Tigers in Lone-Star State of Mind

MUTIGERS.COM Jerrell Jackson is one of several Texas Tigers returning to the scene of last year's 30-9 win.
MUTIGERS.COM
Jerrell Jackson is one of several Texas Tigers returning to the scene of last year's 30-9 win.
MUTIGERS.COM

Oct. 24, 2011


Mizzou (3-4, 1-3) at #16 Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1)

TIGERS IN A LONE STAR STATE OF MIND
   The Missouri Tigers (3-4 overall, 1-3 in Big 12 Conference play) begin a stretch of four straight games against league foes from the state of Texas, and it all gets underway this Saturday at #16-ranked Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1). Kickoff for the game is set for 11 a.m. (central time) in College Station, Texas, with the game being televised on F/X.
   The Tigers are looking to bounce back from a 45-24 home loss to then-#6 Oklahoma State last Saturday, in a game plagued by four MU turnovers that were the difference in the game, as the miscues led directly to 21 Cowboy points. Mizzou gained 463 yards of offense, but couldn't overcome the turnovers, nor an Okie State offense that put together a 533-yard day.
   Mizzou will attempt to get well against a Texas A&M squad which has rolled to 3 straight wins, including victories at Texas Tech (45-40 on Oct. 8th), at home against then-#20 Baylor (55-28 on Oct. 15th) and last week at Iowa State (33-17). The Aggies began the season as a favorite to challenge for the Big 12 title, and started 2-0 on the year before suffering a brief 2-game losing skid by a combined 5 points to a pair of ranked teams - to #7 Oklahoma State (30-29 in College Station) and versus #18 Arkansas (42-38 in Dallas).
   Texas A&M boasts one of the nation's most potent offensive attacks, as the Aggies rank 7th nationally in total offense (522.57 yds.) and 13th in scoring offense (40.43 pts.). A&M boasts a very balanced attack on offense as well, as they rank 14th nationally in rushing (230.43 yds.) and 20th in passing (292.14 yds.).
   The Aggies have had a tough time defending the pass, as they come into Saturday's game against Mizzou ranked last in the nation (120th) in pass defense, allowing 335.43 yards per game. On the converse, they've proven to be among the stingiest in the nation against the run, as they rank 5th nationally in rush defense, giving up on average just 79.86 yards per contest.

KICKOFF: 11:11 a.m. CT.

STADIUM: Kyle Field (83,002 - natural grass surface). Opened in 1905. A&M is 380-150-19 there alltime, including 3-1 in 2011.

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.

TV: F/X. Gus Johnson (Play-by-Play), Charles Davis (Analysis), Tim Brewster (Sidelines) will call the action.

RANKINGS (AP/USA/BCS):
   MU - None.
   aTm - #16 / #16 / #16.

SERIES: A&M leads, 7-4, but Mizzou leads, 4-3 since the Big 12 Conference formed in 1996. MU has won 4 of the last 5 overall, including 2 of the last 3 at Kyle Field.

COACHES:
   MU: Gary Pinkel (Kent, `75), 80-53 at MU (11th year) and 153-90-3 overall (21st year). Pinkel is 4-1 vs. Texas A&M and is 1-0 vs. Mike Sherman.
   aTm: Mike Sherman (Central Connecticut State, `77), 24-21 at A&M and overall (4th season). Sherman is 0-1 vs. Mizzou and Gary Pinkel.

TURNOVERS SPOIL CHANCES AS TIGERS FALL SHORT VS. #6 OKLAHOMA STATE
   It's tough to beat a team as good as Oklahoma State as it stands normally. Try beating the Cowboys when you're minus-three in turnover margin, and it's all but impossible. Those were the odds that worked against Mizzou this past Saturday, when the Tigers' upset bid against the 6th-ranked Cowboys fell short, 45-24, in Columbia, Mo.
   Mizzou turned the ball over a season-high four times, and those miscues led directly to 21 Cowboy points, while the Tigers could manage only one takeaway, which they couldn't convert into points.
   Despite the huge disadvantage in such a crucial category, Mizzou still stood within striking distance midway through the 4th quarter, as CB E.J. Gaines' 33-yard punt return set the Tigers up at the OSU 35-yardline with 6:07 to play, and MU trailing, 38-24. A quick TD would have cut the deficit to just 7 points, and with all three timeouts in their back pocket, the Tiger faithful had hopes of forcing overtime.
   But on the very first play following the punt return, QB James Franklin's pass was batted in the air by DE Jamie Blatnick, and instead of falling to the ground, it went straight to teammate Richetti Jones for a back-breaking pick. It was much like an earlier interception on MU's first drive of the 3rd quarter that somewhat summed up the day for the Tigers. After falling behind 21-3, Mizzou clawed back to within 24-17 at halftime thanks to a spirited rally which was featured by a nifty 18-yard TD run by TB Kendial Lawrence and a 34-yard TD pass from Franklin to WR T.J. Moe.
   Oklahoma State had the ball first after halftime, but Mizzou's defense forced a punt, and the Tiger offense responded with a pair of first downs. With momentum clearly flowing MU's way, disaster struck on the next two plays, however, as Franklin was sacked for an 8-yard loss by Blatnick on 1st down from the MU 39-yardline, and on second down, he had a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage that saw the ball go into the waiting arms of OSU's Shaun Lewis at the Tiger 28. Three plays later, the Cowboys were in the endzone for a 31-17 lead.
   Another turnover later in the third quarter seemed to sum up the frustrations of the day perfectly for Tiger faithful. Trailing, 31-17 midway through the 3rd quarter, the Tigers were on the verge of taking a knockout punch, as OSU drove to Mizzou's 5-yardline. But Mizzou's E.J. Gaines made a great read of a Brandon Weeden throw into the corner of the endzone, and he intercepted the pass and returned it 54 yards the other way to set the Tigers up with a great opportunity.
   Mizzou appeared eager to cash in on the rare Weeden mistake, as six plays later, MU had a 1st-and-goal from the Cowboy 6-yardline, ready to cut the score to a single touchdown. But again, the turnover bug struck again, as on 2nd down from the 4-yardline, Franklin was stripped as he was trying to tuck the ball away after a fake handoff. The ball bounced away and was pounced on by OSU's Lewis, who returned it out to the Cowboy 21 to avert the threat.
   Three plays later, OSU found the endzone, thanks to a 59-yard TD run by Joseph Randle, and instead of a 31-24 score, the Tigers were down, 38-17.

TIGERS REAPING REWARDS FROM CAPITAL 'GAINES'
   Sophomore CB E.J. Gaines is in his first year as a starter, and he's quickly developing into an outstanding cover man who leads the team with 7 pass break ups, with all 7 coming in Big 12 play (including 3 last Saturday against Oklahoma State) and 2 interceptions, while he ranks 3rd so far on the squad with 41 tackles. He's also tied for the team lead with 1 forced fumble.
   He's at his most exciting with the ball in his hands, however. Last Saturday vs. OSU showed just how exciting, as he broke two long returns, nearly taking them both for touchdowns that could have changed the complexion of the game.
   His first came late in the 3rd quarter, with MU trailing by 14 points and with the defense's back against the wall. Oklahoma State faced a 3rd-and-4 at the Mizzou 5-yardline. A TD by the Cowboys would have been a back-breaker, but Gaines saw to it that that wouldn't happen. He made a great read and jumped the route thrown by OSU's Brandon Weeden, intercepting the ball five yards deep near the right sideline of the endzone. Most of the time, people take a knee, but Gaines saw a chance to make something happen, and he did that as he made several moves to elude would-be tacklers inside the 20. He eventually took it back 54 yards the other way to set the Tigers up in plus territory, needing perhaps just one more downfield block that would have sprung him.
   Later, in the 4th quarter, Gaines also came up big in the return game. Inserted as MU's new primary punt returner prior to the Iowa State game, Gaines raced the other way 33 yards with 6:09 left to put the Tigers, who trailed by just 14 points at the time, on the Oklahoma State 35-yardline. A score there would have cut the deficit to a touchdown, but it wasn't to be as MU was intercepted on a batted ball on the next snap.
   Those plays weren't the first big ones Gaines has made this season. He took a punt return back 44 yards for a score against Western Illinois (when he was the backup return man), and in the season opener, he made another interception in the Tiger endzone to thwart a scoring opportunity by Miami (Ohio).
   In 5 punt returns, Gaines is averaging a salty 18.4 yards per attempt. That would rank him far and away tops in the Big 12 and 4th-best in the nation, but he doesn't yet meet the minimum number of attempts to qualify for the leader board (must average 1.2 returns per game).
   Gaines has also shown a willingness to be a boon to MU's run defense, as he's provided support by making 18 of his 41 stops on the year on running plays.

JOSEY LEADS BIG 12, RANKS 8TH IN NCAA IN RUSHING
   Sophomore TB Henry Josey has squarely put himself into the mix as one of the top story lines in the Big 12 Conference in 2011. The unassuming and baby-faced youngster began the season as Mizzou's 3rd-string tailback, but he enters Saturday's game against Texas A&M as the Big 12's leading rusher, and the 8th-ranked runner in the NCAA, averaging 122.14 yards per game. He's had 4 100-yard outings in his last 5 games, and is coming off a 138-yard outing in last Saturday's defeat to #6 Oklahoma State. He carried a career-high 25 times against the Cowboys and averaged 5.5 yards an attempt.
   He's also been inserted as MU's primary kickoff return man (a job he took over for the Iowa State game on Oct. 15th). He's returned 4 kicks in the last 2 games for an average of 27.0 yards (long of 43), which would rank him 2nd in the Big 12 Conference, but he doesn't meet the minimum number of attempts to qualify for the rankings (need 1.2 att. per game).
Now that we're in the 2nd half of the season, it's not too early to dream that a national rushing title isn't too far out of grasp for Josey. He trails the NCAA leader, Ronnie Hillman of San Diego State, by only 16 yards per game coming into Saturday (Hillman averages 138.83 per game currently).
   Josey had a 129-yard performance the week prior in MU's 52-17 Homecoming win over Iowa State. He carried 19 times against the Cyclones (a career-high at the time), and had 1 rushing TD while averaging 6.8 yards per attempt.
   Josey also took over primary kickoff return duties in that game, and gave quite a spark to the Tigers when he returned the game-opening kick 43 yards (the longest kickoff return by Mizzou in 2011) to midfield to set the tone for MU's 52-17 win. Josey returned 2 kickoffs in all, and averaged 35.0 yards on those returns.
   What makes Josey's story so interesting is that he entered the season third on the depth chart in what was considered by most to be MU's deepest position. However, injuries to senior TB De'Vion Moore and junior TB Kendial Lawrence, combined with losing sophomore TB Marcus Murphy for the season with a shoulder injury that occurred prior to the start of fall camp, and all of a sudden, he became a one-man show of sorts.
   Quite a show it's been however...

  • Josey rushed for a game-high 133 yards and 1 TD (on a 48-yard scamper in the 4th quarter) to help the Tigers to a 241-yard output on the ground at top-ranked Oklahoma on Sept. 24th. Josey did his damage against an OU defense that came into the game ranked 20th in the NCAA against the run, allowing just 78.00 yards per game to opponents...
  • Josey averaged an impressive 9.5 yards per carry against the Sooners, as he got his yardage on just 14 carries. Through 7 games, his ridiculous per-rush average of 8.64 for the season is 2nd-best in the NCAA (Orwin Smith of Georgia Tech is averaging 12.29 yds. on 42 carries through Oct. 22nd)...
  • Josey became MU's primary back early in the season, as Lawrence (who began the year with the starting role) went down with a cracked fibula in practice the week of the Arizona State game, while Moore started at ASU but suffered a high ankle sprain on the first play of the night. Josey came off the bench and was impressive against the Sun Devils, as he had 145 yards from scrimmage (94 rushing on 9 carries / 51 receiving on 2 receptions)...
  • The week after that, Josey was thrust into the starting role for the first time this season against Western Illinois (he started one time in relief in 2010), Josey looked to make the most of his new-found opportunity. And did he ever do just that.

   In a performance for the record books, Josey played only one half before retiring for the night, but not before he blistered Western Illinois for 263 rushing yards and 3 TDs (6, 21, 68) on just 14 carries - good for a rather salty per-carry average of 18.8 yards. His 68-yard scoring burst just before halftime ended up being the last carry of the night, as the Tigers led 42-0 and Tiger Coach Gary Pinkel called off the dogs. It was the 4th-highest single-game rushing total in MU history.
   Moreover, Josey's yardage is the 3rd-highest single-game output in the NCAA through games of Oct. 22nd.

  1. Dustin Garrison, West Virginia vs. Bowling Green (32-291, 2 TDs, 9.09 avg.)
  2. LaMichael James, Oregon vs. Arizona (23-288, 2 TDs, 12.52 avg.)
  3. Henry Josey, Missouri vs. Western Illinois (14-263, 3 TDs, 18.79 avg.)
  4. Marcus Lattimore, S. Carolina vs. Navy (37-246, 3 TDs, 6.65 avg.)
  5. Joe Banyard, UTEP vs. Houston (22-240, 1 TD, 10.91 avg.)

HEY MOE! TIGER T.J. MOVES INTO MU CAREER RECEPTIONS TOP-10
   Junior WR T.J. Moe emerged in 2010 as one of the most consistent and dependable play-makers in the Big 12 Conference, as he led the Tigers in receiving (92 receptions, 1,045 yards, 6 TDs). He's at it again in 2011, as he enters Saturday's game at Texas A&M leading the team with 37 receptions for 478 yards and 3 TDs.
   He's coming off a 6-catch, 103-yard, 1 TD outing against #6 Oklahoma State. His TD catch came from 34 yards out with 2:03 left before halftime, and it was a key play that closed the Tigers to within 24-17 at the time. The former record-setting high school quarterback also dusted his arm off the shelf and got his first collegiate completion, as he threw a 31-yard pass on a throw-back pass to QB James Franklin.
   With 131 career receptions (1,531 yards, 9 TDs), Moe has now cracked into the Mizzou career top-10 list for receptions. He stands 10th on the list entering Saturday's game, and he's 6 behind former Tiger standout WR Jared Perry, who is 9th on the list with 137 catches (1,844 yards, 13 TDs).
   The big day vs. OSU was Moe's 2nd 100-yard outing of the season. His first was a breakout performance, and he got just that at top-ranked Oklahoma a few weeks ago.
Moe had a big game at OU, as he hauled in 7 James Franklin passes for a season-best 119 yards. It marked the first 100-yard receiving game of the year for any Tiger, and it was the 4th 100-yard receiving game of Moe's career.
   Moe had 3 receptions at Oklahoma of 20 yards or more, going for gains of 32, 29 and 21 on the night. He leads Mizzou with 10 catches on the year of 20 yards or more so far.
   That was a nice sign for the Tiger offense, as Moe entered the OU game as MU's leading receiver, but with numbers that were smaller than what Mizzou fans had grown accustomed to seeing. He began the year with a 6-catch, 56-yard outing against Miami (Ohio) and followed with 6 catches for 48 yards at Arizona State, and added 4 catches for 68 yards and 1 TD against Western Illinois in a little over one half of play.

MIZZOU PENALTIES AGAINST NCAA RANKING
Season Rank Avg. Pen. Avg. Yds.
2006 12th 4.54 36.92
2007 21st 5.43 46.29
2008 8th 4.14 37.43
2009 28th 5.31 55.08
2010 68th 6.08 57.46
2011 71st 6.29 52.43

CLEANING UP THE PENALTIES OF LATE
   Gary Pinkel has always prided himself on his teams playing with focus and pride, characteristics which have historically led to his squads being among the least penalized in the Big 12 Conference - MU ranked among the top-30 in fewest penalties for 4 straight seasons from 2006-09 (see chart at right).
   The 2010 squad went down to 68th nationally in the category, and that troubling trend continued early on in 2011, as through the first 5 games, Mizzou was averaging a whopping 8.60 flags and 71.20 penalty yards per game, which ranked the Tigers in the bottom 20 in the country.
   If the last 2 weeks are any indication, Pinkel's Tigers have cleaned up those mistakes, because they've been whistled a combined 1 time for 11 yards in the last 2 games against Iowa State and Oklahoma State. Mizzou has jumped all the way up to 71st in the national team rankings for fewest penalties, with their current average of 6.29 penalties and 52.43 penalty yards per game.
   Mizzou opened the year with a 9-penalty, 81-yard effort in its opener against Miami (Ohio), and then saw 11 flags come its way for 114 crucial yards that played a big role in a 37-30 overtime loss at #23 Arizona State in week two.
   Here's a look at MU's penalty history in the recent past:

MAKING SOME QB COMPARISONS
   After winning 10 games 3 times in the last 4 seasons, expectations coming into the 2011 season were understandably very high for the Missouri Tigers. While Mizzou has started just 3-4 overall, it's important to keep in perspective that it features a 1st-year starting quarterback in true sophomore James Franklin. While each of MU's previous 3 quarterbacks are now playing in the NFL, it is interesting to take a look at comparisons of Franklin to the likes of Brad Smith, Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert, in terms of how they fared in their first 7 starts.
   The stats really are pretty similar, with the only glaring exception being Chase Daniel's 6-1 record to start his career. Smith finished the 2002 season with a 5-7 record, Daniel finished the 2006 season with an 8-5 record, and Gabbert finished the 2009 season with an 8-5 record.

1st-YEAR STARTERS UNDER Gary Pinkel THROUGH 1st 7 GAMES
Tiger Record C-A-Int. Pct. Yds. TD Effic. Rush-Yds. (TDs)
Brad Smith (2002) 3-4 128-237-4 54.0 1,451 8 113.20 108-662 (5)
Chase Daniel (2006) 6-1 149-228-5 65.4 1,741 15 146.82 75-200 (3)
Blaine Gabbert (2009) 4-3 134-234-5 57.3 1,704 13 132.49 46-55 (3)
James Franklin (2011) 3-4 130-216-7 60.2 1,672 11 135.53 109-445 (8)

   One more interesting thing to note when looking at the numbers above for the 1st 7 career starts, is the strength of schedule. While we don't have access to the opponents' schedule strength rankings from each year to date, one way to assess that is the number of ranked teams each QB went against. Here's that look:

  • Smith (1 - Oklahoma)
  • Daniel (None)
  • Gabbert (3 - Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Texas)
  • Franklin (4 - Arizona State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State)

MIZZOU FEATURES 35 TEXAS TIGERS
   From day one of his tenure at Missouri, Head Coach Gary Pinkel identified the state of Texas as a recruiting priority. Over the years, the Tigers have mined the state for athletes who developed into All-Big 12 honorees, including the likes of MU's alltime career passing leader and 2007 Heisman finalist QB Chase Daniel (Southlake), 2009 NFL Draft 1st-Round pick Ziggy Hood (Amarillo), 2010 NFL Draft 1st-Round pick Sean Weatherspoon (Jasper) and 2009 All-American WR Danario Alexander (Marlin), among many others.
   Mizzou features 35 Texas natives on its roster in 2011, including 10 projected starters for Saturday, including 6 on defense and 4 on offense. Projected starters on defense include senior co-captain SS Kenji Jackson (Mansfield), senior co-captain DE Jacquies Smith (Dallas), senior DT Dominique Hamilton (El Paso), junior LB Zaviar Gooden (Pflugerville), junior CB Kip Edwards (Arlington) and redshirt freshman FS Braylon Webb (Gilmer). The quartet of Texas starters on offense include the Big 12's leading rusher in sophomore TB Henry Josey (Angleton), sophomore QB James Franklin (Corinth), as well as 2010 consensus 1st-Team All-American TE and senior Michael Egnew (Plainview), as well as senior WR Jerrell Jackson (Houston).
   Add to that mix some key reserves such as junior TB Kendial Lawrence (Rockwall), and sophomore defenders Michael Sam (DE - Hitchcock), Brayden Burnett (DE - Southlake) and Matt White (FS - Keller), and there's quite a flavor of Texans on the field at any time for the Tigers.

MIZZOU-TEXAS A&M SERIES HISTORY
   Mizzou and Texas A&M will be meeting for the 12th time when they square off Saturday in College Station. The Aggies hold a 7-4 edge overall in the previous 11 matchups, but the Tigers have won 4 of the last 5 games, and the series is 4-3 in MU's favor since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996. Mizzou has enjoyed rare success of late in College Station, as it has won 2 of its last 3 times there.
   This will mark the 2nd-straight season that the Tigers have played on the venerable Kyle Field. Due to a scheduling quirk with the revised Big 12 lineup this year, the scheduling worked out to give the Tigers a return to College Station. They hope it will be just like the last one, as Mizzou rolled to a 30-9 win over the Aggies there last season. It was a win that gave the Tigers a 6-0 record, and secured an appearance the next week in Columbia by ESPN's College GameDay set, which was part of the monumental upset of BCS #1 Oklahoma (W, 36-27).
   Prior to that, the previous meeting between the two teams came in Columbia, back in 2007, when the Tigers posted a 40-26 win to move to 9-1 on the season. In that game, Mizzou surged to a 24-9 halftime lead, thanks to an 82-yard TD pass from QB Chase Daniel to WR Jeremy Maclin (MU's longest pass play in 31 years at that point), but the Aggies wouldn't go away. With rumors swirling of A&M Coach Dennis Franchione's job being on the line, A&M clawed back to within 5 points twice in the 2nd half, and had a chance to pull to 3, but a short field goal was missed by PK Matt Szymanski. After the teams traded TDs, Mizzou put the game away in the final minutes, on Maclin's 2nd TD reception (12 yards), followed by a safety on a sack in the endzone by DT Lorenzo Williams.
   Mizzou dropped a 25-19 heartbreaker to A&M in 2006 in College Station, and that was preceded by an MU win in Columbia in 2003 (45-22) and a Tiger win in College Station in 2002 (33-27 in 2-OTs). That 2002 win was a watershed moment for the Tiger program, as MU entered that game 0-6 alltime against A&M.

LAST YEAR REWIND: #21 MIZZOU 30, TEXAS A&M 9
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Blaine Gabbert moved Missouri's offense with ease and the Tigers' defense left Jerrod Johnson and Texas A&M's high-powered offense stunned. It was the perfect combination to keep No. 21 Missouri undefeated with a 30-9 win over the Aggies.
   Gabbert threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with Wes Kemp for touchdowns in the first and third quarters to help the Tigers (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) improve to 6-0 for the fifth time in school history.
   Missouri's defense held quarterback Johnson and Texas A&M's spread offense in check for most of the game, harassing him into a 7 for 21 first half and sacking him seven times overall.
   Texas A&M (3-3, 0-2) finally got going in the fourth quarter, with Johnson throwing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Fuller, but it was much too late to avoid a third straight loss. It was the fewest points the Aggies scored in their outstanding 2010 season, which included 9-4 overall record and a final ranking of 19th (AP)/21st (Coaches).
   Gabbert's third touchdown pass was a 20-yard strike to T.J. Moe that made it 30-3 in the third quarter. Moe finished with six receptions for 110 yards.
   The Tigers got the ball in the second half after Johnson was sacked three times on Texas A&M's first possession after halftime. Gabbert hit Kemp for his second touchdown on a 10-yard pass that pushed Missouri's lead to 23-0.
   Texas A&M had first-and-goal from the 10 after that, but the offense stalled again and the Aggies kicked a 24-yard field goal to make it 23-3. That score ended a streak of six straight shutout quarters for Missouri's defense after a 26-0 win over Colorado last week. It was the first time since 1967 that Missouri had held conference opponents scoreless for six straight quarters.
Johnson finished 27 of 48 for 322 yards, but was just 15 of 31 for 141 yards entering the fourth quarter.
   Texas A&M didn't turn the ball over after losing the ball nine times in the last two games to up its season total to 18, but the offense sputtered anyway.
   The Aggies punted on their first six possessions as Johnson struggled through tough first half. Texas A&M finally got a drive going on its last possession of the first half. But it stalled at the Missouri 43 after three straight incompletions from Johnson, including one on fourth down where he badly overthrew his receiver.
   That gave Missouri the ball back with about 1 1/2 minutes before halftime. The Tigers marched down the field and looked to have scored on a reception by Kemp, but the TD was taken away after a review giving them the ball at the 1. Texas A&M's defense held and Missouri settled for a 21-yard field goal and a 16-0 halftime lead.
   Kendial Lawrence pushed Missouri's lead to 13-0 when he scored from two yards out early in the second quarter. That score was set up by a 24-yard reception by Kemp.
   Gabbert found Kemp on a 5-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, but the extra point attempt was blocked so the Tigers led 6-0. It was the first time Missouri had an extra point attempt blocked since 2005.

RETURNING TIGERS HAD BIG DAYS IN LAST YEAR'S WIN AT A&M
   As noted previously, former QB Blaine Gabbert (who left Mizzou a year early for the NFL, and is now the starter in Jacksonville) had a big day in helping lead Mizzou to a 30-9 win at Texas A&M a year ago.
   But Gabbert wasn't the only Tiger who enjoyed big success in the win. Several returning Tigers played a huge role in the victory. Here's a recap of some of their exploits from the day:

  • DE Brad Madison racked up a career-high 3 QB sacks off the bench of Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson. He totaled 28 yards in losses for the three sacks, and his efforts were indicative of a great day of pressure applied by the Tiger defense as a whole. Mizzou notched 7 sacks in all on the elusive Johnson. Madison's contributions were much welcomed, as the Tiger defense played its 3rd-straight game without the services of 2009 Big 12 Defensive Freshman/Newcomer of the Year Aldon Smith, who was out after suffering a cracked fibula vs. San Diego State...
  • WR Wes Kemp had a huge day, as he caught a career-high 10 passes for 89 yards and 2 TDs. Kemp's previous career-high in receptions was 4 (several times), and it marked his first multi-TD game of his career. Kemp nearly doubled his season reception total, as he entered the game with 13 catches for 142 yards and 1 TD. He also had a potential 3rd TD reception taken away by replay, as he was ruled to have scored initially late in the 2nd quarter on a catch-and-run just before halftime, but replay officials overtuned the call and said he was down before crossing the goalline...
  • Kemp was joined in double figure receptions by TE Michael Egnew, who added 10 catches of his own for 87 yards. That was one of many standout performances on the year which helped Egnew eventually go onto consensus 1st-Team All-American status...
  • WR T.J. Moe caught 6 passes at A&M (a season-low reception total at the time), but he was still very effective, as he turned those catches into 110 yards and 1 TD, including a nice 20-yard score at the end of the 3rd quarter that made it 30-3...

MIZZOU HAS PLAYED 4TH-TOUGHEST SCHEDULE SO FAR
   According to the NCAA statistics, Mizzou has played the nation's 4th-toughest schedule so far, in terms of opponent winning percentage (through games of Oct. 22nd). The combined record of the 4 teams Mizzou has lost to is 25-3.
   Each of Mizzou's 4 losses on the season have come at the hands of ranked opponents, with three of them coming on the road (at #23 Arizona State [37-30 in OT]; at then-#1 Oklahoma [38-28]; and at #20 Kansas State [24-17]), in addition to last week's 45-24 home loss to #6 Oklahoma State.
   Here's a look at the schedule rankings:

NCAA Toughest Schedules, Past Opponents

  1. Kansas .800
  2. Arizona .735
  3. Tennessee .714
  4. MIZZOU .697
  5. Miami, Fla. .677
  6. Texas A&M .667
  7. Texas .657
  8. Auburn .652
  9. Ole Miss .647
  10. LSU .641

   Things don't get much easier the rest of the way either for the Tigers, as the next four games are against teams who are either ranked or receiving votes. It gets started this Saturday at #16 Texas A&M, and continues the next week at Baylor (receiving votes), followed by consecutive home games against the likes of Texas (receiving votes) and #19 Texas Tech (who just knocked off then-#3 Oklahoma in Norman to give the Sooners their first loss at home since the Lincoln administration).

MIZZOU COACHING WINS LEADERS
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 80 10 (2001-Present) 80-53 .602 7
Warren Powers 46 7 (1978-84) 46-33-3 .580 5

PINKEL HAS THIRD-MOST WINS IN MIZZOU HISTORY
   Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel is in his 11th season at MU (21st overall as a head coach) and touts a career record of 153-90-3 (62.8%).
   Pinkel, who has led MU to a combined record of 58-28 (67.4%) over the past 6 seasons, and to bowl games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, has a 10-year record in Columbia of 80-53 (60.2%). Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has gone 52-23 in his last 75 games overall (69.3%). 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 80. 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.
   Mizzou's bowl appearance in 2010 meant that Pinkel has led MU to 7 bowl games overall, and that is the most bowl games by any MU coach.
Pinkel has directed Mizzou to 7 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 and 10-3 in 2010), with those representing 7 of MU's 9 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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