Tigers Take to Road For First Time

Sept. 17, 2012

Mizzou (2-1, 0-1) at #7/#8 South Carolina (3-0, 1-0)

KICKOFF: 2:30 p.m. CDT.

STADIUM: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250). Natural grass surface. South Carolina has won 6 straight there, and is 22-3 there in the last 25 games.

RADIO: Tiger Network. Mike Kelly (play-by-play), Howard Richards (color), Chris Gervino (sidelines), Scotty Cox (producer), Matt Winegardner (director). Carried on over 50 stations across the Midwest, and on the Internet at mutigers.tv.
   The game will also be available on satellite radio (Sirius 91 & XM 91).

TV: CBS. Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst), Tracy Wolfson (reporting).

   MU - RV (38th) / RV (35th).
   SC - 7th / 8th.

SERIES: MU leads, 2-0, with both previous meetings coming in bowl games – 1979 Hall of Fame (MU, 14-3) & 2005 Independence Bowl (MU, 38-31).

   MU: Gary Pinkel (Kent, '75), 87-55 at MU (12th year) and 160-92-3 overall (22nd year). Pinkel is 1-0 vs. SC and Steve Spurrier.
   SC: Steve Spurrier (Florida, '67), 58-35 at SC (8th year) and 200-75-2 overall (23rd year). Spurrier is 0-1 vs. Mizzou and Gary Pinkel.

   The Missouri Tigers (2-1 overall, 0-1 in SEC play), hit the road for the first time in 2012, as they head to Columbia, S.C., where they'll take on the No. 7/8 South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0, 1-0), at Williams-Brice Stadium. Kickoff for the nationally-televised CBS broadcast will be at 2:30 p.m. central time.
   Mizzou is coming off a three-game homestand, which saw them blow out FCS foe Southeastern Louisiana in the 2012 opener (W, 62-10), before splitting against Georgia (L, 41-20) and Arizona State (W, 24-20) in a pair of games which weren't decided until the 4th quarter.
   South Carolina is coming off a convincing 49-6 home win over UAB last Saturday. The game stood at 14-6 after a UAB field goal late in the second quarter, but Carolina put up 35 unanswered points the rest of the way to blow it open.
   The Gamecocks opened their 2012 season on Aug. 30th by posting a hard-fought 17-13 win at Vanderbilt, before blasting East Carolina on Sept. 8th by a 48-10 count. South Carolina is led by a stingy defense which ranks 6th in the NCAA against the run coming into Saturday, with an average of just 53.0 yards allowed per game. This past Saturday, UAB gained only 27 net yards rushing on 42 attempts – a mere 0.6 yards per attempt.
   The last time Mizzou played a road game at a ranked opponent, the Tigers came away with a 38-31 overtime win at #16 Texas A&M in 2011.

   Mizzou improved to 2-1 on the young season this past Saturday, thanks to a 24-20 win over previously unbeaten Arizona State. The Tigers got some late heroics from its defense, who twice turned ASU away in the final four minutes in the MU endzone while clinging to a 24-20 lead – one on a 4th-&-goal pass that was batted away with 3:36 left, and next on an interception in the endzone with :36 seconds left to preserve the win. Both of those game-savers were made by senior SS Kenronte Walker.
   In a continuing show of enthusiasm by Tiger fans for Mizzou's move to the Southeastern Conference, Saturday's game was played before a second-straight sellout crowd of 71,004 – that marked the first sellout for a non-conference game at MU's Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field since 1984 (Notre Dame).
   It appeared early on that Mizzou might enjoy a more comfortable win against the Sun Devils, as the Tigers scored twice in their first three possessions on the way to a quick 10-0 lead. The edge grew to 17-0 late in the 2nd quarter before ASU got on the scoreboard with a TD just before half to cut into the Tiger lead. Mizzou would go on to post a 24-7 lead, which held until the 4th quarter, when the Sun Devils mounted a rally.
   The Tigers' win over ASU was even more impressive given the fact that they were playing without starting QB James Franklin, who was unable to play due to soreness in his right (throwing) shoulder. Franklin sustained an inflamed bursa sac in his shoulder in the previous week's game against Georgia, and was a game-time decision against ASU. After going through pre-game warmups, it was decided that he couldn't go, and that thrust redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser into his first collegiate start.
   It was the first missed start for a Tiger QB since 2001 – Gary Pinkel's first year as Mizzou's head coach.

   Senior SS Kenronte Walker cemented his name in the hearts of Tiger fans late Saturday night, when he made two of the biggest defensive plays possible in MU's own endzone, on consecutive late-game possessions to preserve Mizzou's 24-20 win over previously unbeaten Arizona State. His first big play came when he broke up a 4th-down pass in the endzone with 3:36 to play to deny the Sun Devils the lead after they drove to Tiger 1-yardline. His deflection on 4th down in the endzone came on a 4th-and-goal from the MU 3-yardline.
   Next, after Mizzou was forced to punt clinging to its 24-20 lead, the Sun Devils took over on the Tiger 21-yardline with just 1:58 to play. On 3rd-and-9 from the MU 20-yardline, Walker broke to the right and snagged Taylor Kelly's pass in the MU endzone for his first career interception with :38 seconds left. He returned the ball 49 yards before going out of bounds, and the Tigers ran out the clock on offense to lock up the victory.
   Walker ended the night with 2 tackles, in addition to his endzone heroics, and on Monday morning, he was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. He's got 10 tackles through 3 games this season, after he posted 44 tackles in 13 games (4 starts) a year ago in his first year on the field for the Tigers.
   With a tip of the proverbial cap to resident MU historian Tom Orf, Walker's game-clinching INT was the 7th time in the Pinkel era a Tiger has intercepted a pass to effectively end a game in the 4th quarter with MU holding a 7-point lead or less. One of those previous 6 instances came against this week's opponent – when CB Darnell Terrell intercepted SC's Blake Mitchell with 1:29 left in the 2005 Independence Bowl to preserve Mizzou's 38-31 comeback win.

   Redshirt freshman QB Corbin Berkstresser learned 30 minutes prior to kickoff that he'd be making his first collegiate start, and he helped lead Mizzou to a 24-20 win over a quality Arizona State team Saturday night. Berkstresser filled in for ailing QB James Franklin (shoulder, scratched after pre-game warmups) and performed well, as he threw for 198 yards (on 21-of-41 passing with 1 interception), while also running for 1 TD and a net of 25 yards (18 carries).
   Berkstresser helped the Tiger offense convert 10 3rd-downs (in 22 attempts) and directed the show for an offense which owned the ball for 34:51 of clock time in the game. Berkstresser was at his best on 3rd down, as he completed 9-of-17 passes for 121 yards and no interceptions, with 8 of those going for first downs.

   Junior DT Sheldon Richardson was already playing at a high level this season, but he seemingly took his game to another level last Saturday against Arizona State. Richardson was a big part of Mizzou's solid defensive effort, as he notched a career-high 9 tackles, with 1.5 tackles for loss and a half-QB sack thrown in the mix, to go with 1 QB hurry as well on a night when it seemed he was either in on, or influenced every play.
   Mizzou's defense held Arizona State to 236 yards and 34 points below their average offensive output, as the Sun Devils entered the game averaging 532.0 yards and 54.0 points a contest. Richardson's effort was a big reason why the Tigers held ASU to just 296 yards of total offense and 20 points.
   With 17 tackles through 3 games, Richardson is amazingly Mizzou's 2nd-leading tackler, despite being a defensive tackle. He also ranks 2nd in the SEC among defensive linemen, trailing only C.J. Johnson of Ole Miss (18 tackles).

   Some random news and notes to tie a bow on Mizzou's exciting 24-20 win over Arizona State last Saturday:

  • The Tiger defense forced 4 Sun Devil turnovers (and the offense had only one giveaway), and Mizzou now boasts a turnover margin ratio of +2.00 per game, which ranks them 1st in the SEC and 5th in the nation...
  • Senior WR T.J. Moe had his biggest output of the season, with an 8-catch, 88-yard performance. He moved into 8th place on the MU career receiving yardage chart (1,861) and he already stands 6th alltime at MU with 165 career receptions. Moe also returned the game's opening kickoff 42 yards to give first-time starting QB Corbin Berkstresser comfortable field position. The Tigers drove for a field goal on that opening drive…
  • Mizzou continued its solid production in the punt return game, netting 72 yards on 3 returns (24.0 avg.). Sophomore TB Marcus Murphy (who had punt return TDs of 70 and 76 yards in the opener vs. SE Louisiana) had 3 returns for 24 yards, including a long of 24 that he almost broke for a score. He also took a return 4 yards before handing off on a reverse to E.J. Gaines, who scampered 44 yards to set up a 2nd-quarter TD which gave Mizzou a 17-0 lead…
  • Junior LB Andrew Wilson tied for the team lead with 9 tackles, including 8 of them of the solo variety. He also forced a fumble which was recovered by the Tigers, and he's now forced a fumble in each of his last four games dating back to last season. Wilson, who was MU's leading tackler in 2011 (98 tackles in 13 games), is leading Mizzou again so far in 2012, with a team-best 19 stops through 3 games…
  • Speaking of getting the ball out, junior LB Donovan Bonner has shown a nose for the ball lately, as he's forced 5 fumbles and grabbed an interception in his last 5 games, dating back to last season. He's forced one fumble in each of Mizzou's 3 games so far in 2012, and before that, had 2 forced fumbles in game #12 of the 2011 season (didn't have any in the following bowl game)…
  • With 3 forced fumbles each this year, both Wilson and Bonner rank tied for 2nd in the NCAA through games of Sept. 15th, with their per-game average of 1.00…

   To borrow liberally from one of the great sports quotes/rants of alltime, the Tiger offensive line isn't exactly who we thought they'd be going into the season. Never was that more evident than this past Saturday against Arizona State. With senior co-captain LT Elvis Fisher out for several weeks due to a sprained right knee (sustained the week before against Georgia), that prompted some wholesale changes in the trenches.
   In addition to missing starting QB James Franklin (the first time a Tiger starting QB has missed a game since 2001), the Tiger offensive line was a reshuffled unit, as only two starters took the field who were expected to be starters in the pre-season – and they were both at a positions they originally weren't slated to play!…
   MU's offensive line was supposed to look like this coming into the year:

  • LT – Elvis Fisher – 6th-year senior, 40 career starts (OUT – knee)
  • LG – Travis Ruth – 5th-year senior, 7 career starts (OUT – tricep)
  • C – Mitch Morse – Redshirt soph., 0 career starts
  • RG – Jack Meiners – 4th-year senior, 6 career starts (Injured – knee)
  • RT – Justin Britt – 4th-year junior, 13 career starts

The Tiger starting line looked like this last Saturday (starting numbers coming into the year):

  • LT – Justin Britt – 4th-year junior, 13 career starts
  • LG – Evan Boehm – True freshman, 0 career starts
  • C – Brad McNulty – Redshirt freshman, 0 career starts
  • RG – Max Copeland – Redshirt junior, former walk-on, 0 career starts
  • RT – Mitch Morse – Redshirt soph., 0 career starts

   Despite this group's relative inexperience, they acquitted themselves pretty well against an athletic Sun Devil defense. The Tigers ran for 3 touchdowns on the night, and the O-line helped MU own a huge time of possession advantage of 34:51-to-25:09 over ASU.

   Mizzou has come out of the lockerroom ready to play each week, as their 38-0 1st-quarter scoring margin would attest to through 3 games. The Tigers are one of 15 schools to not allow a 1st-quarter score to this point. On the flip side, the Tigers are looking to turn around a trend that has seen them get outscored by a 37-14 margin in the 4th quarter so far this season. The last two weeks had Georgia outscoring Mizzou 17-0 in the 4th quarter to turn what was a 24-20 UGA lead into a 41-20 Bulldog win (thanks to a pair of MU turnovers inside their own 5-yardline), followed by last Saturday, when Arizona State outscored MU 13-0 in the final stanza to cut Mizzou's 24-7 lead to 24-20.
   The 4th-quarter issues is a stark contrast to the 2011 season, when Mizzou was one of the nation's top teams in the final 15 minutes – MU outscored 13 opponents by a 143-to-59 margin in 2011, and three times rallied from double-digit 4th-quarter deficits to win two games, while losing a third in overtime. The 143 4th-quarter points was 3rd-most in the NCAA in 2011, trailing only Houstin (168 in 14 games) and Toledo (156 in 13 games).
   This week's opponent South Carolina, has excelled in both starting and finishing games so far this season on the way to a 3-0 start and a #7 national ranking. The Gamecocks have outscored opponents by a combined 62-10 in the 1st/4th quarters – including 28-3 in the 1st quarter, and 34-7 in the 4th.

Mizzou 38, South Carolina 31
Independence Bowl – Dec. 30, 2005
Independence Stadium – Shreveport, La.

Recap | Stats | Notes | Photo Gallery Photo

  1 2 3 4 F
South Carolina 21 7 0 3 31
Mizzou 0 14 7 17 38
Quick Stats
First Downs 21 21
Plays-Total Yards 70-408 83-504
Passing Yards 266 301
Rushing Yards 142 203
Penalties-Yards 5-52 8-87
3rd Down Conv. 5-13 6-19
4th Down Conv. 1-1 4-5
Kick Return Yards 6-177 2-38
Punt Return Yards 3-29 1-0
Punts-Avg. 6-40 5-45.8
Turnovers 3 2
Time of Possession 31:19 28:41
Stat Leaders
Passing Comp-Att Yds TD Int
SC - Mitchell 20-38 266 2 3
Mizzou - Smith 21-37 282 1 1
Rushing Rush Yds TD Long
SC - Davis 18 125 2 24
Mizzou - Smith 21 150 3 59
Receiving Rec Yds TD Long
SC - Rice 12 191 1 26
Mizzou - Coffman 8 99 1 30

   Mizzou and South Carolina will meet for only the third time when they take the field this Saturday. The Tigers have won both previous matchups, which both came in post-season bowl games – the 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. (Mizzou 24, South Carolina 14), and the 2005 Independence Bowl (Mizzou 38, South Carolina 31).
   The last meeting was one for the Tiger history books, as Mizzou posted the largest comeback win in school history on the way to the I-Bowl trophy over the favored Gamecocks and Coach Steve Spurrier. South Carolina jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead, and was driving for what might have been a kill shot and a 28-0 lead, but Mizzou CB Marcus King turned the game around as he intercepted SC's Blake Mitchell and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown to break the ice for the Tigers. Carolina scored another time to retake a 21-point lead, but Tiger QB Brad Smith started to warm up, and he engineered a crucial TD drive right before half to pull MU to within 28-14 at intermission.
   Mizzou's defense stiffened and Smith had a 31-yard TD keeper in the 3rd quarter, followed by a 4-yard ground score which tied the game at 28-apiece early in the 4th. The teams traded field goals midway through the final period, but Smith broke loose for a 59-yard run with less than four minutes left, and that set up his third rushing TD of the night, a 1-yard keeper with 2:13 remaining to make it 38-31. That's how the score would stay, as Tiger CB Darnell Terrell intercepted Mitchell at the Mizzou 37-yardline with 1:29 left to play to seal the improbable victory.
   Smith ended his MVP performance, the final of his record-smashing Tiger career, with 432 yards of total offense, including 282 yards passing (on 21-of-37 passing with 1 TD and 1 INT), plus 150 yards rushing and the 3 scores.
   The first-ever meeting between the two schools was back in 1979, when the Tigers also overcame a deficit – albeit a much smaller one than in 2005 – to post a 24-14 Hall of Fame Bowl win in Birmingham, Ala.
   The Gamecocks, featuring future Heisman Trophy winning RB George Rogers, took a 6-0 1st-quarter lead, but Tiger QB great Phil Bradley threw for a 28-yard touchdown and ran for a 1-run score in the 2nd quarter as the Tigers took a 17-6 lead at half. The Gamecocks pulled to within 17-14 in the third quarter, but the Tigers responded with a long TD drive of their own for a 24-14 lead. That's how the score would stay after a scoreless final period. Rogers ran for 133 yards for South Carolina, but the Tigers had the better day overall, as Mizzou outrushed SC by a 209-142 margin, thanks to strong performances by James Wilder (24 rushes, 95 yards) and Gerry Ellis (12 rushes, 81 yards, 1 TD).

   Mizzou's defense, which enters Saturday's game against South Carolina ranked 20th in the NCAA in total defense (291.33 avg. yds. allowed), has been outstanding thru three games coming out of the lockerroom. Not only have MU's three opponents not scored on their initial series of the 1st half and 2nd half, in those six initial series, MU foes have a grand total of just 3 1st downs, and a net total of 29 yards! Here's a look:

  • 1st Q vs. SELA – 2 plays, (-2 yds), 0:38 TOP (Ended w/MU interception)
  • 3rd Q vs. SELA – 2 plays, 2 yds, 0:17 TOP (Ended w/MU fumble recovery)
  • 1st Q vs. Georgia – 3 plays, (-12 yds), 2:17 TOP (Ended w/punt - NOTE: This UGA possession started on the MU 37-yardline)
  • 3rd Q vs. Georgia – 3 plays, (-7 yds), 2:24 TOP (Ended w/punt)
  • 1st Q vs. ASU – 4 plays, 28 yds, 1:21 TOP (Ended w/punt)
  • 3rd Q vs. ASU – 6 plays, 20 yds, 3:07 TOP (Ended w/punt)
Coach Wins # Seasons (Years) Record Pct. # Bowls
Don Faurot 101 19 (1935-42, 46-56) 101-79-10 .558 4
Dan Devine 93 13 (1958-70) 93-37-7 .704 6
Gary Pinkel 87 11 (2001-Present) 87-55 .613 8
Warren Powers 46 7 (1978-84) 46-33-3 .580 5

   Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel is in his 12th season at MU (22nd overall as a head coach) and touts a career record of 160-92-3 (63.3%).
   Pinkel, who has led MU to a combined record of 65-30 (68.4%) over the past 7+ seasons, and to bowl games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, has a 12-year record in Columbia of 87-55 (61.3%). Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has gone 59-25 in his last 84 games overall (70.2%). MU's win in the 2008 opener against Illinois gave Pinkel his 50th MU win, and he now ranks 3rd on the coaching wins list at MU, with 87. The win over Kansas in 2010 was the 150th of his career.
   Pinkel is in a select group of Mizzou coaches that includes College Football Hall of Famers Don Faurot and Dan Devine, as well as Warren Powers, to be the only coaches to have an MU record of above .500 (with at least one full season coached) dating all the way back to 1935.
   In 2007, Pinkel guided the Tigers from unranked in the pre-season to a team which won a school-record 12 games and a final ranking of #4 in the Associated Press Top-25. Mizzou ascended to #1 in the BCS rankings following the regular season, and stood just one half away from playing in the BCS National Championship Game (before Oklahoma pulled away from a halftime tie to win the Big 12 title game). For his efforts in 2007, Pinkel was a finalist for several national coach of the year awards, including the Robinson, Bryant and Munger awards. He was also named the National Coach of the Year by FieldTurf in 2007, and his 7 bowl games is an MU record.
   Pinkel has directed Mizzou to 8 winning seasons (8-5 in 2003, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 12-2 in 2007, 10-4 in 2008, 8-5 in 2009, 10-3 in 2010 and 8-5 in 2011), with those representing 8 of MU's 10 winning campaigns dating back to the 1983 season.
   The Big 12 North Division titles won by Mizzou in 2007, 2008 and 2010 represent the only football conference titles of any kind Mizzou has won since 1969 – the last time it claimed a share of the old Big Eight Conference crown. In April of 2011, Pinkel agreed to a two-year contract extension, meaning he'll patrol the Tiger sidelines through the 2017 season.



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