TIGERS LOOK FOR SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL IN STILLWATER
The Missouri Tigers (4-1 overall, 0-1 in Big 12 Conference play) look to rebound from their first defeat of the 2009 season, as they head to Stillwater, Okla., where they’ll take on the 16th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-1, 1-0). The game at OSU’s Boone Pickens Stadium is set for an 8:15 p.m. (central time) kickoff, with the action being televised live on ESPN2.
Oddly enough, this will be the first Saturday game for Missouri in just under a full month, as the Tigers (ranked 24th in this week’s USA Today Coaches’ Top-25 poll, but unranked in the Associated Press poll) last played on a Saturday way back on Sept. 19th, when it cruised to a 52-12 home win over Furman.
Since that Saturday affair, Mizzou played on a Friday at Nevada (a 31-21 win on Sept. 25th), had a bye week (Oct. 3rd), and were off this past Saturday (Oct. 10th), following its Thursday home game against Nebraska (a 27-12 loss on Oct. 8th).
Mizzou is looking to bounce back from its tough loss at the hands of the Cornhuskers last Thursday, as the Tigers held a 12-0 lead after three quarters of play, only to see Nebraska score 27 points in the 4th-quarter (including 20 points in a span of just 3:22 to turn a 12-0 deficit into a 20-12 lead) to rally for the win.
Oklahoma State is coming off a hardfought 36-31 win at improved Texas A&M last Saturday that saw the Cowboys overcome a 15-14 halftime deficit. OSU QB Zac Robinson threw for 279 yards and 2 long TDs (27, 51 yds.) and also ran for a score to lead the way, while Beau Johnson had 2 short TD runs and Keith Toston churned out 130 rushing yards in the winning effort.
STADIUM: Boone Pickens Stadium (60,218 – Football Pro surface). Opened in 1920. OSU is 260-169-17 there alltime (3-1 in 2009), while MU is 11-11 there alltime, and has won 4 straight there since its last loss in Stillwater in 1992.
RADIO: Tiger Network. Mike Kelly (play-by-play), John Kadlec (color), Chris Gervino (sidelines), Mark Mills (engineer). Carried on over 50 stations across the Midwest, and on the Internet at mutigers.com.
The MU broadcast will also air on Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 122).
TV: ESPN. Ron Franklin (play-by-play), Ed Cunningham (color), Bob Goodrich (producer).
RANKINGS (AP/Coaches): MU – RV [31st] / 24th. OSU – 16th / 14th
SERIES: Mizzou leads, 28-21, and is 5-2 vs. OSU in Big 12 play. Six of the seven games since 1996 have been decided by one score, including 3 overtime affairs.
COACHES: MU:Gary Pinkel (Kent, ‘75), 63-42 at MU (9th year) and 136-79-3 overall (19th year). Pinkel is 2-2 vs. Oklahoma State and is 1-1 vs. Mike Gundy. OSU: Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State, ‘90), 31-24 at OSU and overall (5th year). Gundy is 1-1 vs. Mizzou and Gary Pinkel.
KEY MATCHUPS FOR SATURDAY’S GAME
Here’s a few areas that look interesting on paper heading into Saturday’s game in Stillwater...
MU pass offense vs. OSU pass defense – Mizzou enters the game ranked 18th nationally in passing (274.80 ypg), while Oklahoma State has given up an average of 241.20 passing yards per game, which ranks them 89th in the nation. The Tigers are looking to bounce back from a season-low 134 passing yard performance in Thursday’s loss to Nebraska. Texas A&M threw for 273 yards against OSU last Saturday in College Station...
OSU rush offense vs. MU rush defense – OSU ranks 24th in the nation in rushing (196.00 ypg), and they’ll look to control the line of scrimmage against MU’s rush defense, which ranks 52nd in the NCAA coming in (128.00 ypg). The Cowboys were held below their rushing average last Saturday at A&M (169 yards), but they relied on their ground game to ice the win in the 4th quarter. Mizzou held Nebraska to just 105 yards on the ground last Thursday (3.2 avg. per carry), and outside of Nevada getting 218 yards on the ground, the Tiger rush defense might be a little underrated...
OSU pass protection vs. MU pass rush – Oklahoma State’s offensive line not only paves the way for a potent running attack, they also protect QB Zac Robinson very well when he’s looking to throw, as the Cowboys rank 2nd in the NCAA in fewest sacks allowed (0.40 per game). Mizzou’s defense has provided some big plays in the backfield through five games, but the Tigers rank only 68th in QB sacks (1.80 per game).
MU net punting vs. OSU punt return game – Mizzou enters Saturday’s game ranked 2nd nationally in net punting (43.60 avg.), as opponents have managed a grand total of 7 punt return yards against MU thus far. However, OSU counters with a punt return unit which ranks 9th in the NCAA per return (18.45 avg.)...
Penalties – MU is historically one of the least-penalized teams in the Big 12 under Gary Pinkel, and that’s been no different in 2009 overall, as MU ranks 30th in fewest penalties per game (5.60). But the Tigers are coming off a game where they incurred 8 costly penalties for 100 yards in the loss to Nebraska, including 5 holding penalties on offense (after having 10 offensive holds called all of 2008). Oklahoma State has had a hard time staying away from penalties, as the Cowboys enter the game ranked 119th out of 120 FBS teams in penalties per game (10.00)...
MIZZOU-OSU SERIES HISTORY
Old Big 8 Conference rivals renew their acquaintances Saturday as Mizzou and Oklahoma State hit the field in Stillwater, Okla. Mizzou holds a 28-21 overall edge in the series history, and the Tigers have claimed 5-of-7 meetings between the two schools since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996.
However, the Cowboys have won 2 of the last 3 matchups, including a 28-23 contest in Columbia last season that knocked Mizzou from its #3 ranking at the time, when a win could possibly have vaulted them to #1 in the polls.
If recent history is any indicator, look for Saturday’s game to be a tightly-contested one, as all but one of the 8 previous meetings between MU and OSU (dating back to 1995) have been decided by 7 points or fewer, and 3 of them have gone into overtime (all won by Mizzou). The 1996 overtime win by Mizzou (35-28) marked MU’s first-ever overtime game.
Another interesting recent trend that the Tigers are hoping to extend, has to do with the road team’s dominance in the MU-OSU series. The road team has won each of the last 4 meetings, as MU claimed a 41-38 triple overtime win in Stillwater in 2001 and then a 38-31 2005 win in its next trip there. Sandwiched between those were Cowboy wins in Columbia (20-17 win in Columbia in 2004 and 28-23 in Columbia in 2008).
Extending this beyond the Big 12 era, in the MU-OSU series, the road team has won 7 of the last 9 times the two schools have played, dating back to the 1994 season.
LAST YEAR REWIND: #17 OKLAHOMA STATE 28, #3 MIZZOU 23 COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Oklahoma State snarled Chase Daniel and a Missouri offense that had been scoring at will, intercepting three passes in the second half and upsetting the third-ranked Tigers 28-23 to end a 10-game home winning streak for MU.
Zac Robinson and Damian Davis hooked up on a pair of long scores in the second half, and Patrick Lavine’s questionable interception with 1:41 to go was the clincher for the No. 17 Cowboys. Missouri (5-1, 1-1 Big 12) had appeared poised to challenge for No. 1 with a strong effort after top-ranked Oklahoma lost to Texas and No. 2 Alabama had the weekend off.
Robinson was 19-for-28 for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Kendall Hunter had 154 yards on 24 carries and a 68-yard scoring run.
Daniel was 39-for-52 for 390 yards and a touchdown for Missouri, which had won 10 in a row and 18 of 19 at home but were held 19 points below their scoring average. Derrick Washington, averaging 100 yards per game, was held to 11 yards on eight carries with a 5-yard scoring run.
The game matched the second- and third-leading scoring teams in the nation, together combining for a 105-point average. From the start it failed to live up to expectations for a shootout, with Missouri held to a field goal on its opening drive after 11 plays and nearly six minutes and Oklahoma State chewing up nearly five minutes before Robinson’s 6-yard scoring run on its first drive.
Missouri trailed only once in its previous five games and then only briefly in the opener against Illinois. Oklahoma State grabbed the lead three times to stun a sellout crowd 68,349, going ahead for good on Davis’ 40-yard reception for a 21-17 lead late in the third quarter.
Daniel, who entered with 15 touchdown passes and only one interception, pulled Missouri to within five points with 7-yard touchdown pass to Danario Alexander with 4:27 to go. Missouri got the ball at its own 35 after a shanked 10-yard punt with 2:40 to go.
But Daniel forced a throw into tight coverage on 2nd down and Lavine made the diving pick to wrap it up. The play was reviewed and the call on the field was upheld, despite the fact that the ball appeared to have touched the ground on one replay angle. OSU ran the clock to under 10 seconds and punted the ball away, and Mizzou could not block the punt, nor return it the distance on the last play of the game.
Missouri overcame several problems to take a 10-7 halftime lead.
Besides trailing for the second time all season, the Tigers went three-and-out on offense for the first time all year. Plus, their run of scoring a touchdown on their opening drive in every game ended when they stalled inside the 1 and settled for a chip shot field goal by Jeff Wolfert.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES, MISTAKES PROVE COSTLY VS. NEBRASKA
Playing in a driving and relentless rain storm last Thursday night, Mizzou managed to scrape together a 12-0 lead over the favored Nebraska Cornhuskers through three quarters of play, only to see a stunning turn of events take place in the 4th quarter that saw the Huskers put 27 points on the board, to post the 27-12 comeback win.
Uncharacteristic mistakes and some big missed opportunities proved to be the difference in this ballgame. As painful as it is to rehash this for Tiger fans, here’s a look back at some of the key moments...
Twice Mizzou recovered Nebraska fumbles inside the Husker 35-yardline, only to come away with no points on either occasion. On the first instance, the Tigers recovered their own punt that deflected off a Nebraska blocker, on the Husker 32-yardline in the 1st quarter of a scoreless game. But thanks to a holding penalty and an ensuing QB sack, the drive netted negative 19 yards, and the Tigers had to punt. The second instance was perhaps even more crucial, as the Tigers recovered a fumbled snap on the Husker 29-yardline on the first possession of the 3rd quarter. MU led 9-0 at the time, and if they had been able to punch it in for a TD, who knows how the game would have played out, but it didn’t happen that way, as three plays netted four yards, and in the sloppy conditions, Grant Ressel’s 43-yard field goal attempt went wide left, marking the first kick he’s missed all season...
Conversely, Nebraska jumped on Mizzou turnovers for 13 points in the key sequence that saw them score 20 points in a span of just 3:22, after they went scoreless for the game’s first 46:04. After Nebraska hit its first big play of the game (a 56-yard TD pass early in the 4th to cut the Tiger lead to 12-7), Tiger QB Blaine Gabbert was intercepted on the very next snap – marking the first INT of his collegiate career (breaking a string of 177 consecutive passes thrown without an INT). The Huskers turned that into a TD for six points (the PAT pass failed), and the got seven more just 2:25 later, when Gabbert was again intercepted at midfield, with the return going to the Tiger 10-yardline. Three plays later, the Huskers found the endzone again to increase the lead to 20-12...
Mizzou entered the game as the least penalized team in the Big 12 Conference (averaging 5.0 penalties for 45.5 yards per game), but it was flagged 8 times for 100 yards on the night. Included in that total were 5 offensive holding penalties (the Tigers had 10 offensive holding penalties in 14 games during 2008, by comparison). Three of those holds were killers that completely changed the complexion of potential scoring drives. The first was detailed above when MU missed out on a golden scoring opportunity in the 1st quarter after recovering a Husker fumble. Another came late in the 3rd quarter, with MU leading 9-0, and driving inside the Husker 10-yardline. On 2nd-and-4 from the 7-yardline, TB Derrick Washington carried for an apparent 1st down to the 2-yardline. However, a hold was called on the play at the 5-yardline, forcing a 2nd-and-12 from the 15. Two incomplete passes followed, and the Tigers had to settle for a 33-yard Ressel field goal to go up 12-0, instead of a more commanding 16-0 lead that was so close. Lastly, with under six minutes left in the game, and Nebraska up 20-12, the Tigers mounted a solid drive that took the from their own 25-yardline to the Husker 22, where they had a 1st-and-10. During an incomplete 1st-down pass, the Tigers were flagged for holding, which forced a 1st-and-20 situation from the 32-yardline, that the Tigers couldn’t overcome, as they had four straight incompletions derail their last chance...
NEBRASKA FOLLOW-UP NOTES
Here were some other noteables that we took away from last week’s Nebraska game...
It’s hard to imagine a defense playing better than Mizzou’s unit did through 3 quarters of play, as it pitched a shutout for the game’s first 46:04. The last time Mizzou had shut out Nebraska for the first 3 quarters was way back in 1982 (a 6-0 Nebraska win in Columbia). Through 3 quarters, Nebraska (which entered the game with the nation’s 19th-ranked offense) had 50 plays for 109 yards, zero red zone penetrations (it crossed midfield just twice), and was just 4-of-13 on 3rd-downs. Husker QB Zac Lee was just 9-of-27 passing for only 79 yards to that point. But the 4th quarter was all Nebraska, as the Huskers hit that long pass play for a score to break the ice, and then the Tiger defense couldn’t keep NU out of the endzone on two short field situations after Nebraska took over on the Tiger 18-yardline and 10-yardline following interceptions. In the 4th quarter, Nebraska managed 27 points and 154 yards of offense on 16 snaps, they were 3-of-3 on redzone chances, and were a perfect 4-of-4 on 3rd-downs...
Mizzou’s punt game was stellar in sloppy conditions, as it averaged 45.2 yards net per punt, while senior P Jake Harry averaged 44.6 yards on 8 boots, including a long of 57 yards and 4 which were downed inside the Husker 20-yardline. The Tigers also alertly pounced on a live ball during one Harry punt that brushed a Husker blocker, with MU recovering on the Nebraska 32-yardline in the 1st quarter...
Junior LB Andrew Gachkar had a big night, as he had a QB sack, recovered 2 fumbles and forced a fumble, in addition to making 4 tackles. He had a 1st-quarter sack and caused fumble, but the Huskers fell on the live ball. He got his revenge later as he recovered the muffed Husker punt, and he also outwrestled Nebraska QB Zac Lee for a fumble on the Husker 29-yardline to start the 3rd quarter of play...
Junior CB Carl Gettis had 5 tackles and also was big in the punt return game, as he averaged 15.8 yards on 4 returns, including a career-best of 27 yards. His returns covered 14, 27, 6 and 16 yards...
Big 12 North Records vs. Big 12 South (2001-09)
(Thru games of Oct. 10th)
2009 South Opponents (Result)
at OSU, vs. Texas, vs. Baylor
vs. Tech, at Baylor, vs. Oklahoma
at Texas (L), vs. A&M, at OSU
4. Kansas State
at Tech (L), vs. A&M, at Oklahoma
5. Iowa State
vs. Baylor, at A&M, vs. OSU
vs. Oklahoma, at Tech, at Texas
MIZZOU HOLDING ITS OWN VERSUS THE SOUTH
Since Gary Pinkel took over as Tiger head coach in 2001, Mizzou has amassed the best record of any Big 12 North school against its Big 12 South brethren, at an even 12-12 over the past 8 seasons (2001-08). Saturday’s game at Oklahoma State will be the first of three games against South Division foes this year for Mizzou, with the others coming next week against Texas (Oct. 24th in Columbia) and later against Baylor (Nov. 7th in Columbia).
Here’s a look at the how the Big 12 North schools have fared against the South in the Pinkel era...
SPOON MOVING UP MIZZOU TACKLING CHART
The undisputed face, voice and leader of the 2009 Tigers is senior LB Sean Weatherspoon. “Spoon” came to Mizzou as a mostly-unheralded two-star recruit out of Jasper, Texas, and he’s looking to leave as an All-American.
Through 5 games, Spoon ranks 5th in the Big 12 with his 8.60 tackles per game average (43 total). He’s coming off a 5-tackle outing against Nebraska where he seemed to be in on more plays than that, but he was definitely a major reason why the Tiger defense shut out the Huskers for the first three quarters of play.
His 5 stops gave him 345 for his career (he’s only in his 3rd year as a starter on defense), which rank him 9th in Mizzou history. He needs 1 more tackle to tie for 8th place (Darryl Major, with 346 from 1991-94), and he’s 13 away from 7th place (Sean Doyle, with 358 from 1999-2002).
Spoon stands 89 tackles away from the MU career record of 434 tackles, set by James Kinney from 2001-04. With 7 games guaranteed remaining, he’d have to average 12.7 tackles per game to reach that mark. If the Tigers reach a bowl game this season, that goes down to 11.1 per game for him to become MU’s alltime leading tackler.
At Nevada, Weatherspoon had a 9-tackle game where he registered 1 TFL and a 1/2 QB sack as the Tiger defense held the potent Wolf Pack attack in check for most of the night.
Weatherspoon turned in a game-high 14 tackles in Mizzou’s comeback win against Bowling Green. He made four stops in the decisive 4th quarter that saw Mizzou outscore the Falcons, 14-0. Perhaps his biggest play was on a 3rd-and-9 early in the 4th quarter, when he stopped a pass play for a loss of two yards to force a BGSU punt. On the ensuing possession, the Tiger offense drove for a game-tying score…
He got his senior campaign off to a promising start as he registered a team-best 9 tackles in MU’s 37-9 dismantling of favored Illinois. Spoon added a QB sack of the Illini’s Juice Williams, and threw in 1 QB hurry too.
He’s been named a 1st-team pre-season All-American by ESPN.com, and is on the pre-season watch lists for the Walter Camp, Butkus, Nagurski, Lombardi, Bednarik and Lott awards in 2009.
And for good reason, as he led the Big 12 in 2008 with a career-best 155 tackles, which ranked him 5th in all of the NCAA last year. He closed his junior season in fine fashion as he tallied 17 tackles in helping lead MU to a comeback 30-23 overtime win against Northwestern in the 2008 Alamo Bowl, winning Defensive MVP honors in the process.
After earning playing time as a true freshman mostly in a reserve role and on special teams, Weatherspoon emerged on the scene in 2007 as a sophomore. He took over the starting spot at the weakside linebacker position a year ago, and from the get-go was a leader on the defense. He ended the year with a team-best 130 tackles, and was named a 1st-Team All-Big 12 performer by the Associated Press.
6 [3 off./3 def.]
8 [3 off./5 def.]
7 [2 off./5 def.]
9 [ 2 off./7 def.]
8 [6 off./2 def.]
21 [15 off./6 def.]
1 [0 off./1 def.]
15 [7 off./8 def.]
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES
If the future belongs to youth, then things should be looking up for Tiger Football for a long while, because the 2009 Mizzou team takes the field as an extremely young squad.
While Head Coach Gary Pinkel would never offer up youth as an excuse for anything, the fact remains that this team is very young, with only 15 seniors on the roster. Of those, only six are projected to start on offense/defense Thursday against Oklahoma State, with only eight total who are on the two-deep entering the game. That’s a stark contrast to 2008, when the Tigers began the season with 12 senior starters (5 on offense and 7 on defense).
Here’s a breakdown of MU’s projected starters and the offense/defense two-deep for the OSU game. You’ll notice that of MU’s 53 players listed on the 2-deep, more than half (36) are either freshmen or sophomores...
GREGORY NAMED FINALIST FOR LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Veteran RG Kurtis Gregory is not only one of the top offensive linemen around, he’s also an outstanding example of a student-athlete. Gregory, who was a 2nd-Team All-Big 12 performer a year ago on the gridiron, has also excelled in the classroom, as he earned his undergraduate degree in agriculture in May of 2008 – meaning he’s in his 2nd season already of playing as a graduate student. The Blackburn, Mo. native (population of 270 in July, 2008) grew up on his family’s farm and intends to make his living off the land when his playing days are done.
He often takes teammates back to the farm during down time to show them what a day of farm life is like – and most of the time his teammates come back appreciating football practice more and more!
Last week, Gregory was named one of 10 finalists for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, which honors the nation’s top student-athletes in the categories of classroom, character, community and competition.
Nationwide balloting begins immediately to determine the winner. Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award™ winner in early January.
The 2009 finalists are: Zane Beadles, University of Utah; Richie Brockel, Boise State University; Eric Decker, University of Minnesota; Kurtis Gregory, University of Missouri; Jerry Hughes, TCU; Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan University; Colt McCoy, University of Texas; Zoltan Mesko, University of Michigan; Darrell Stuckey, University of Kansas; and Tim Tebow, University of Florida.
These 10 names will be placed on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award football ballot for a nationwide vote which concludes December 6. Fan balloting is available on the award’s official Web site, as well as through text messaging. Fans can text FOOTBALL to 74567 to vote for the finalists. These votes will be combined with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.
Additionally, Gregory was recently named one of 54 candidates for the William Campbell Trophy, which is nicknamed the “Academic Heisman”, and was formerly known as the Draddy Trophy. The award is considered the top scholar-athlete award available to college football student-athletes. Semifinalists must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 29. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2009 NFF National Scholar- Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Campbell Trophy winner, who will have his scholarship increased to $25,000, will be announced live at the NFF’s Annual Awards Dinner on December 8 at the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. A total distribution of $277,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.
The pre-season Outland Trophy candidate is slated to make his 34th consecutive start at right guard this Saturday at Oklahoma State.
SOME ODDS & ENDS
The 89 points allowed by Mizzou’s defense through 5 games is the 3rd-best mark under Gary Pinkel, and was surpassed only by the 2006 (50 pts. allowed through 5 games) and 2004 Tiger defenses (87 pts.). Mizzou’s defense enters Saturday’s game against Oklahoma State ranked 4th in the Big 12 and 27th in the NCAA in scoring defense (17.80 ppg)...
Strangely enough, the highest offensive output by an opponent vs. Mizzou in 2009 came from Football Championship Subdivision foe Furman, as the Paladins had 398 yards of total offense, including an opponent season-best 305 passing yards. Mizzou enters the OSU game ranked 4th in the Big 12 and 50th in the NCAA in pass defense, with its 206.00 yards per game allowed. Against FBS opponents, the average goes down to 181.00 when the Furman result is backed out. That would rank MU 2nd in the Big 12 and 29th nationally...
The middle two quarters have been the most dominant for Mizzou to date, as it has outscored its five foes by a combined 95-25 margin in the 2nd and 3rd quarters combined (including a 55-6 advantage during the 2nd quarter alone). The only 2nd quarter pts. scored by opponents have been FGs by Illinois and Bowling Green...
Oddly enough, despite the fact that Mizzou has scored more points in the 2nd quarter than any other quarter so far (55 pts.), the Tiger offense has had the least amount of 3rd-down success in the 2nd quarter to date. MU’s 3rd-down conversion rates by quarter: 1st (40.8%); 2nd (28.6%); 3rd (46.7%); 4th (57.1%)...
HARRY GIVING ‘EM THE BOOT AS MU RANKS 2ND IN NCAA IN NET PUNTING
Being the punter for an offense as prolific as Missouri’s has been the past few years is kind of like being the Maytag repairman – you’re not called on too much, and when you are, people aren’t too happy about it. But senior P Jake Harry IV is doing well enough in his appearances through 5 games that maybe Tiger fans won’t be so hesitant to see the left-footer trot out on the field.
Harry is averaging 45.12 yards per punt, which is currently 3rd in the Big 12 Conference, and 12th-best nationally...
More importantly, Mizzou’s net punting average of 43.60 ranks 2nd-best in the NCAA through 5 games. Opponents have managed just 7 punt return yards on 8 attempts against the Tigers thus far...
Through 5 games and 24 punts, Harry has 6 boots of 50 yards or more, and has 10 punts which have landed inside the opponent’s 20-yardline. He’s coming off a game against Nebraska where he punted a career-high 8 times for an average of 44.6. He had a long of 57 vs. the Huskers, and 4 of his kicks were downed inside the 20-yardline, as he consistently helped MU win the field position battle for most of the night...
Against Illinois, he punted 3 times and averaged 49.3 yards on the day, with a long of 60 yards…
Against Bowling Green, Harry had a big night in helping keep Mizzou on top of the field position battle, as he averaged 45.4 yards on a career-high 7 punts. He had a 69-yard punt in the 2nd quarter, and also had a 58-yarder in the 1st quarter of play…
Two of his punts ended inside the BGSU 20-yardline, and only 1 was returned on the night, with the return going for negative one yard…
Harry took over punting duties in 2008 for the first time, and he averaged a solid 40.7 yards per punt, while Mizzou’s net punting average of 37.71 ranked them 16th in the NCAA. That was a huge jump in improvement from 2007, when the Tigers ranked 113th in the NCAA in net punting with a mark of 31.46.
PINKEL STANDS 3RD ON ALLTIME MU COACHING WINS LIST
Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel is in his 9th season at MU and touts a career record of 136-79-3 (62.9%). The Illinois game to open the 2008 season was the 200th in Pinkel’s head coaching career.
Pinkel, who has led MU to a combined record of 41-17 (70.7%) over the past 4 seasons, and to bowl games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, has a 9-year record in Columbia of 63-42 (60.0%). Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has won 35 of his last 47 games overall.
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 59.
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.
At right is a quick look at the top winning coaches in MU history.
For the 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.
Pinkel has led MU to 5 bowl games, and if his Tigers reach a 6th in 2009, he will join Devine as the only other coach to guide MU to 6 bowl games.
Pinkel has directed Mizzou to 5 winning seasons (8-5 in 2003, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 12-2 in 2007, 10-4 in 2008), with those representing 5 of MU’s 7 winning campaigns dating back to the 1983 season.
The Big 12 North Division titles won by Mizzou in 2007 and 2008 represent the first football conference title of any kind Mizzou has won since 1969 – the last time it claimed a share of the old Big Eight Conference crown.
In November of 2008, Pinkel agreed to a new seven-year contract worth $2.3 million guaranteed per year, meaning he’ll patrol the Tiger sidelines through the 2015 season.