Tigers Continue Texas Two-Step Mizzou travels to Waco for final road contest
In Mizzou's last visit to Waco in 2008, All-American Chase Coffman had one of his numerous signature touchdown catches.
Oct. 31, 2011
Missouri Tigers (4-4, 2-3) at Baylor Bears (4-3, 1-3)
Nov. 5, 2011 - Floyd Casey Stadium - Waco, Texas
TIGERS CONTINUE TEXAS TWO-STEP
The Missouri Tigers (4-4 overall, 2-3 in Big 12 Conference play) continue a stretch of four straight games against league foes from the state of Texas, including a pair of road contests to start the swing. Saturday's game is the back end of the road trip, against the Baylor Bears (4-3, 1-3). Kickoff for the game is set for 6 p.m. (central time) in Waco, Texas, with the game being televised on FOX Sports Net.
Mizzou is coming off a thrilling 38-31 overtime win at #16 Texas A&M last Saturday that was MU's first road win at a ranked opponent since 1997 (W, 51-50 in 2 OT at #12 Oklahoma State that season). The Tigers did it in dramatic fashion, as they trailed by 14 points in the 2nd quarter, and stormed back from an 11-point 4th-quarter deficit - the 2nd-largest 4th-quarter deficit overcome in Mizzou history (13 points in 1949 vs. Nebraska is the standard for 4th-quarter comebacks).
The Tigers ran for 284 yards against an Aggie defense which came into the game ranked 5th nationally against the run, allowing just 79.86 yards per game on the ground. The Big 12's leading rusher, sophomore TB Henry Josey, scorched A&M for 162 yards on just 20 carries, for an average of 8.1 yards an attempt, and 1 TD, while QB James Franklin had 97 yards and 2 rushing scores of his own to go with 2 more TDs in the air and 198 passing yards.
Mizzou's defense was touched for 28 1st-half points by A&M, but it dug in and allowed only one field goal after halftime to help key the comeback. Mizzou forced 3 2nd-half Aggie turnovers, which were vital to the rally.
The Tigers will look to win consecutive games for the first time this year, but they'll be challenged by a Baylor team that is one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the nation. Led by one of the top trios of skill position players in the country, in QB Robert Griffin III, WR Kendall Wright and RB Terrance Ganaway, the Bears enter Saturday's game as the nation's 3rd-ranked offense, averaging 560.00 yards per game. Despite a 59-24 loss at Oklahoma State last Saturday, the Bears still rolled up a massive 622 yards of total offense, as missed scoring opportunities plagued them all day.
Amazingly, every one of Baylor's first eight possessions in the game ended in Oklahoma State territory, yet all they had to show for it was a 49-3 deficit that came about because of 3 lost fumbles (including one at the OSU 1-yardline), 2 interceptions thrown (including one at the OSU 5-yardline) and two which ended on downs (including one on the OSU 1-yardline). The Bears ended the game by scoring TDs on its final three possessions, but it was too little, too late.
Much like Mizzou, Baylor has played a difficult conference schedule so far. The Bears' 3 losses have all been on the road at Kansas State (L, 36-35), and at Texas A&M (L, 55-28) in addition to last week's game at OSU. Baylor has also played Iowa State, and beat the Cyclones, 49-26 in Waco to round out their 1-3 Big 12 record. Mizzou has faced all 4 four opponents that Baylor has played, and MU's mark against those common foes is 2-2.
STADIUM: Floyd Casey Stadium (50,000 - Artificial surface). Opened in 1950. Baylor is 4-0 there this season, and stands 14-9 there under Art Briles. MU has won 4 straight games in Waco (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008).
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: FOX Sports Net. Joel Meyers (Play-by-Play), Brian Baldinger (Analysis), Jim Knox (Sidelines) will call the action. Robert Steinfeld (Producer) will run the show.
RANKINGS (AP/USA/BCS): MU - NA / RV / NA. BU - NA.
SERIES: MU leads, 10-3, including 7-1 in Big 12 play. Baylor won the last meeting (40-32 in Columbia in 2009) to break a 7-game losing streak in the series.
COACHES: MU:Gary Pinkel (Kent, `75), 81-53 at MU (11th year) and 154-90-3 overall (21st year). Pinkel is 4-1 vs. Baylor and is 1-1 vs. Art Briles. BU: Art Briles (Texas Tech, `79), 19-25 at BU (4th year) and 53-53 overall (9th year). Briles is 1-1 vs. Mizzou and Gary Pinkel.
TIGERS HANG TOUGH, POST 2ND-LARGEST 4TH-QUARTER COMEBACK AT A&M
After getting out to leads of 7-0 and 14-7 at 16th-ranked Texas A&M last Saturday, the Missouri Tigers went cold during the second quarter, as the offense stalled with 3-and-outs on its first two possessions, while Texas A&M rolled to four straight touchdowns and a 28-14 lead. A late drive ended in a Trey Barrow 26-yard field right before halftime (his first collegiate kick ever, as he was subbing for the injured Grant Ressel) to cut the deficit to 28-17.
After a scoreless 3rd quarter, the Tigers were in serious need of a big play to jump start a comeback attempt. Sophomore CB Randy Ponder, a former preferred walk-on who is now on scholarship, gave them just that when he intercepted A&M's Ryan Tannehill at the Mizzou 25-yardline and returned it 45 yards the other way to the Aggie 30-yardline. Three plays later, QB James Franklin scored from 8 yards out and suddenly the Tigers were back in the game, trailing just 28-24 with 10:50 to play.
Mizzou's defense seized the momentum and held for a 3-and-out, and on the first play when MU took over on its 21-yardline, Josey burst off right tackle for 43 yards to the Aggie 36-yardline. That set up Josey's own 11-yard TD run with 7:38 left that brought Mizzou all the way back to a 31-28 lead. Even though the Aggies would go on to tie the game on a field goal and send it to overtime, the Tigers came out on top, thanks to a beautifully-executed 3rd-down fade pass in overtime from Franklin to WR Marcus Lucas for an 11-yard TD that accounted for the final score. Senior DT Dominique Hamilton secured the win when he batted down a Tannehill pass attempt on 4th down in overtime, to preserve the 38-31 win.
The comeback from an 11-point 4th-quarter deficit was the 2nd-largest in MU history, trailing only a 13-point deficit overcome in 1949 against Nebraska. Here's a look at the top 4th-quarter comeback wins in MU history:
LARGEST 4TH-QUARTER DEFICITS OVERCOME TO WIN
at Texas A&M
W, 38-31 (OT)
W, 27-24 (OT)
A&M WRAPUP NOTES
Here's a few of our top bits of news and notes to come from the big comeback win at Texas A&M last Saturday:
The win was Mizzou's first road win against a ranked team since 1997, when Larry Smith's Tigers beat #12 Oklahoma State, 51-50 in double overtime...
The game was Mizzou's 2nd overtime game of the season (lost on Sept. 9th, 37-30 at #23 Arizona State), and the 14th alltime for Mizzou, which is an NCAA record. The Tigers have a 10-4 mark in extra-period games (including 7-2 under Head Coach Gary Pinkel) and those 10 wins are also the most in NCAA history, through games of Oct. 29th...
A week after being done in by 4 2nd-half turnovers against #6 Oklahoma State which led to 21 points in a 45-24 Cowboy win in Columbia, Mizzou turned the tables, as it forced 3 turnovers after halftime to aid its comeback cause. Mizzou's defense forced two of those turnovers in the 4th quarter, which flipped the momentum its way, and the Tigers scored on TD runs of 8 yards by Franklin and 11 yards by TB Henry Josey to take the lead...
Mizzou's running attack gashed the Aggie defense for 284 yards on 50 carries - more than twice as much as the previous high total for an A&M opponent in 2011 (Texas Tech ran for 132 yards which was the previous high). Texas A&M entered the game with the 5th-ranked rushing defense in the nation, allowing an average of just 79.86 yards per game...
The Aggies' high-powered offense did manage an output of 500 yards, but they did most of the damage in the first half. A&M rolled to a 28-17 halftime lead, and scored TDs on its last 4 possessions of the half, only to see the Tiger defense adjust and hold them to a field goal for the remainder of the game. Texas A&M's 2nd-half/overtime possessions looked like this: fumble, punt, punt, interception, punt, field goal, fumble, turnover on downs...
Mizzou leads the Big 12 Conference, and ranks 12th in the NCAA in rushing offense, averaging 243.88 yards per game. The per-game average is the most for a Tiger team since 1997, when Mizzou averaged 263.50 yards on the ground, a total which ranked 6th in that year's NCAA rankings. The last time Mizzou won a conference rushing title was 2003, when MU led the way with a 237.5 average (6th in the NCAA that season)...
FRANKLIN GUIDES COMEBACK WIN WITH A 4-TD DAY AT TEXAS A&M
Sophomore QB James Franklin, playing in his homestate of Texas, was our choice for Mizzou offensive player of the week in MU's thrilling 38-31 overtime win at Texas A&M. Here's a recap of his exploits...
Franklin led a dramatic comeback win in a hostile environment, as the Tigers overcame a 28-17 4th-quarter deficit to pull out a 38-31 overtime win at 16th-ranked Texas A&M. Franklin, who accounted for 4 TDs on the day, tossed a clutch 11-yard TD pass in overtime on 3rd down that proved to be the winning points. That capped an outstanding day for the sophomore, as he finished with 295 yards of total offense, including 16-of-24 passing for 198 yards and 2 TDs (42 yards, 11 yards) and 97 yards rushing and 2 more TDs (20 yards, 8 yards). His 20-yard TD run to open scoring in the 1st quarter was featured as the #2 play on SportsCenter Saturday night and Sunday morning, as he scrambled to the sideline with no open receivers, and broke the tackles of at least three Aggies to get to paydirt...
Franklin ranks 15th in the NCAA in total offense, averaging 301.50 yards per game. His play Saturday at 16th-ranked A&M helped the Tigers knock off their first ranked opponent on the road since 1997, and he's got the Tiger offense ranked 11th nationally in total offense heading into Saturday's game at Baylor (490.25 avg.). His performance Saturday was especially gratifying, as it came a week after he had 4 turnovers in a loss to Oklahoma State...
GAINES GAINING NOTORIETY WITH HIS PLAY OF LATE
Sophomore CB E.J. Gaines is in his first year as a starter, and he's beginning to turn heads for his play this season.
Gaines anchored a solid 2nd-half defensive performance which limited the high-powered A&M offense to just 3 points total after halftime. Gaines notched a career-best 10 tackles on the day, but more importantly broke up a career-best 4 passes - including 3 in the 4th-quarter as Mizzou rallied from a 28-17 deficit...
On Monday, Gaines was rewarded for his stellar play by being named the Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week. It's the second time a Tiger defender has claimed the weekly award this season, following LB Zaviar Gooden's honor following the Arizona State in September. Gaines is the first MU cornerback to win the weekly award since R.J. Jones won in 2002 for his 3-interception performance in a win over Troy State...
The 1st-year sophomore starter now has 13 passes defended (11 PBUs, 2 INTs) on the season, which is tops in the Big 12 Conference (1.63 per game avg.). He ranks 5th nationally in that category entering Saturday's game at Baylor. Gaines is 2nd on the Tiger team with 51 tackles on the year, and leads Mizzou with 11 pass break ups (the rest of the team has 22 PBUs combined) and 2 interceptions. He's also averaging 15.2 yards per punt return on 6 attempts...
JOSEY, HAMILTON AND OTHERS ALSO HAVE BIG DAYS IN SATURDAY'S WIN
Some news and notes regarding other stellar individual performances from the A&M win:
Mizzou was once again led by sophomore All-Big 12 candidate TB Henry Josey, as he ran for 162 yards on 20 carries (8.1 avg.) and 1 TD (11 yards) against the nation's 5th-ranked rushing defense. With Mizzou trailing 28-24 midway through the 4th quarter, Josey burst off right tackle for 43 yards to set up his own 11-yard score with 7:38 to play in regulation that gave MU a 31-28 lead. Josey leads the Big 12 in rushing, and now ranks 4th nationally, with his per-game average of 127.13 yards per game. His 162-yard day pushed him over the 1,000 mark for the season (1,017), and he's got a shot at challenging Devin West's school-record of 1,578 in 1998. He's now had 3-consecutive 100-yard days...
Senior DT Dominique Hamilton continued his All-Big 12 type season on Saturday by having a hand in some huge plays that helped lead the way for Mizzou's dramatic win. Hamilton, who leads all Big 12 interior linemen with 37 tackles so far on the year, had 4 stops Saturday at A&M, including a half-TFL. But he saved his biggest play for last, when he batted down a 4th-down pass in overtime to end the game. Hamilton also recovered an Aggie fumble in the 4th quarter at the Mizzou 45-yardline with just :25 seconds left in regulation that wiped out an A&M opportunity to kick a game-winning field goal...
Senior DE Jacquies Smith also had a productive day, as he made 8 tackles, and forced 2 fumbles, while getting 2 TFLs and 1 QB sack. Smith got around the edge to knock the ball out A&M QB Ryan Tannehill's hands with just :25 seconds left in regulation and A&M threatening to position for a potential game-winning field goal. The fumble was pounced on by MU's Dominique Hamilton to end the threat. Smith, who missed 2 games earlier in the year due to an elbow injury, is tied for the team lead with 3.5 QB sacks, and is 3rd with 6.5 TFLs, while his 2 forced fumbles now leads the team...
Sophomore CB Randy Ponder, a former walk-on who is now on scholarship, had some huge momentum plays in the win at A&M, as he accounted for a pair of turnovers to help Mizzou to its comeback win. Ponder intercepted a pass in MU territory early in the 4th quarter, and returned it 45 yards down to the Aggie 30-yardline to jump start MU's rally. Three plays later, MU scored to cut the deficit to 28-24. Prior to that, in the 3rd quarter, with A&M leading 28-17 and driving for a potential back-breaking TD, Ponder forced a fumble after a reception by A&M's Ryan Swope, with MU's Luke Lambert recovering on the Tiger 31-yardline. Mizzou's offense couldn't capitalize on that turnover, but the play was a huge momentum shift for the Tiger defense. Ponder is now tied for 3rd on the team with 3 pass break ups...
Sophomore WR Marcus Lucas caught a career-best 5 passes at Texas A&M, and none was more important than his last, which was a beautiful leaping grab on a 3rd-down fade pass in overtime that went for an 11-yard score to give Mizzou the 38-31 win. Lucas finished with a team-best 64 receiving yards on the day, and he now stands 4th on the team with 14 receptions for 213 yards and 2 TDs on the year. Saturday's score was his first since the 2011 opener against Miami (Ohio)...
Junior Trey Barrow has been one of the nation's top punters all season, and on Saturday at Texas A&M, he was called into duty in a major way, as he handled all kicks on the day, due to regular PK Grant Ressel being sidelined with a strained hip flexor. Barrow, who had never handled a place kick in college, calmly made his first-ever try at the halftime gun, from 26 yards out, to cut A&M's lead to 28-17 at half. He later was just wide right from 46 yards out at the end of regulation that could have won the game, but he was perfect on all 5 extra points on the day, while he also averaged 43.7 yards on 6 punts, and also handling all kickoffs...
SAGARIN RATINGS INDEX HAS TIGERS RANKED 11TH, WITH #1 TOUGHEST SCHEDULE
From the "Did You Know" files, for your reading pleasure:
The latest Sagarin Ratings Index (a portion of which is used in the BCS standings) has Mizzou ranked 11th in the country (through games of Oct. 29th), and Sagarin ranks Mizzou's schedule as the nation's #1 toughest.
JOSEY HAVING AN ALL-STAR SEASON, 1ST IN BIG 12, 4TH IN NCAA 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, and he's making a serious push for national honors, beyond the league. The unassuming and baby-faced youngster began the season as Mizzou's 3rd-string tailback, but he enters Saturday's game against Baylor as the Big 12's leading rusher, and the 4th-ranked runner in the NCAA, averaging 127.12 yards per game. He's had 5 100-yard outings in his last 6 games, and is coming off a 162-yard, 1-TD effort in MU's 38-31 overtime win at #16 Texas A&M last Saturday. The Aggies entered the game with the 5th-ranked rushing defense in the nation (allowing just 79.86 yards per game, but Josey gashed them for 8.1 yards per carry on 20 tries. His 43-yard burst in the 4th quarter set up his own 11-yard TD run with 7:38 left in regulation that gave Mizzou a 31-28 lead after trailing 28-14.
Prior to that, Josey had 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 6 kicks in the last 3 games for an average of 24.8 yards (long of 43), which would rank him 6th 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 start thinking about national honors. Keep in mind that Josey is doing what he's doing against what the NCAA regards as the nation's 2nd-toughest schedule.
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.
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.
A few more tidbits on Josey's exploits...
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 8 games, his ridiculous per-rush average of 8.5 for the season is #1 in the NCAA among those who qualify for the top-100 rushers list...
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. 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. 29th.
Dustin Garrison, West Virginia vs. Bowling Green (32-291, 2 TDs, 9.09 avg.)
LaMichael James, Oregon vs. Arizona (23-288, 2 TDs, 12.52 avg.)
Henry Josey, Missouri vs. Western Illinois (14-263, 3 TDs, 18.79 avg.)
Marcus Coker, Iowa vs. Minnesota (32-252, 2 TDs, 7.88 avg.)
Marcus Lattimore, S. Carolina vs. Navy (37-246, 3 TDs, 6.65 avg.)
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-BAYLOR SERIES HISTORY
Mizzou and Baylor have met just 13 times in their histories, with the Tigers holding a solid 10-3 edge coming into Saturday's matchup in Waco, Texas.
Mizzou had won each of the first 7 meetings since the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, until the Bears broke through with a 40-32 win in Columbia in 2009. Prior to that, MU's mastery of the series was done so in mostly decisive fashion, as only two of the games were decided by 7 points or less. The first Big 12 meeting between the two was a barnburner, as the Tigers needed 3 overtimes before claiming a 49-42 win in Waco.
That win started what is currently a 4-game MU winning streak in Baylor's Floyd Casey Stadium. The Tigers also won in 2000 (47-22), 2004 (30-10) and 2008 (31-28).
Mizzou stands 4-1 alltime in Waco, with the sole defeat coming in 1991, when Baylor claimed a 47-21 triumph.
The last 2 meetings have been decided by one score, as Baylor took an 8-point win in Columbia in 2009 (40-32), while Mizzou escaped with a 31-28 win in Waco in 2008. Prior to that, however, the previous 5 games - all won by Mizzou from 1997-2005 - were decided by an average of 19.0 points per game.
LAST MEETING REWIND: BAYLOR 40, MIZZOU 32 (2009) COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Freshman Nick Florence passed for a school-record 427 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a fourth, helping Baylor defeat Missouri 40-32.
Kendall Wright set career highs with 10 receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns as the Bears (4-5, 1-4) ended a 13-game Big 12 road losing streak and beat Missouri for the first time in eight tries in conference play. Baylor, last in the conference against the run, rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit and held Missouri to 10 yards rushing on 25 carries.
Danario Alexander had a career-high 13 receptions for 214 yards and two scores for Missouri (5-4, 1-4), which lost its third straight game at home for the first time since 2004. Alexander's 84-yard reception in the second quarter, the last 65 yards after bouncing off a tackler, was the Tigers' longest play of the season.
Missouri's Blaine Gabbert passed for the second highest total in school history, going 30 for 51 for 468 yards and two touchdowns. But he was shut down along with the rest of the Missouri offense in the second half. The Tigers made it to the Baylor 16 in the final minute before running out of downs.
Baylor had been allowing 179.5 yards rushing per game, and the lowest opponent total before Saturday was Wake Forest's 126 yards in the season opener.
Baylor averaged 8.5 points in its first four conference games and went without a first-half touchdown three straight games before succeeding behind Florence, who began the year as the third-string quarterback and moved up due to injuries. Florence completed 11 of his first 12 passes and finished 32 for 43, and he broke the school record of 412 passing yards set by Blake Szymanski in 2007 against Rice.
Szymanski started one game after Robert Griffin was lost for the season with a knee injury in late September, and the senior was the backup Saturday after missing two games with a bruised shoulder.
Baylor scored on its first two drives. The Bears took a 9-7 lead on their first offensive touchdown in 80 minutes and 4 seconds, Florence's 8-yard keeper with 2:13 to go in the first quarter.
Gabbert had 322 yards passing in the first half with both touchdowns coming late to help Missouri take a 27-16 lead. The Tigers led 27-16 at the break after Wes Kemp's 7-yard catch with 1 second to go.
Neither team had any success rushing. Baylor had 30 yards on 24 carries.
LAST TIME IN WACO: #14 MIZZOU 31, BAYLOR 28 (2008) WACO, TEXAS - A fast start and a strong fourth quarter propelled the 14th-ranked Missouri Tigers to a 31-28 win at upstart Baylor, as the Tigers got a 34-yard field goal from PK Jeff Wolfert with less than three minutes left to break a tie ballgame, and iced the game with the first interception of the season of Bear QB Robert Griffin on the next series.
It looked early on as if the Tigers would continue their momentum from the previous week's 58-0 shutout win over Colorado, as MU took the opening kickoff and promptly marched downfield for a quick 7-0 lead, as the Chase Daniel-to-Chase Coffman connection hooked up for the first of two beautiful TD passes on the day - this one from 3-yards out to close a 10-play, 65-yard drive. After the Tiger defense held, Daniel and company went 80 yards in just 6 plays consuming only 1:29 off the clock and after Tommy Saunders' 19-yard TD grab, it was 14-0 Mizzou just like that.
With the Tigers driving yet again for what looked like a knockout blow, on the 1st play of the 2nd quarter, Daniel was intercepted in the endzone on a 3rd-down pass from the Baylor 8-yardline. Instead of taking a 21-0 lead, or at worst, a 17-0 lead, the Tigers saw Baylor promptly go the other way, as Griffin engineered a 13-play drive and scored from 4 yards out to get the Bears back into the game, at 14-7. After the teams traded possessions, Daniel led a 93-yard, 13-play drive just before half that ended on a 1-yard TD plunge by TB Jimmy Jackson to give the Tigers back their two-score lead, 21-7.
Baylor came out of the lockerroom determined to make their Homecoming game a memorable one. Instead of succumbing to the heavily-favored Tigers, Baylor dug in and made play after play over the next quarter-and-a-half to give the several thousand Tiger fans in attendance some consternation. The Bears showed early on that they were in it to win it, as they went for a risky 4th-and-2 from their own 39-yardline on their opening possession of the 2nd half, making it as Griffin kept for 4 yards. That propelled the Bears to a TD drive, and after MU went 3-and-out for just the 7th time in 2008, Baylor answered with another sustained drive for a TD to tie the game at 21-apiece late in the third.
Staggered momentarily, the Tigers got their rhythm back on offense and drove 76 yards for a TD to regain the lead, overcoming a 2nd-and-22 situation after being called for an illegal block during the drive. Daniel hit Coffman for their 2nd score of the day, this one from 13 yards out, on the first play of the 4th quarter as the eventual Mackey Award winner made yet another circus catch and toe tap in the back corner of the endzone for a 28-21 lead.
Once again, plucky Baylor wouldn't go away, as the Bears got some help from a roughing the passer penalty on MU freshman DE Jacquies Smith on what was an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-14 from their own 16-yardline to extend their next drive. Floyd Casey Stadium erupted in loud cheers as Baylor tied the game with 9:54 left on a 36-yard catch-and-run by Jay Finley. Those cheers got even louder on MU's ensuing possession, as a promising Tiger drive was snuffed out on an interception near midfield after a tipped Daniel pass. But the Tiger defense dug in and held their ground, forcing a Baylor punt that was fair caught by MU's Jeremy Maclin at the MU 10-yardline with 6:27 left.
A Daniel 19-yard pass to WR Jared Perry was followed by an option keeper for 15 yards to get some breathing room, and a crucial 9-yard pass to Maclin on 3rd-and-5 just shy of midfield extended the drive. After reaching the Baylor 15-yardline, the drive stalled. Trusty PK Jeff Wolfert was called on to get the lead back and he did just that, as he calmly booted a 34-yard field goal - despite icing tactics by Baylor coach Art Briles - to give MU a 31-28 lead with 2:31 left.
Starting deep in their own territory and without any timeouts left, Baylor quickly faced a 3rd-and-8 from their 23-yardline. Griffin, who had amassed 316 yards of total offense to that point in the game, finally made a mistake, as he forced a pass over the middle that was picked off by wily MU veteran LB Brock Christopher at the Baylor 34-yardline with 1:40 left. Christopher's pickoff sealed the deal, as the Tigers took a knee three times to end the game and give Mizzou a hardfought 31-28 win to move to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in Big 12 Conference play, while Baylor fell to 3-6 and 1-4 on the year.
MIZZOU HAS PLAYED 2ND-TOUGHEST SCHEDULE SO FAR, PER THE NCAA
According to the NCAA statistics, Mizzou has played the nation's 3rd-toughest schedule so far, in terms of opponent winning percentage (through games of Oct. 29th). The combined record of the 4 teams Mizzou has lost to is 28-4.
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 a 45-24 home loss to #6 Oklahoma State two weeks ago. Last week, the Tigers were able to get over the hump and defeat the 5th ranked team they've gone up against - #16 Texas A&M in College Station (38-31 in OT).
Here's a look at the schedule rankings:
NCAA Toughest Schedules, Past Opponents
Miami, Fla. .652
Ole Miss .630
The Tigers don't exactly get to set the car on cruise control the rest of the way either, as the next three games are against teams who are either currently ranked or have been ranked during the season, and those foes - Baylor (4-3), #25 Texas (5-2) and Texas Tech (5-3) - are a combined 14-8.
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 154-90-3 (63.0%).
Pinkel, who has led MU to a combined record of 59-28 (67.8%) 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 81-53 (60.5%). Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has gone 53-23 in his last 76 games overall (69.7%). 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 81. 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.