Road Show Continues in Knoxville

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Nov. 5, 2012


Missouri Tigers (4-5, 1-5)
at Tennessee Volunteers (4-5, 0-5)

KICKOFF: 11:21 a.m. CST.

STADIUM: Neyland Stadium (102,455 – Natural grass surface). Tennessee is 3-2 at home in 2012, with the only losses coming to #18 Florida (37-20) and #1 Alabama (44-13).

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: SEC Network. Details to be announced. For a listing of SEC Network affiliates, please visit SECDN.com.

RANKINGS (AP/USA):
   MU - None.
   UT - None.

SERIES: This will be the first ever meeting between the schools on the gridiron.

COACHES:
   MU: Gary Pinkel (Kent State, '75), 89-59 at MU (12th year) and 162-96-3 overall (22nd year). Pinkel is 0-0 vs. Tennessee and Derek Dooley.
   UT: Derek Dooley (Virginia, '91), 15-19 at UT (3rd year) and 32-39 overall (6th year). Dooley is 0-0 vs. Mizzou and Gary Pinkel.

ROAD SHOW CONTINUES IN KNOXVILLE
   The Missouri Tigers (4-5 overall, 1-5 in SEC play) continue their road swing in the month of November, as they play their second-straight away game this Saturday. After giving #8 Florida all it could handle last Saturday in Gainesville, Fla. before falling, 14-7, the Tigers head to Knoxville, Tenn., where they will make their first-ever appearance in historic Neyland Stadium, home of the Tennessee Volunteers (4-5, 0-5). Kickoff for the game is set for 11:21 a.m. (central time), and it will be televised on the SEC Network.
   The Tigers are looking to bounce back from a tough defeat last Saturday at Florida, in a game that MU led 7-0 until midway through the 3rd quarter. Mizzou held big advantages over the Gators in total yardage (335-to-276), first downs (23-to-11) and time of possession (33:57-to-26:03), but lost the turnover battle by a 4-to-1 margin, and those miscues proved too much to overcome.
   Tennessee is coming off a thrilling Homecoming win over Troy last Saturday, in a game the Volunteers won by a 55-48 score. In a game of big momentum swings, Tennessee surged to a 28-10 lead early in the 2nd quarter, only to see the Trojans eventually take a 48-41 lead with just 3:14 left to play. Volunteer QB Tyler Bray, who ended the day with 530 yards passing and 5 TDs, struck back immediately with his 5th TD pass (46 yards) to tie the game, and he led a game-winning TD drive after his defense gave him the ball back.
   This will mark the first-ever meeting between MU and UT, and it will be the 2nd of 3 road games in which the Tigers face to close the month of November.

WHEN TENNESSEE HAS THE BALL
Category UT Offense Avg./
NCAA Rank
MU Defense Avg./
NCAA Rank
Tot. Off. 485.11 (18th) 327.56 (22nd)
Scoring 36.78 (24th) 22.56 (38th)
Passing 323.11 (12th) 185.56 (15th)
3rd Down% 40.2% (60th) 28.2% (8th)
WHEN MIZZOU HAS THE BALL
Category MU Offense Avg./
NCAA Rank
UT Defense Avg./
NCAA Rank
Tot. Off. 319.33 (109th) 483.11 (112th)
Scoring 22.44 (94th) 35.44 (107th)
Passing 194.33 (97th) 296.78 (115th)
3rd Down% 32.4% (113th) 37.3% (49th)

STRENGTHS WILL MATCH UP SATURDAY
   Saturday's game between Mizzou and Tennessee will feature a pair of teams in very similar circumstances. Both teams will take the field fighting to finish the year strong for a push to a bowl game, and they will carry identical 4-5 records into the matchup.
   The game might not register high on the national radar, but it offers one of the more intriguing matchups in the country, with Mizzou's highly-touted defense looking to match wits with Tennessee's explosive and high-powered offensive attack.
   The teams couldn't come into Saturday's game having possibly played more diametrically different games than they experienced last week. Mizzou went into the Swamp and lost a tough defensive struggle to the Florida Gators, 14-7. Mizzou gained 335 yards of total offense and held Florida to just 276 overall. On the flipside, Tennessee won the type of shootout that gives stat geeks a thrill up their leg, as they amassed 718 yards of total offense in their 55-48 win. The Volunteer defense allowed 721 yards of offense to Troy, however, including 496 yards passing and 225 yards rushing, while UT totaled 530 in the air and 188 on the ground.
   At right is a statistical comparison for how things stack up leading into Saturday's game:

TAKING A LOOK AT COMPARITIVE SCORES
   Comparitive scores is no scientific way to predict outcomes of games, but it's never stopped us SID types from taking a look at that methodology! So with that, Mizzou and Tennessee have played four common opponents thus far in 2012, with both squads going 0-4 against the likes of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
   Both teams dropped similar-type games at home to Alabama (Alabama 42, Mizzou 10 / Alabama 44, Tennessee 13), while they also both played at South Carolina, with Mizzou dropping a 31-10 decision on Sept. 29th, and Tennessee losing a tight one, 38-35 on Oct. 27th. The Volunteers also lost a tight one at Georgia (Georgia 51, Tennessee 44), while the Tigers hosted the Bulldogs in their first-ever SEC game and lost a 41-20 score on Sept. 8th. The last common foe is Florida, and the Volunteers opened their conference season by losing a 37-20 home game to the Gators on Sept. 15th, while Mizzou just dropped a 14-7 heartbreaker in the Swamp last Saturday.
   Here's a statistical comparison from a few categories in those games:

Scoring margin vs. common opponents:
UT: scored 112, allowed 170 = -58
MU: scored 47, allowed 128 = -81

Total offense margin vs. common opponents:
UT: gained 1,572, allowed 2,164 = -592
MU: gained 1,090, allowed 1,560 = -470

Total turnover margin vs. common opponents:
UT: lost 10, forced 5 = -5
MU: lost 11, forced 7 = -4

THOSE WHO WIN IN NOVEMBER WILL BE REMEMBERED
   Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel has used it time and again, and he'll be touting it again to his troops as the calendar flips away from October – Those who win in November will be remembered.
   Mizzou fans hope that the 2012 edition of the Tigers takes this mantra to heart as well as recent MU teams. In the last 6 seasons (2007-12), Mizzou has gone 16-5 (76.2%) in the month of November. And that includes the tough loss from last Saturday at #8 Florida, when the Tigers won most of the statistical battles, but lost the game by a 14-7 count.
   Mizzou enters the final three games of the 2012 season with a 4-5 overall record. If that sounds familiar, there's a reason, because just a year ago, the Tigers stood 4-5 overall going into their final three games as well. With the season in the balance, the 2011 squad dug in and went on to finish with wins last 3 regular-season games to finish at 7-5, including home wins over 21st-ranked Texas (W, 17-5) and Texas Tech (W, 31-27) while ending the regular season with a win in Kansas City over Kansas (W, 24-10).
   The Tigers then extended their overall win streak to 4 to close the season, and make it 5 wins in their last 6 games overall, with a commanding 41-24 Independence Bowl win over North Carolina to end the year 8-5 overall.

TIGERS FALL SHORT OF UPSET AT #8 FLORIDA, DROP 14-7 HEARTBREAKER
   Mizzou made its first-ever trip to the Swamp a memorable one, and despite holding some significant edges in important categories, the Tigers ultimately couldn't capitalize on numerous opportunities, and fell by a 14-7 score to the 8th-ranked Florida Gators.
   The Tigers came out ready to play and prove the pundits wrong who gave them no shot. After a scoreless first quarter, Mizzou's defense forced a fumble deep in Gator territory, and the offense converted by punching it in for a touchdown and 7-0 lead. That's how the score stood at halftime, marking only the second time the Gators had been shutout in the first half this year (they trailed at home to LSU 6-0 at halftime on Oct. 6th, but rallied in similar fashion to win that one, 14-6).
   But Florida rebounded after halftime and tallied single touchdowns in the 3rd and 4th quarters, and their stingy defense returned the shutout favor in the second half, despite the fact that each of Mizzou's final six possessions of the game all ended in Florida territory.
   The Tigers played stifling defense, and showed plenty of promise offensively, as MU gained more yards (335) than any opponent in the Swamp this season. Amazingly, the 2nd-quarter 1-yard touchdown run by Tiger TB Kendial Lawrence (which put Mizzou up, 7-0) marked the only TD scored by an SEC school in the Swamp this year.
   Lawrence's score came 6 plays after the Tiger defense created a turnover, when LB Donovan Bonner popped loose a fumble that CB E.J. Gaines fell on at the Florida 27-yardline. After QB James Franklin hit T.J. Moe for 12 yards and L'Damian Washington for 9 more, Lawrence carried three straight times to cover the final 6 yards to give Mizzou a 7-0 lead.
   That's the way it would stay until midway through the 3rd quarter, when the Gators were able to capitalize on a pair of short fields to take a 14-7 lead.
   The Gators turned two short fields into touchdowns, with Omarius Hines scoring on a 36-yard jet sweep to tie the game in the third before Mike Gillislee put Florida ahead for good early in the fourth when he took a screen pass and burst his way through downfield blocking for a 45-yard TD reception. The first Gator score started at the Mizzou 40-yardline after the Tigers had to punt from their own endzone after being pinned inside their 5-yardline.
   The second score came on the screen pass to Gillislee, and that drive started at the Gator 46-yardline, after Franklin was intercepted at the Florida 4-yardline. The Tigers looked poised at the time to break the 7-7 tie, and drove to a 1st-and-10 at the Florida 27-yardline in the waning seconds of the 3rd quarter.
   However, the huge opportunity went for naught, as Franklin executed a beautiful play-action fake, and had WR Bud Sasser streaking wide open inside the Gator 10-yardline. Unfortunately, Franklin's pass sailed high, and into the waiting arms of Florida safety Matt Elam at the Gator 4-yardline, with Elam returning the ball just shy of midfield.
   That turn of events was indicative of the frustrating day the Tiger offense experienced. Each of Mizzou's final six possessions in the game ended in Florida territory, yet the Tigers had no points to show for any of those opportunities. With the game still tied at 7-apiece, the Tigers reached the Gator 7-yardline with 4:35 left in the 3rd quarter, only to have Andrew Baggett's 25-yard field goal blocked (breaking a string of 7-consecutive makes by Baggett).
   After Florida took a 14-7 lead with 13:32 left in the game, the Tiger offense responded back and drove to the Gator 24-yardline, only to see a pair of sacks push them back to the 44-yardline, and out of field goal range. Mizzou would also reach the Gator 40-yardline before having to punt, while the final two possessions ended in interceptions at the Florida 35-yardline and in the endzone.
   Despite the offensive struggles, the Tiger defense kept the game within reach, and after holding Florida to a field goal attempt (which was missed) with 1:49 left to play, Mizzou had one more shot. Franklin calmly completed six passes for a total of 59 yards, taking MU quickly down to the Gator 21-yardline, where it eventually faced a 4th-and-6 with just 11 seconds to play. Facing pressure in the pocket, Franklin threw into the endzone, but Josh Evans was able to intercept the pass which was intended for WR Gahn McGaffie to end the threat, and the ballgame.
   After the Tigers took their 7-0 lead, they had three possessions with an opportunity to stretch that lead and give them some breathing room. However, a huge chance to do that right before half couldn't be converted into points, as the Tigers took over after a defensive stop at the Tiger 46 with 3:19 left in the half. Mizzou would reach the Gator 42-yardline before a sack of Franklin set the drive back, and the clock would eventually run out.
   Mizzou got the opening kick of the second half, but two pass attempts by Franklin and a rush by Lawrence picked up no yards, and the Tigers were forced to punt it away. After the Mizzou defense got another stop, Florida punter Kyle Christy pinned Mizzou at its own 3-yardline with a beautiful sky kick. Three plays netted zero yards, and forced another punt, which the Gators returned to the Tiger 40-yardline to set up their first score, and change the momentum of the game.
   The Gators (8-1, 7-1) were shut out in the first half, managing just 111 yards and failing to contain Franklin, who was making his first start since spraining his left knee on Oct. 6th versus Vanderbilt.

Category Mizzou Florida
Total Offense 335 276
First Downs 23 11
Plays 86 56
Time of Possession * 33:57 26:03
3rd Down Conversions 6-of-16 2-of-13
* - UF was 4th in NCAA at 34:04

THESE STATS DON'T COMPUTE
   While statistics can be shaped to support all sorts of arguments, there were some oddities that surfaced in Saturday's loss at #8 Florida for the Missouri Tigers, as MU held advantages in several important categories – categories which, when controlled, more often than not lead to a win. Not so for the Tigers on Saturday, however, as the Gators rebounded from a 7-0 halftime deficit to post a 14-7 win and deny Mizzou its first SEC road win.
   Consider the fact that Mizzou lost, despite amassed statistical edges in the following categories at right:
   Despite owning these statistical categories Saturday, the Tigers couldn't close out the win, thanks to two areas where the Gators made their chops: turnovers and QB sacks. Mizzou lost the turnover battle by a 4-to-1 margin. It's hard to imagine Florida ever losing in the Swamp when it is plus-three in turnovers. Secondly, the Gators got to QB James Franklin for 4 sacks totaling 35 yards. Three of the sacks came in Gator territory and essentially killed two different promising Tiger scoring opportunities. The first came right before halftime, with the Tigers on the Florida 42-yardline, but an 8-yard sack of Franklin put that drive on ice and left the score 7-0 in favor of MU at the break.
   Later in the 4th quarter, right after Florida had taken a 14-7 lead, Franklin drove Mizzou from its own 25 to a 1st-and-10 at the Gator 24-yardline. Just when it appeared the Tigers were ready to tie the game, Franklin was sacked on consecutive snaps, moving the ball back to the 44-yardline, and forcing a punt.

LATE TURNOVERS INDICATOR OF SUCCESS
   Mizzou has been on the good side of the turnover battle more often than not in 2012, as six times MU has either been positive or even in turnover margin. The three times the Tigers have faced a negative turnover margin, they've seen defeat (Georgia, Alabama, Florida). In only one game (at South Carolina), Mizzou was positive in TO margin (+1), but still tasted defeat.
   For the season, Mizzou is +3 in turnovers (20 gained, 17 given), and the turnover margin of +0.33 per game ranks the Tigers 40th in the NCAA and 6th in the SEC. Mizzou has scored 57 points off of its 20 turnovers gained, while opponents have tallied 45 points off of MU's 17 giveaways.
   In looking deeper at the TO numbers, to this point one category clearly stands out as a determining factor for success – 4th quarter turnovers. In 6 games this season, there has been a turnover committed in the 4th quarter, and the team committing the miscue has lost all 6 times.
   Mizzou is 3-0 this year in games in which it gains a 4th-quarter turnover. Similarly, the Tigers are 0-3 this season when committing a 4th-quarter turnover.
   Mizzou got 4th-quarter turnovers out of Arizona State (1) and at Central Florida (1) to help them hang on to victories of four and five points, respectively. Two weeks ago, the Tigers were able to break open what was a 10-point game at the time against Kentucky, thanks to two Wildcat turnovers in the final period, to break the game open.
   On the flip side, Georgia, Alabama and Florida all used 4th-quarter takeaways against the Tigers. Back on Sept. 8th, Mizzou trailed Georgia by just 7 points midway through the final period, and had the ball with a chance to drive for the tying score. But Georgia's star LB Jarvis Jones went nuts from there, returning an interception down to the MU 1-yardline, and later getting a sack/strip that was recovered by the Bulldogs on the Tiger 5-yardline. After punching both opportunities into the endzone, all of a sudden Georgia had changed a game that was up for grabs into a 41-20 win. Alabama already had a sizeable lead against the Tigers in the 4th quarter of their 42-10 win, but they got one turnover and converted that into 7 points to cap things off. Last week in the Swamp, Florida took advantage of a pair of Mizzou interceptions in the 4th quarter to eventually hold off the Tigers for a 14-7 win. The Gators didn't score off of either pick, but both came in UF territory and squelched opportunities for the Tigers to tie the game up.

RK SCHOOL FUMBLES FORCED
1. Mizzou 19
2. Utah 16
3. Boise State 15
  Fresno State 15
5. 6 Tied With 14

TIGER DEFENSE TAKETH AWAY - 27 STRAIGHT GAMES WITH A TAKEAWAY
   Defensive coaches preach takeaways at all levels of the game of football. Mizzou's coaches have gotten their message through to the Mizzou defense of late, as the Tigers carry an active streak of 27 games having gained a takeaway into Saturday's game at Tennessee. The last time Mizzou's defense didn't come up with a turnover was Oct. 30, 2010 at Nebraska (a 31-17 loss).
   The Tigers forced a pair of fumbles last Saturday in the tough-luck loss at #8 Florida, with CB E.J. Gaines recovering one of them on the Gator 27-yardline in the 2nd quarter. That set up Mizzou's only score of the day, and it gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead which it held until midway through the 3rd quarter. The other fumble was recovered by Florida.
   Prior to that, Mizzou forced five fumbles, and got three more takeaways (all on fumbles) against Kentucky. Mizzou converted those into 20 points (after having just 30 points off turnovers in the seven games prior to that this season), in the 33-10 win. All-star DT Sheldon Richardson made one of the defensive plays of the season to date for the first takeaway, when he tackled and stripped a Kentucky tailback of the ball on the Tiger 11-yardline on the opening drive of the game. Richardson threw the Wildcat aside, picked the ball up at the 15-yardline, and raced 60 yards the other way before the 295-pounder got hauled down at the Kentucky 25-yardline. That set up a TD run by TB Kendial Lawrence for a quick 7-0 lead.
   The other takeaways were induced by DE Brad Madison and LB Will Ebner. Madison got a sack/fumble on the Kentucky 12-yardline that was recovered by MU's LB Zaviar Gooden. That set up a Tiger TD on the first play of the 4th quarter. Later in the 4th, Ebner pursued a pass play to the boundary, and popped the ball loose right after a catch. Teammate E.J. Gaines scooped the ball up at the Kentucky 13-yardline and tightroped his way down the sideline for the touchdown which put a cap on MU's 33-10 win.
   Prior to that, Mizzou's defense was able to create takeaways in its 42-10 loss to #1 Alabama. The Tiger defense forced a pair of Crimson Tide fumbles, which were both forced by DE Michael Sam, with LB Zaviar Gooden pouncing on one, and DE Shane Ray snagging the other. The first was recovered by Gooden at the Mizzou 12-yardline to thwart a potential Tide score, while the second one came on a hit by Sam of Tide QB A.J. McCarron, with Ray recovering at the Alabama 48-yardline.
   Mizzou managed one takeaway against Vanderbilt, courtesy of a Kip Edwards interception in the the 3rd quarter (his team-leading 2nd of the season, 5th career). The turnover streak came oh-so-close to ending the previous Saturday at Central Florida, but just like that, with only 2:29 remaining in the game, junior CB E.J. Gaines popped the ball loose from a UCF receiver after a short catch, and junior DT Sheldon Richardson gladly pounced on the fumble to effectively end the game.
   Mizzou's defenders are doing something right in terms of getting the ball out. Their 19 forced fumbles so far this season is most in the nation. Here's a look (thru games of Nov. 3rd):

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 89 11+ (2001-Present) 89-59 .601 8
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 12th season at MU (22nd overall as a head coach) and touts a career record of 162-96-3 (62.6%).
   Pinkel, who has led MU to a combined record of 67-34 (66.3%) over the past 7+ seasons, and to bowl games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, has a 12-year record in Columbia of 89-59 (60.1%). Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has gone 61-29 in his last 90 games overall (67.8%). 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 89. The win over Kansas in 2010 was the 150th of his career.
   Pinkel is in a select group of Mizzou coaches that includes College Football Hall of Famers Don Faurot and Dan Devine, as well as Warren Powers, to be the only coaches to have an MU record of above .500 (with at least one full season coached) dating all the way back to 1935.
   In 2007, Pinkel guided the Tigers from unranked in the pre-season to a team which won a school-record 12 games and a final ranking of #4 in the Associated Press Top-25. Mizzou ascended to #1 in the BCS rankings following the regular season, and stood just one half away from playing in the BCS National Championship Game (before Oklahoma pulled away from a halftime tie to win the Big 12 title game). For his efforts in 2007, Pinkel was a finalist for several national coach of the year awards, including the Robinson, Bryant and Munger awards. He was also named the National Coach of the Year by FieldTurf in 2007, and his 7 bowl games is an MU record.
   Pinkel has directed Mizzou to 8 winning seasons (8-5 in 2003, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 12-2 in 2007, 10-4 in 2008, 8-5 in 2009, 10-3 in 2010 and 8-5 in 2011), with those representing 8 of MU's 10 winning campaigns dating back to the 1983 season.
   The Big 12 North Division titles won by Mizzou in 2007, 2008 and 2010 represent the only football conference titles of any kind Mizzou has won since 1969 – the last time it claimed a share of the old Big Eight Conference crown. In April of 2011, Pinkel agreed to a two-year contract extension, meaning he'll patrol the Tiger sidelines through the 2017 season.


 

 

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