23 October 2011

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.

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