 steals, 4 rebounds, 4 personal fouls
Andy Rosburg- 0/1 on field goals
TEAM: 114 points, 21 assists, 12 turnovers, 14 steals, 41 rebounds

Lions Leading Scorers:
Keane Thomann- 21 points, 1 block, 7 rebounds
Jason Adams- 18 points, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 blocks, 3 steals, 2 rebounds, 3 personal fouls
Marquis Addison- 11 points, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals, 1 rebound, 2 personal fouls
TEAM: 68 points, 16 assists, 26 turnovers, 4 blocks, 6 steals, 28 rebounds

Complete stats can be found here: http://www.mutigers.com/sports/m-baskbl/stats/2011-2012/ex-mu.html

One State, One Spirit Classic

Tigers win big in charity game
by Mizzou Matt 10/30/11
JOPLIN, MO- May 22nd, 2011. An EF-5 tornado rips through southwest Missouri, devastating everything in its path, including the city of Joplin. When the dust settled and the weather cleared, there was over 7,500 homes were damaged and a final death toll of 162 in Joplin. Starting the very next week, the University of Missouri launched a campaign- "One Mizzou", and started selling t-shirts to raise money for relief efforts in Joplin. New Missouri head basketball coach Frank Haith masterminded a concept and was able to get NCAA Division II Missouri Southern head coach Robert Corn on board the playing of an exhibition game to benefit the city of Joplin.

MSSU enters the year with preseason ranks as high as 4th and as low as 7th in D-II. The Lions are placed atop the MIAA conference. Mizzou enters with a preseason rank of 25th, and is picked 4th in the Big 12.

Mizzou fans got their first look at this year's squad as they run away with the game, 114-68 in Joplin. Not only was it the first look at the AP #25 2011-12 Tigers (23-10, 9-9 last season), but it was the first real look at the new coach. Haith, who after coming from Miami, FL, raised concerns with his possible involvement in a "pay-for-play" scandal with the Hurricanes, according to convicted ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro. Haith is the 17th head coach in Mizzou history.

Tiger senior Marcus Denmon led all scorers with 25 and fellow senior Kim English posted ten of his own as virtually everybody on the bench who is able to play, played. Jarrett Sutton saw some action and even scored a few points, along with Kadeem Green. Transfers Earnest Ross (Auburn) and Keion Bell (Pepperdine) won't be available til next season, and the same goes for senior Laurence Bowers. Bowers tore his ACL prior to starting practices and is being granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA.

"We still have some things to work on," said Haith, as the Tigers take on Truman State and Central Missouri in two more exhibition matchups before starting the season on November 11th against SE Missouri.

Tonight's game at MSSU's Leggett & Platt Athletic Center was a sellout, and all proceeds from tonight's game, including merchandise and memorabilia, goes to the Joplin Relief Fund. On October 8-9, the Missouri baseball team raised over $12,500 in exhibition games against Iowa for the Joplin Little League to rebuild their fields. The University raised over $100,000 for Joplin with their t-shirt campaign in the first week.

27 October 2011

"OOPS!" via Dave Matter, Columbia Daily Tribune

Behind the Stripes Header

Oops: SEC site briefly "announces" Missouri as new member

A page dated Oct. 22 on the Southeastern Conference website briefly appeared online Thursday night and had some major news to share: Missouri is officially the league’s 14th member ... or so was supposed to be the case earlier this week. According to the press release that was clearly posted inadvertently, Missouri will begin full membership in the SEC on July 1, 2012.

It’s unclear how or why the pages were posted online, but they were quickly taken down from the league website, replaced with a message saying, "That article is missing." MU has not made any announcements regarding its conference status this week. The way the release was worded, it appears the announcement was at one point scheduled to take place Monday of this week
Here is what the original release stated:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Given the ever-changing conference paradigm over the past year, the Southeastern Conference has continued to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining its stature as one of the nation’s premier conferences by welcoming the University of Missouri as the league’s 14th member, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Monday.
Missouri joins Texas A&M University as the league’s two new institutions who will begin full membership on July 1, 2012. It is the first expansion of the SEC membership since Arkansas and South Carolina joined the conference in 1992.
Missouri was a charter member of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907, which became the Big Six Conference in 1964, the Big Eight Conference in 1964 and the Big 12 Conference in 1996.
Geographically, it is a natural fit as the state of Missouri touches more states (Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee) that currently are home to an SEC institution than any other state that is not in the league’s previous 13-member footprint. Like the majority of the cities in the SEC, Columbia, Mo., is a college-centered town with a metropolitan population of 164,283, making it the fifth-largest city in the state of Missouri.
With an enrollment of 32,415, the University of Missouri boasts a strong academic resume, as it is one of only five universities nationwide with law, medicine, veterinary medicine and a research reactor on one campus. Six of Missouri’s sports teams last season led the Big 12 in graduation rate for their respective sports.
Culturally, Missouri is as well known for its barbecue, country music, history and rich tradition as the majority of the current states of the SEC.
Missouri is one of only 35 public U.S. universities invited to membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). It will become the fourth SEC school that is part of the AAU, joining Florida, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.
The website also included a page titled “Missouri-SEC Connections” that listed five past and present coaches who share MU and SEC ties, including Arkansas basketball and former Missouri Coach Mike Anderson, whose photo was featured on the page.
Also included was a page detailing Missouri’s homecoming history, an MU basketball page featuring a Q&A with analyst Chris Dortch and another Q&A with CBS Sports columnist Tony Barnhart. In the Barnhart feature, the writer is asked about Missouri’s football program being a good fit for the SEC.


“I think people have to remember that, as recently as 2007, Missouri was ranked No. 1 and in a position to play for the national championship,” Barnhart responds. “If they beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game, they were in a position to play for it all. Gary Pinkel has been as consistent of a coach as they’ve ever had. Missouri knows what good football looks like.

“The thing that people keep asking: ‘Is Missouri a cultural fit?’ I don’t think there’s any question that they are. People forget that there were questions about South Carolina and Arkansas. South Carolina had always been in the ACC or an independent, and Arkansas had been a founding member of the Southwest Conference, as far west as they were. People wondered if they would be a cultural fit. Once you bring somebody into the SEC family, after 3-4 years from now, that question will never be raised. They become a part of that family by being invited.”
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A FOLLOW UP
by Mizzou Matt
Now let's break down what the original article states, because there are factual errors in there. It says that Columbia has a population of 164,283, when according to the 2010 census, the population is right around the 110,500 mark. It says that Mizzou has an enrollment of 32,415, when the actual enrollment is 33,805. Of course these are just numbers, but it shows the accuracy of the website when they can't even get numbers that are easily found just by doing a Google search or just visiting the http://www.mizzou.edu website.

In the article, it says that "It touches more states" than any other state in the current SEC. That's not too hard to do because Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and South Carolina are all coastal states. Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky would be the only landlocked states IF Missouri is added, and it's not even accurate. Arkansas touches four- Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi. Tennessee touches five- Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri (if added), Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia (that's five states, six including Missouri). Missouri touches just three- Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee. The author of the article is as geographically challenged as the Big East for wanting to invite Boise State.

From the article: "Missouri was a charter member of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907, which became the Big Six Conference in 1964, the Big Eight Conference in 1964 and the Big 12 Conference in 1996." Now let's take a look at the truth. When the Big Eight was founded in 1907 it was founded AS the MVIAA. The Big Six conference was 'formed' in 1928 ('formed' because the Big Six was an unofficial name given to the conference by fans). In 1948, the name of the conference changed again when Colorado joined to form the again unofficially named Big Seven conference. The name "Big Eight" didn't come into existence until 1964.

Maybe I'm just being nit-picky and maybe it's all semantics, but I feel that if you're going to report something like this, you'd want to make sure you have ALL your facts in order.

26 October 2011

Q&A w/ Dave Matter

I asked some questions to Columbia Daily Tribune Mizzou football beat writer Dave Matter regarding last week's game against Oklahoma State, and if he could give a preview of this week's Texas A&M matchup.

Matt Jeffrey (MJ): Last week, the turnovers killed us. What has the team done throughout the week to not turn the ball over?
Dave Matter (DM): Practices aren't open to the media, other than the first 30 minutes on Tuesday, so I can't really say what they've done. Franklin was pretty down on himself for the four turnovers, but his offensive line was just as guilty for a couple of them.
MJ: Really only one interception was a legitimate pick (in the secondary), the other two were tips that landed in D-lineman hands. Was it a case of OKST's defensive line being too overpowering in the trenches, and do you think the offensive line is ready for TAMU's pass rush?
DM: The tip-and-picks were a combination of MU's O-linemen not doing enough to keep the D-line's hands down, especially the second one, and Franklin not throwing in the proper passing lanes. On quick-game passes, like both of those were, the QBs are taught to not throw over the heads of defenders, and Franklin got careless there with his delivery. Not sure if they're ready for A&M's [pass] rush. It's pretty potent.
MJ: One last question- When the Tigers got the ball late in the first half, do you know why they decided to run the clock out and not try for a deep ball down field to possibly tie going into the locker room? Many of the fans in the stadium were very displeased with the running the ball and bleeding the clock, especially since when had the momentum going our way at that particular moment of the game.
DM: Pretty conservative choice by Pinkel there. Pretty obvious he didn't trust the passing game or teh kicker there to do something big in a short amount of time. My guess is the strategy changes some if the run on first down picked up more yards, but it wasn't discussed after the game.

25 October 2011

Mizzou vs SEC (Football) Breakdown

This post breaks down how Mizzou has done against the SEC in the past, including the last time Mizzou played each school (I've included the opponents' overall record for the season of the last meeting in parenthesis). The stats include 2012 SEC addition Texas A&M.

OVERALL: 25-14-1 vs SEC (including 4-7 record vs TAMU)
ALABAMA
(Tigers lead 2-1)
1968 — *Missouri, 35-10 at Jacksonville (Gator Bowl)
1975 — Missouri, 20-7 at Birmingham
1978 — Alabama, 38-20 at Columbia (Bama 1978 finished 11-1)
ARKANSAS
(Tigers lead 3-2)
1906 — Missouri, 11-0 at Columbia
1944 — Arkansas, 7-6 at St. Louis
1963 — Missouri, 7-6 at Little Rock
2003 — Arkansas, 27-14 at Shreveport, La. (Independence Bowl)
2008 — Missouri, 38-7 at Dallas, Texas (Cotton Bowl) (Arkansas finished 2007 8-5)
AUBURN
(MU Tigers lead 1-0)
1973 — Missouri, 34-17 at El Paso (Sun Bowl) (Auburn finished 1973 6-6)
FLORIDA
(Tigers lead 1-0)
1966 — Missouri, 20-18 at New Orleans (Sugar Bowl) (Florida finished 1965 at 7-4)
GEORGIA
(Bulldogs lead 1-0)
1960 — Georgia, 14-0 at Miami (Orange Bowl) (Georgia finished 1960 6-4)
KENTUCKY
(Wildcats lead 2-1)
1904 — Missouri, 37-6 at Columbia
1965 — Kentucky, 7-0 at Columbia
1968 — Kentucky, 12-6 at Lexington (Kentucky finished 1968 3-7)
LOUISIANA STATE
(MU Tigers lead 1-0)
1978 — Missouri 20-15, at Memphis (Liberty Bowl) (LSU finished 1978 8-4)
MISSISSIPPI
(Tigers lead 5-1)
1973 — Missouri, 17-0 at Columbia
1974 — Mississippi, 10-0 at Jackson
1978 — Missouri, 45-14 at Columbia
1979 — Missouri, 33-7 at Jackson
2006 — Missouri, 34-7 at Columbia
2007 — Missouri, 38-25 at Oxford (Ole Miss finished 2007 3-8)
MISSISSIPPI STATE
(Tigers lead 2-0)
1981 — Missouri, 14-3 at Jackson
1984 — Missouri, 47-30 at Columbia (Miss St finished 1984 at 9-2)
SOUTH CAROLINA
(Tigers lead 2-0)
1979 — Missouri, 24-14 at Birmingham (Hall of Fame Bowl)
2005 — Missouri, 38-31 at Shreveport (Independence Bowl) (S. Carolina finished 2005 at 7-5)
TEXAS A&M (SEC member starting 2012)
(Aggies lead 7-4)
1957 — Texas A&M, 28-0 at Columbia
1958 — Texas A&M, 12-0 at College Station
1992 — Texas A&M, 26-13 at Columbia
1993 — Texas A&M, 73-0 at College Station
1998 — Texas A&M, 17-14 at College Station
1999 –– Texas A&M, 51-14 at Columbia
2002 –– Missouri, 33-27 (OT) at College Station
2003 –– Missouri, 45-22 at Columbia
2006 — Texas A&M, 25-19 at College Station
2007 — Missouri, 40-26 at Columbia
2010 — Missouri, 30-9 at College Station (TAMU finished 2010 at 9-4)
VANDERBILT
(Tigers lead 2-1-1)
1895 — Missouri, 16-0 at Columbia
1896 — Missouri, 26-6 at St. Louis
1957 — Tie, 7-7 at Columbia
1958 — Vanderbilt, 12-8 at Columbia (Vandy finished 1958 at 5-2-3)
TENNESSEE
Missouri has never played against the Tennessee Volunteers in football.

Here’s the breakdown by decade:
1890s: Missouri 2-0
1900s: Missouri 2-0
1940s: Missouri 0-1
1950s: Missouri 0-3-1
1960s: Missouri 3-3
1970s: Missouri 7-2
1980s: Missouri 2-0
1990s: Missouri 0-4
2000s: Missouri 7-2
2010s: Missouri 1-0

Bowl games: Missouri 7-2
Regular-season games: 17-13-1

Here’s the breakdown by Missouri head coaches’ career records against the SEC 13:
C.D. “Pop” Bliss: 1-0
Frank Patterson: 1-0
John F. McLean: 1-0
W.J. Monilow: 1-0
Chauncey Simpson: 0-1
Frank Broyles: 0-1-1
Dan Devine: 3-5
Al Onofrio: 3-1
Warren Powers: 6-1
Bob Stull: 0-2
Larry Smith: 0-2:
Gary Pinkel: 8-2

Of those the SEC teams (and future SEC team) that Pinkel has coached against, here’s how each of them finished that particular season:
2002 Texas A&M: 6-6
2003 Texas A&M: 4-8
2003 Arkansas: 9-4
2005 South Carolina: 7-5
2006 Mississippi: 4-8
2006 Texas A&M: 9-4
2007 Mississippi: 3-9
2007 Texas A&M: 7-6
2007 Arkansas: 8-5
2010 Texas A&M: 9-4

courtesy: Dave Matter and the Columbia Daily Tribune.
http://www.columbiatribune.com/weblogs/behind-the-stripes/2011/oct/05/missouris-history-vs-sec/
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NOTE: A lot of these wins are immaterial, considering how long ago they occurred. 1896 was the last time we won against Vanderbilt, 115 years ago. The one-time meetings against Auburn, LSU, Florida and Georgia are not indicative of overall performance of those teams, especially considering all four have won at least one national championship in the last 11 years.

23 October 2011

NCAA: What It Was, What Its Becoming

An objective look, intertwined with personal opinion
by Mizzou Matt 10/23/11
The NCAA. The National Collegiate Athletics Association. At one point, it was fun and entertaining. The rivalries were what made college sports the thing to watch. Playing for pride is what set it apart from the professional sports. The more the dollar signs are passed around, the more pro-like it becomes, especially when you bring up the subject of paying the athletes and conference realignment.

That's right, this ain't your daddy's NCAA anymore. The college landscape is changing, there is no denying that. It started back in the 90s, when the Southwest Athletics Conference (SWAC) merged with the Big 8, and the Big Ten tried adding Penn State and Notre Dame (PSU joined, ND did not). It's been slowly changing since then with the formation of the Bowl Championship Series, better known as the BCS. Teams vying for a spot in the BCS standings usually get the most payout from the bowl games, but only six conferences have automatic BCS berths- Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Southeastern Conference, and the Pacific Athletic Conference.

The conference realignments of the last couple years have reshaped the traditional Big Six conferences. No longer are teams geographically correct to the conference of which they belong. The PAC-10 added Colorado, a former Big 12 school. The Big East accepted Texas Christian, formerly of the Mountain West, located in Fort Worth, TX. This year, the SEC has added Texas A&M, located in College Station, TX, and are looking to possibly add another.

The Big 12, after losing CU and Nebraska look to add a couple teams of their own. TCU was enticed away from the Big East, and with Syracuse and Pittsburgh looking to leave, the Big East will likely be consumed by another conference. Initial reports are that Conference USA and the Mountain West are working on a deal to merge and possibly include the Big East. The other schools that the Big 12 are looking to are to try and get their hands on is to first try and retain Big 12 charter member Missouri. If Missouri were to leave, West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinnati would likely be courted to fill the void made by the Tigers.

Conference realignment really only means one thing: schools no longer care about tradition or rivalries and only care about money. The Big Ten and the SEC are the two top payouts among the BCS conferences. Nebraska broke off rivalries with Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma to join the Big Ten. Texas A&M broke off their rivalry with Texas to join the SEC. With Missouri eyeballing a possible move to the SEC, they would be breaking off current rivalries with Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, as well as losing a developing rivalry with Kansas State.

"But they're only rivalries, we can start new ones," is what a few pro-SEC fans have talked about. Mizzou athletic director Mike Alden has said that he would like to continue the 119 year rivalry with Kansas, should the Tigers depart the Big 12. Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has said that if Missouri leaves, he has no desire to continue the rivalry. Reality is, not one of our current rivalries would be interested in continuing. We'd be starting from scratch in the rivalries department, as well as having to rebuild our entire athletic program. The loss against Oklahoma State could possibly be a preview of years to come if we made the move to the SEC. The key word in there is POSSIBLY. Let's face it, the SEC has LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Florida- winners of five of the last six national championships. If Missouri were to leave, reports say we'd likely join the east division, joining the likes of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. I'm a diehard Mizzou fan, and it pains me to think this way, but this is just my personal opinion- if Mizzou were to go to the SEC, I think we could all expect 4-8, 5-7 and 6-6 seasons at best for at least the first five years. The only "guaranteed" wins would be non-conference opponents in the first three games of the year, followed up by wins over Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Tennessee, possibly Mississippi State.

Other topics that need to be looked at are recruiting and income. While schools looking to move eyeball the dollar signs from the new conferences, that extra money would pretty much already be spent by traveling to outlying schools that are far removed from the rest of the conference. An example of this is the Big East considering adding Boise State.

The latter topic is recruiting, which Missouri has a strong base already formed in Texas. If the Tigers were to exit the Big 12 in favor of the SEC, our recruiting starts all over again, but this time we'd be competing with LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Florida...in more than just the "big money" sports of football and basketball. We'd be competing with them in soccer, baseball, softball and overall enrollment in general. As it stands right now, Missouri is the fastest growing university among the Association of American Universities, with an enrollment increase of 32% since 2002. With a move brings a period of instability, which would likely have an effect on overall enrollment. (source: http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2011/1018-mu-undergraduate-enrollment-fastest-growing-in-aau/)

It doesn't matter if you're for or against a move, you should be emailing the Board of Curators at boardofcurators@umsystem.edu, getting your voice heard one way or the other.

Two in Five, Five in Two

Tigers commit four turnovers in frustrating loss
by Mizzou Matt 10/23/11
COLUMBIA, MO- Three interceptions and a fumble, all by the same player. Sophomore quarterback James Franklin, who had just two interceptions in the first five games of the season, has thrown five interceptions in the last two games. Of all the turnovers that were committed against Oklahoma State, the most costly was the fumble deep in Cowboy territory. That fumble could easily be viewed as the turning point of a game that was a tale of two halves.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys came into Columbia undefeated and ranked 6th in the AP poll, but that didn't stop the "Experts" at ESPN from putting them on upset alert. The upset wasn't meant to be as the Pokes handed the University of Missouri Tigers their biggest, and most frustrating loss of the season. 64,202 may have watched the opening kick, but very little of that remained for the 45-24 the final at Faurot Field.

Both teams failed to produce points on their opening drives as the Tigers (3-4, 1-3) went three and out and Oklahoma State (7-0, 4-0) missed a field goal. The Cowboys struck first, on what looked to be a blown coverage in the first quarter. Stay tuned, the rest of the game would be very similar to that. The first points of Mizzou came from the most unlikely source- the kicking game. After a double pass trick play and a stalled drive, Grant Ressel barely connected on a 26-yard field goal to go down 7-3. Oklahoma State scored again on a short pass from 28 year old Brandon Weeden to star wideout Justin Blackmon. Blackmon would leave the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury and wouldn't return. Hubert Anyiam, another Cowboy receiver would spend the second half with his foot in a boot. Cowboys lead14-3 at the end of one.

Tailback Kendial Lawrence scored the first touchdown of the game for Mizzou in a stellar 14 point second quarter for the Tigers. The score came as the result of an 18 yard scamper by the guy everyone calls "Showtime". T.J. Moe would add the second touchdown as he crept behind the secondary on a 34 yard pass from Franklin. The Cowboys would add ten points of their own to put Mizzou down at the half 24-17.

The second half was the other part of the story, as Oklahoma State blew open the score with two touchdowns in the third quarter. Mizzou, who had done a pretty good job at stopping the run in the first half, looked deflated but managed to gain momentum when cornerback E.J. Gaines intercepted Weeden in the endzone. The offense marched down the field, but the Franklin fumble inside the 10 killed the drive and seemingly ended the Tigers' hopes for an upset. One of the Cowboys' scores came after that fumble, on a 59 yard run by Joseph Randle. Randle would finish with four scores on the day. Both Mizzou and State would add a touchdown a piece in the fourth as both teams broke 80 plays for the game.

Oklahoma State used a pass-heavy attack through the first half, with Weeden netting 216 yards. Weeden finished the game going 33/49 for 338 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception. Franklin finished 14/27 for 184, a touchdown and three interceptions. Both Randle and Mizzou tailback Henry Josey had 138 yards, but Randle finished with three touchdowns to Josey's none. The Tigers finished with 248 yards rushing as a team. Justin Blackmon led the Cowboys receiving with 8 for 54 and a touchdown, but Moe would lead all receivers in the game with 6 for 103 and a touchdown.

The Tigers go on the road for the next two games as they travel to Kyle Field in College Station to take on Texas A&M for the final scheduled meeting between the two (as of right now), as Texas A&M is moving to the SEC starting in 2012, and Mizzou's fate is still up in the air. The second game is November 5th at Baylor.
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Other big news is Texas Tech ended Oklahoma's 39-game home win streak with a 41-38 upset of the number three team in the country. Missouri plays Tech on November 19.

19 October 2011

Improbabilities

Josey, running game the "catalyst" for the offense
by Mizzou Matt 10/19/11
COLUMBIA, MO- As the University of Missouri football team gets ready for Oklahoma State, questions were asked of various items surrounding the team. The most ridiculous was someone asked if the reason why T.J. Moe wasn't getting the ball is because he is "dating Franklin's ex girlfriend." Moe leads the receiving corps with 31 grabs for 375 yards and two touchdowns. Another question was asked if offensive coordinator David Yost has recognized the Cowboys' susceptible run defense and if he would use running back Henry Josey more in the game plan.
"Absolutely. Fans might not believe it based on the K-State game and some others, but the players tell me the coaches understand that the running game has become the catalyst for the offense. They know how valuable Josey has become."
That is from Columbia Daily Tribune sports beat writer Dave Matter, who is considered the leading source for Mizzou football news in Columbia.

"They know how valuable Josey has become." Read that again and let it sink in. Josey has run the ball 74 times for 717 yards this year. That's a very respectable 9.7 yards per carry average. Through the six games they've played, Josey is averaging 119.5 yards per game, which puts him at ninth in the country. He leads the running backs in rushing touchdowns with six. Only Franklin has more (7).

The offense has been a surprisingly balanced attack, given the fact that the spread-style is beneficial for a pass-first attack. James Franklin leads the way with 1488 yards, but as a team they've passed for 1558. As a team rushing, 1419. The fact that the run game has been the "catalyst" for the offense is almost as crazy as a fullback in the backfield. Wait a second...didn't Mizzou run from the I-formation on numerous occasions against Iowa State, using 6'2, 250lb tailback Jared Culver (season stats: 15 car, 93 yds, TD) as a fullback? Well then, maybe the run game leading the way really isn't that preposterous after all.

16 October 2011

Happy 100th Homecoming, Mizzou

Tigers rout ISU in Centennial celebration
by Mizzou Matt 10/16/11
COLUMBIA, MO- Try and imagine yourself on November 25th, 1911. The game is against your most hated rival, Kansas. Only a couple thousand people at most answer the calling of "come home" by Chancellor Chester Brewer to watch their Alma Mater play a game that ended in a 3-3 tie. Now flash forward 100 years to present day. That was the first of five ties in Homecoming events for the University of Missouri, the birthplace of Homecoming.What's different? Other than the hundreds of cars tailgating in the parking lots, the evolution of the football uniforms and safety equipment, and the size of Columbia itself, the most notable difference would be the size of the stadium. For the second straight year, the Tigers have sold out Faurot Field for Homecoming. 71,004 ties the attendance record since the downsizing of 1995 (seating was reduced from 75,000 to 68,174), and has only been done just twice before- October 24, 2009 vs Texas; Oct. 23, 2010 vs Oklahoma. Now Oct. 15, 2011 vs Iowa State can be added to that list. 71,004 fans would pay the admission price, but thousands others would pack the parking lots, bars and friends' houses to take part of history. (I am aware of the many reports of other schools having 'Homecoming' games prior to the 1911 Missouri game, but the NCAA, along with the Trivial Pursuit board game and the game show "Jeopardy!" have all confirmed that the Nov. 25th, 1911 game vs Kansas was the first official declaration of Homecoming. Even the popular crime-drama show "NCIS" has stated that Missouri is the birthplace of the Homecoming tradition. [see video below])


Mizzou, who entered the game at 2-3, 0-2 and 14-point favorites, jumped at the opportunity to get back to .500 on the year as Henry Josey returned the opening kickoff to the 50 yard line. Eight plays and 2:57 later, sophomore quarterback James Franklin punched it in the endzone from one yard out. Iowa State's first drive was two plays and six yards, which ended with a Steele Jantz fumble recovered by sixth year senior linebacker Luke Lambert at the ISU 38. The Tigers took just six plays and 2:17 for Henry Josey to score from a yard out and go up 14-0. On their next drive, ISU marched down the field, getting inside the Mizzou 10, but had to settle for a Zach Guyer field goal after the defense tightened up to go down 14-3. Missouri took the ball from their own 20, going 80 yards in nine plays and 3:02, culminated with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Franklin to tight end Michael Egnew. Egnew finished with a game-high 105 yards. Iowa State, who started off at a hot 3-0, including a triple overtime win over in-state rival Iowa, has been far from impressive since the start of Big 12 Conference play.

ISU tried going for it on fourth down four times in this game, converting only once. The first attempt came in the second quarter. Mizzou took the turnover on downs and converted it into a 2-yard Kendial Lawrence touchdown. 28-3 Tiger lead at this point. The ensuing Cyclone drive ended with another Jantz fumble recovered by Lambert. On the very next play, Franklin threw an interception, his third of the season, that was returned 78 yards for a Cyclone touchdown. The next Missouri drive, another interception. Franklin, who had just two interceptions all season prior to this game [Miami (OH), K-State], had two interceptions on back-to-back drives. Iowa State wasn't able to convert it to points as they had to punt it away. The fourth drive of the second for the Tigers found them moving the ball, until wide receiver Bud Sasser put it on the turf and Iowa State recovered. Three straight drives, three straight turnovers. The defense held ISU to just one yard and a punt after the turnover, and Missouri took the ball took the ball 75 yards and ended the first half on a 23-yard Grant Ressel field goal. Ressel's woes continue to leave many fans scratching their heads as he moves to 8/15 on the season after going 1/2 on the day.

The score at the half was 31-10 Mizzou.

The third quarter only had five possessions between the two, three for the Cyclones, two for Missouri. Both of the Tigers' drives were extended drives, something they've had problems with this season. Drives of 82 and 88 yards, respectively, capped off with a seven yard pass to junior wide receiver T.J. Moe and a one yard run by Franklin. The Tiger advantage now up to 45-10.

The first drive of the fourth quarter found ISU reserve QB Jared Barnett throwing an interception, returned to the six. Missouri took the ball and scored for the final time to make it 52-10 with a six yard touchdown pass from Franklin to Wes Kemp. Iowa State's Jeff Woody would score at 12:41 on a 13-yard run for the final score of the game.

The final score in Columbia, 52-17 Mizzou.

Missouri improved to 3-3 on the season and notched their first conference win of 2011, as they move their Homecoming record to 58-37-5. The win was coach Gary Pinkel's 80th at Mizzou and the 153rd of his career. He now sits in third, just 13 wins behind coaching legend Dan Devine, on Missouri's All-Time wins list. Pinkel needs 21 to tie Don Faurot.

Henry Josey finished with a game-high rushing total of 129 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. Franklin ran the ball 11 times for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kendial Lawrence added 78 yards of his own on 16 carries with a touchdown. James White led the charge for the Cyclones, netting 61 yards rushing, but it was Woody who finished with 31 that would find the endzone for the lone offensive touchdown.

Franklin led the passing attack, going 20/28 for 289 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Jimmy Costello came in as relief toward the end of the game, but went 0/1. Costello is now just 2/3 on the year. Iowa State's Jantz went 17/32 for 161 and Barnett went 3/8 for 25 yards and an interception.

Egnew compiled his second 100-yard receiving game, finishing with 105 and a touchdown. L'Damian Washington had a big play that led to a Missouri score as he finished with 70 yards on just two catches. Moe added 58 yards for himself and a touchdown, and Kemp contributed 12 yards and a TD. Iowa State's Darius Darks led the Cyclone receiving corps with 45 yards.

Luke Lambert (33) recovers a Steele Jantz fumble.
Defensive end Brad Madison had the interception for the Tigers and Lambert's two recovered fumbles helped bail Missouri out as both teams finish even on the turnover ratio with three a piece. Iowa State was penalized five times for 34 yards while Missouri showed much more discipline than games prior. Missouri finished with zero penalties. None. A spotless performance aside from the three turnovers.

Iowa State falls to an even 3-3 overall on the year, but coach Paul Rhodes is still having trouble finding the win column in conference play as they fall to 0-3. Missouri (3-3, 1-2) will look to remain unbeaten at home next week as they bring in what will probably be their toughest test of the season, undefeated no-6 Oklahoma State and their star wide out Justin Blackmon. The game is set for 11a/CT on FX (DirecTV channel 248).

13 October 2011

Homecoming Preview

Two teams seek one conference win
by Mizzou Matt 10/13/11
COLUMBIA, MO- Saturday is the day that the University of Missouri, and the nation, will celebrate 100 years of Homecoming. Last year, the Tigers had the audacity to bring in then BCS no-1 Oklahoma and did something nobody ever thought they would do- won. The nine point thriller in Columbia was just the second win over OU for the program in the past 20 years, dating back to a 1998 Homecoming 20-6 victory. Mizzou finished last year at 9-4, including a 27-24 loss to Iowa in the Insight Bowl. The 1998 season found the Tigers in the Insight Bowl vs West Virginia, which ended in a 34-31 Tiger victory.

The past two years is a tale of two teams. Last year Mizzou had the likes of Blaine Gabbert and Aldon Smith. They had a veteran offensive line led by center Tim Barnes. Lining up at outside linebacker was Andrew Gachkar. They had three outstanding defensive backs in Carl Gettis, Kevin Rutland and Jarrell Harrison. The D was stout, and the offense methodical (minus a few bumps in the road). Gabbert and Smith both went in the top ten of the 2011 NFL draft, Gachkar went in the 7th round. Gettis, Barnes and Rutland all went in the supplemental draft.

This year they're led by a first year starting quarterback in James Franklin. No surprise there as we're now six weeks into the season. It should also come to no surprise that with a first year starter, the team is trying to find its stride. With a season record of 2-3, 0-2, the Tigers are looking for their first conference win of 2012. All three of Mizzou's losses were on the road to ranked opponents (Arizona State, Oklahoma, K-State) for a combined 24 points. They managed to score 14 in the last 6:30 against the Wildcats. They still lost 24-17. They scored 14 in the fourth against OU to make the score 38-28. They came back to tie the Sun Devils and force a 7-point 37-30 overtime loss.

Iowa State, on the other hand, has a winning overall record at 3-2, but like Missouri is still winless in conference play. After a hot start at 3-0 and defeating in-state rival Iowa in triple overtime, the Cyclones are far from impressive. Texas proved that last year's 28-21 ISU win was a fluke. Quarterback Steele Jantz brings with him a lackluster 55% completion percentage, an abominable 6.0 yards per pass, a TD-to-INT ratio of 10-8 and 40 yards rushing...before sacks. Franklin has slightly more respectable numbers- 96/161 (57.9%), 1199 yards, 7 TDs and just two interceptions. The Mizzou offensive line has only allowed nine sacks all season.

This game carries more than just a win in the conference standings. This game also carries historical implications. The first Homecoming game on November 25, 1911, ended in a "sloppy, mudpie tie" when Mizzou battled Kansas in a 3-3 game. The winner of this game will leave an indelible mark on history for winning the 100th Homecoming. The Tigers boast a 57-37-5 Homecoming record (.555 winning percentage), and Iowa State will try and make it loss number 38 as Gary Pinkel searches for his 80th win at Mizzou, 153rd win overall. Pinkel is currently third on the All-Time wins list at Missouri with 79, just 14 behind Dan Devine (93) and 22 behind legend Don Faurot (101).

If you're going to the game, be sure to follow the pride points:
  • Come early 
  • Stay late 
  • Be loud 
  • Be respectful
  • Wear Gold! 
Also be sure to be extra loud to create a great atmosphere because a target recruit of Mizzou, the number one high school receiver in the country, Dorial Green-Beckham will be in attendance. Perhaps a "M-I-Z---D-G-B!!!" cheer is in order?

09 October 2011

Comeback Kings, Baseball Joplin Relief

Ressel 1/3 on FGs, 7/13 on the season
by Mizzou Matt 10/9/11
COLUMBIA, MO- Yes, you read that right. Grant Ressel, who was once the most accurate kicker in Mizzou history at 94%, is just 7/13 overall this year. The previous years he combined for 43/46, making him the most accurate kicker in the NCAA over that time period. This year, it seems he's fallen by the wayside. Whatever the reasoning is, we will never know, but the fact remains that his two missed field goals in the Kansas State game really played a big role toward the end of the game.

"Comeback Kings? But I thought we lost?" There have been some fans around Mizzou Nation that have started calling this team the Comeback Kings, including a couple of ABC/ESPN announcers. The Tigers have battled back from big deficits in all three of their losses to make it more respectable. They took Arizona State to overtime, lost by 7. They were down 31-14 against Oklahoma going into the fourth quarter, lost 38-28 (to put into perspective of how big that really is, no-11 Texas lost to OU yesterday 55-17). And yesterday they were down 24-3 with a quarter left to play, and if I told you how it went before explaining it all, you wouldn't bother reading the rest of this article.

The Tigers went down early as James Franklin threw an interception on the opening play from scrimmage. Through stout defense, they managed to keep it 10-3 at halftime. The defense managed to keep it close through out most of the second half until the Wildcats scored twice to extend their lead to 24-3. When all was thought to be lost, the offense found their spark. Powered by two calls that were overturned by way of the video replay, Mizzou made it a game. Scoring twice in the final 6:00, the score was just a difference of seven. The D had a chance to get the ball back with just over a minute to play, but a personal foul on third down by DT Dominique Hamilton thwarted any hopes of a comeback. If you ask any Tiger fan, they'll probably say that was a phantom call, but there were multiple plays that were overturned in Mizzou's favor that were too close to really be called.

The incompetion to Gerau was overturned, though in reality, it was a catch. Jerrell Jackson's catch between the defensive backs was ruled incomplete, but was later overturned. Michael Egnew's fumble really was also overturned by the replay official. A pass complete to T.J. Moe on 4th down was fumbled, but after review, his knee was down when he caught the ball. With the exception of Moe's catch, all the calls really look like they could've gone either way. Whether it be by sheer luck or by the innate character of the tenacious Tigers, the calls went our way. Imagine, if only for a moment, that Ressel had made those field goals from 37 and 42. Now come back from dreamland. Time to get back to reality.

It was all for not as the Comeback Kings came up short in Manhattan by a score of 24-17. The Tigers fall to 2-3, 0-2 on the year and are looking ahead to Iowa State and the Homecoming Centennial on October 15th. Kansas State remains unbeaten at 5-0, 2-0.
--------------------------------------------
The Tiger baseball squad was also in action this weekend, finishing up their three-game exhibition season with a pair of games against the Iowa Hawkeyes in an effort to raise money for the Joplin Relief Fund. Mizzou won game one yesterday by the score of 9-2, and took a page from the St. Louis Cardinals/Tampa Bay Devil Rays books as they came from behind and tied the Hawkeyes today 3-3, finishing the exhibition season with a record of 2-0-1.

"Ties are no fun! Overall very good weekend tho. Learned a lot about our guys. Many positives to build upon," said @CoachPietro on Twitter.

07 October 2011

Mizzou Soccer 10/7

Tigers score four on SIUE
by Mizzou Matt 10/7/11
COLUMBIA, MO- The University of Missouri soccer team was at home tonight against the Cougars of SIUE in a mid-season non-conference game. Kelsey Blincow (3) scored on a penalty kick just 2:00 in to give the Tigers the 1-0 lead. Danielle Nottingham (3), Abi Raymer (3) and Kendra Collins with her first also scored to give Mizzou (10-5, 1-3) the 4-0 win at the Walton Complex. Goalie Mackenzie Sauerwein recorded her sixth shutout on the year. The next game for the soccer squad is Sunday at Baylor before going to Oklahoma. The next home match is vs Kansas on October 21st, and the season finale is Oct 28 vs Iowa State.

The OU game will be televised on ESPNU and the Kansas game is the "Black Out".

04 October 2011

Football, Futbol Weekend

Football at K-State, Soccer
by Mizzou Matt 10/4/11
The University of Missouri has a busy weekend ahead of them. The football team travels to Manhattan, KS to take on the 20th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats. K-State is coming off a one point upset of Heisman hopeful Robert Griffin III and the Baylor Bears. Mizzou is coming off a bye week after a 10-pt loss to then number one Oklahoma. K-State is 4-0 on the year, Mizzou an even 2-2.


"They [K-State] were busy preparing for Baylor while we were preparing for them," said wide receiver Jerrell Jackson. Last year, Mizzou defeated K-State 38-28 in Columbia. T.J. Moe hauled in two TD catches and Blaine Gabbert displayed both ground and aerial tactics in the win.





 

Year of the ACL

Fisher, Bowers victim to season-ending injuries
by Mizzou Matt 10/4/11
COLUMBIA, MO- Two weeks prior to the football season starting, starting left tackle Elvis Fisher went out of practice with a "torn patellar tendon", aka- ACL. Two weeks prior to basketball PRACTICE starting, forward Laurence Bowers goes down in a pickup game with a torn ACL. Fisher, as everybody already knows, is out for the season. Mizzou head basketball coach Frank Haith confirms that Bowers will be out for the entire 2011-12 season, but the NCAA will likely grant a medical redshirt so he can return in 2012-13.

"Unanimous Action"

Chancellor given authority to "actively pursue" options
by Mizzou Matt 10/4/11
ST. LOUIS, MO- "It was a unanimous action...to give Brady Deaton full authority to explore conference affiliation," said Missouri Board of Curator chairman Wayne Erdman. What does it mean? Nothing, really. It just means we now are now looking at the POSSIBILITY of switching conferences.

Mizzou Chancellor Brady Deaton, who is also the Big 12 Board of Directors chairman, resigned his post tonight to "work actively" on the initiative. "We're not ruling out continuing with the Big 12," said Deaton. Interim MU president Steve Owens was also in on the presser, and was quoted as saying "Now is the time to explore our options." Mike Alden made no comment, but Deaton also said he would be working closely with Alden at keeping Mizzou's best interest in mind.

The announcement came after a 4-hour deliberation (longer than the O.J. Simpson jury) at the Board of Curators meeting today at the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus.

03 October 2011

100th Homecoming

Homecoming game "not selected" for television
by Mizzou Matt 10/3/11
COLUMBIA, MO- That's correct. The 100th anniversary of Homecoming, the tradition that has long been said started at Mizzou, will NOT be aired on TV. Sources that work with mutigers.com have confirmed that the Homecoming game "wasn't selected for TV." Every fan I've seen on message boards and on social networking can't seem to figure out why they're not airing the game. How often does a tradition celebrate it's 100th anniversary? Well, if I had to guess, only ONCE.

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