Nov. 17, 2009
TIGER NEWS & NOTES
Iowa State Cyclones (6-5, 3-4) at Missouri Tigers (6-4, 2-4)
Nov. 21, 2009 - Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium - Columbia, Mo.
SENIOR DAY - BLACKOUT GAME (All Fans Encouraged To Wear Black)
KICKOFF: 1:07 p.m. (central time).
STADIUM: Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field (71,004 - FieldTurf surface). Opened in 1926. MU is 249-167-20 there alltime and has won 22 of its last 27 overall and is 32-10 there since 2003 (2-3 in 2009).
RADIO: Tiger Network. Mike Kelly (play-by-play), John Kadlec (color), Chris Gervino (sidelines), Snowball (producer), Matt Winegardner (engineer). Carried on over 50 stations across the Midwest, and on the Internet at mutigers.com. The MU broadcast will also be on Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 126).
RANKINGS (AP/USA): MU - None / ISU - None.
SERIES: MU leads, 58-34-9, and has won 2 straight and 5 of the last 6 meetings overall, including a 52-20 win in Ames in 2008 which clinched the North Division title for the Tigers.
Mizzou: Gary Pinkel (Kent, '75), 65-45 at MU (9th year) and 138-82-3 overall (19th year). Pinkel is 5-3 vs. Iowa State and is 0-0 vs. Paul Rhoads.
Iowa State: Paul Rhoads (Missouri Western, '89), 6-5 at ISU and overall (1st year). Rhoads is 0-0 vs. Mizzou and Gary Pinkel.
BLACKOUT, SENIOR DAY MARKS CLOSE OF 2009 HOME SEASON
The Missouri Tigers (6-4 overall, 2-4 in Big 12 Conference play) will bring a close to the 2009 home season this Saturday as they play host to the Iowa State Cyclones (6-5, 3-4) at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium. Kickoff for the game, which is not being televised, is set for 1:07 p.m. (central time). Tickets remain available for the contest, and can be purchased online at www.mutigers.com, or over the phone by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS (884-PAWS in Columbia).
Saturday will mark 2009 Blackout, an annual tradition where fans are encouraged to dress in black. More importantly, the game will mark the final home contest for a 15-member senior class which has been one of the most successful in school history.
The Tigers are coming off a resounding 38-12 road win at Kansas State last Saturday, as Mizzou spoiled the Wildcats' hopes of securing the Big 12 North Division title. Senior WR Danario Alexander had another All-American-caliber day as he caught 10 passes for 200 yards and an MU record-tying 3 TDs (covering 54, 16 and 80 yards, respectively). Mizzou notched its 4th straight win over Kansas State, and the school's first over a Bill Snyder-coached outfit since 1992 also thanks in large part to an outstanding effort by its defense, which kept the Wildcats out of the endzone - a first for both teams in 2009.
Iowa State is one of the feel-good stories in the Big 12 this season, as first-year Coach Paul Rhoads has his Cyclones bowl-eligible for the first time since 2005. The Cyclones had not won a Big 12 Conference game since 2006 before they earned wins against Baylor and at Nebraska in successive weeks. Iowa State is coming off a 17-10 home win over Colorado in what was ISU's final home game of the season. Saturday will mark Iowa State's final game of the 2009 regular season, as well.
|TALE OF THE TAPE|
|[NCAA Ranking in Brackets]|
|391.40 [55th]||Total Offense||361.55 [67th]|
|113.40 [99th]||Rushing Offense||186.45 [28th]|
|278.00 [18th]||Passing Offense||175.09 [101st]|
|138.07 [33rd]||Passing Efficiency||112.09 [101st]|
|28.90 [50th]||Scoring Offense||20.82 [100th]|
|341.30 [39th]||Total Defense||403.00 [92nd]|
|103.10 [17th]||Rushing Defense||166.36 [88th]|
|11||TDs Allowed Rushing||11|
|238.20 [86th]||Passing Defense||236.64 [83rd]|
|126.83 [61st]||Pass Effic. Defense||131.53 [73rd]|
|13||TDs Allowed Passing||20|
|23.20 [49th]||Scoring Defense||21.55 [36th]|
|+0.20 [51st]||Turnover Margin||+0.64 [23rd]|
|14 / 5||Fumbles/Lost||17 / 9|
|19.36 [102nd]||Kickoff Return Avg.||22.12 [56th]|
|10.24 [46th]||Punt Return Avg.||5.35 [104th]|
|40.06 [3rd]||Net Punting Avg.||37.81 [24th]|
|2.40 [37th]||Sacks By||1.27 [106th]|
|1.50 [43rd]||Sacks Allowed||1.00 [T-14th]|
|27:32 [107th]||Avg. Time of Poss.||28:24 [98th]|
|36.6% [T-81st]||3rd Down Conv.||42.1% [45th]|
|53.3% [T-49th]||4th Down Conv.||66.7% [T-17th]|
SENIOR CLASS CLOSING IN ON SCHOOL WINS MARK
Fifteen Tiger seniors will suit up for one last time at Faurot Field Saturday when they don the Black & Gold for the 2009 home finale vs. Iowa State.
This class has been a very key group of players and leaders who have helped push Mizzou to new heights. They have helped MU to 36 wins over the course of the 2006 season through now, and that is just one win shy of the MU record for any four-year period of time. The 2008 senior class established the mark with 37 wins from 2005-08, and with a minimum of two games remaining, the 2009 class can surpass that mark (see chart below).
Now that the 2009 team is bowl eligible, this senior class is on pace to join the 1981 senior class and the 2008 senior class as the only others in Tiger history to play in four bowl games in a four-year span (Mizzou played in bowls each year from 1978-81, and repeated that feat from 2005-08).
Here's a look at the most prolific senior classes at Mizzou, in terms of wins...
|SENIOR CLASS WINS, 4-YEAR PERIOD|
|Rank/Class||# Wins||# Bowls|
SENIOR CLASS ROSTER/NOTES
Here's a quick glance at the 15 seniors who have helped Tiger Nation stand proud for the last few years. This class has won 36 games entering Saturday's game against Iowa State, and has been part of three bowl games (2006 Sun, 2008 Cotton, 2008 Alamo), two bowl game victories (2008 Cotton, 2008 Alamo), the first two Big 12 North Division championships in school history (2007, 2008) and the first-ever No. 1 BCS ranking in school history (Nov. 26, 2007), among many other noteable achievements...
Most importantly, everyone in this group of 15 scholar-athletes is scheduled to graduate by May, 2010. For details, see the sidebar on page 16 of the Mizzou game notes...
|Tiger (Jersey)||Position||Hometown||Career Notes|
|Danario Alexander (81)||WR||Marlin, Texas||Closing in on MU single-season receiving records in '09|
|*Jaron Baston (96)||DT||Blue Springs, Mo.||Captain has 95 career tackles and 14.0 career TFLs|
|Brian Coulter (2)||DE||Baker, La.||Has 64 tackles in 22 games in 2-year MU career|
|*Jon Gissinger (43)||TE||San Diego, Calif.||Has played in all 51 games from 2006-present|
|*Kurtis Gregory (78)||OL||Blackburn, Mo.||Captain will start 39th consecutive game at RG Saturday|
|Levi Hamilton (33)||TE||Rolla, Mo.||Transfered to Mizzou from Westminster College in 2007|
|Jake Harry IV (36)||P||Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif.||Ranks 3rd on MU career punting avg. list (41.7)|
|Del Howard (15)||S||Dallas, Texas||Has 86 tackles and 2 INTs in 45 career games|
|Andy Maples (92)||DT||Lester, Ala.||Injuries have limited him to 2 games in last 2 years|
|Tanner Mills (91)||PK||Columbia, Mo.||Won kickoff job in 2009 & has 8 touchbacks so far|
|Jared Perry (4)||WR||La Marque, Texas||Among MU career top-10 w/137 rec., 1,844 yds., 13 TDs|
|*Hardy Ricks (4)||S||St. Louis, Mo.||Ends MU career w/108 tackles & 1 INT in 48 games|
|Ryan Schleusner (63)||OL||Maryville, Mo.||Has seen action in several games in 2009|
|Shawn Scott (6)||TB||St. Louis, Mo.||Plays w/KO return team; has 4 career rushes for 22 yds.|
|Sean Weatherspoon (12||) LB||Jasper, Texas||3rd on MU career tackles list (395), is 39 from record|
* - Denotes a 5th-year senior who was part of the February 2005 signing class.
ALEXANDER HITS 200-YARD RECEIVING MARK FOR 2ND STRAIGHT GAME
Senior WR Danario Alexander was under the radar entering the 2009 season, due largely to injuries which forced him to undergo four surgeries in the previous two seasons, including three surgeries on his left knee which he injured initially in the 2007 Big 12 Championship Game. The past month has seen Alexander feeling better than ever, and he's making quite a push for national recognition. Alexander turned in his 2nd-straight 200-yard receiving game with a 10-catch, 200-yard, 3-TD game in helping lead Mizzou to a huge 38-12 win at Big 12 North Division-leading Kansas State last Saturday. He had TD receptions of 54, 16 and 80 yards in the game, and that followed a 13-catch, 214-yard, 1-TD game the previous week against Baylor which featured an 84-yard TD reception.
We'll have much more detail about Alexander's All-American exploits, but here's a few tidbits for starters...
ALEXANDER WINS BIG 12 OFFENSIVE WEEKLY AWARD AGAIN
On Monday, the Big 12 Conference office announced that Mizzou's Danario Alexander was named the league's offensive player of the week award for his performance in MU's win at Kansas State, when he caught 10 passes for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns.
It marked the second time this season that Alexander has won the Big 12's weekly award, adding to the previous one he took home following his 9-catch, 170-yard, 2-TD game on Sept. 25th during Mizzou's 31-21 road win at Nevada. Additionally, it marked the first time in Big 12 Conference history that a wide receiver has won the weekly award twice in the same season. Not even former greats like Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, Rashaun Woods or Roy Williams ever achieved that feat previously.
That begs the question, is Alexander playing his way into consideration for the league's offensive player of the year? He's got two more games to try and provide his answer.
CALL ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL WHEN DIALING LONG DISTANCE
Thanks to Wendell Barnhouse of the Big 12 Conference office for this dandy...
Missouri senior wide receiver Danario Alexander has 11 touchdown receptions, one of six Division I-A players in double figures for TD catches. Alexander, though, is far and away the best big-play receiver of them all.
He's averaging 44.7 yards on his 11 TD grabs with four touchdown receptions covering 70 or more yards. None of the other five receivers with double figures in TD receptions have any TD catches that have covered 70 yards.
|Receiver, school||TDs||Total Yds.||Avg. Distance of TDs|
|Danario Alexander, Missouri||11||492||44.7 yds.|
|Golden Tate, Notre Dame||11||329||29.9|
|Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green||12||257||21.4|
|Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma||11||210||19.0|
|James Cleveland, Houston||11||129||11.7|
|Austin Pettis, Boise State||14||157||11.2|
TIGERS PROVE RESILIENT WITH IMPRESSIVE WIN AT KANSAS STATE
Following an extremely deflating home loss to Baylor on Nov. 7th which dropped them to 5-4 on the season and 1-4 in Big 12 play, the Missouri Tigers faced a crossroad in their season - get things going the right direction and get to a school-record 5th-straight bowl game to keep the program moving forward, or panic and possibly implode, like young teams can easily do.
But just when all the pundits were counting them out, Gary Pinkel's Tigers put together perhaps its best overall game of the 2009 season last Saturday in a 38-12 shellacking of the North Division-leading Wildcats and their legendary Coach Bill Snyder. The win was MU's first over Snyder since the 1992 season, and it gave Gary Pinkel his 4th-straight win over Kansas State.
More importantly, the win not only spoiled K-State's hopes at seizing control of the North Division race, but it gave MU bowl eligibility for the 5th consecutive season, and should the Tigers reach a bowl game this season, that will mark a school record. MU's current string of 4 consecutive bowl seasons (2005 Independence, 2006 Sun, 2008 Cotton, 2008 Alamo) is tied for the school mark, with Tiger teams from 1978-81, who played in 4 straight bowls under Warren Powers (1978 Liberty, 1979 Hall of Fame, 1980 Liberty and 1981 Tangerine). Here's a few highlights from the win in Manhattan last Saturday...
MIZZOU-IOWA STATE SERIES HISTORY
Mizzou and Kansas State will square off for the 102nd time when they meet Saturday in Columbia, with MU holding a 58-34-9 lead overall in the prior 101 meetings (the first meeting came back in 1896). The 58 wins is the 2nd-most that MU owns against any opponent, trailing only the 59 accrued by Mizzou against Kansas State, including last Saturday's 38-12 win in Manhattan.
The Tigers have held the upper hand of late between the two longtime rivals, winning the last 2, and 5 of the last 6 matchups overall, including a 52-20 win in Ames in 2008 that clinched the Big 12 North Division title for the Tigers. The only loss in that stretch for Mizzou was a 21-16 setback in Ames in 2006 that saw the Tigers denied a comeback win as a potential game-winning TD was wiped out by a holding penalty in the final moments.
Mizzou holds a 28-16-7 lead in games played in Columbia, Mo., but the Cyclones have managed to hold their own in MU's Memorial Stadium of late, as the Tigers have managed a slim 6-4 edge in the last 10 games played at Mizzou between the rivals.
Iowa State proved to be a nemesis on a regular basis during one stretch for Mizzou, as the Cyclones posted a 4-0-2 record in Columbia in six appearances from 1982 through 1991.
The last three visits to Columbia have resulted in Tiger victories, but one was a memorable nailbiter in 2005 that saw an unproven rookie quarterback come off the bench to replace an injured Brad Smith in the 4th quarter and lead Mizzou back from a 10-point deficit to post a 27-24 overtime win that essentially began the legend of Chase Daniel.
Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel stands 5-3 overall against Iowa State. Five of the eight contests between MU and ISU since Pinkel took over in 2001 have been decided by seven points or fewer.
IOWA STATE (MU Leads, 58-34-9)
Last 20 Games
|1989||L, 35-21||at Columbia|
|1990||L, 27-25||at Ames|
|1991||L, 23-22||at Columbia|
|1992||L, 28-14||at Ames|
|1993||W, 37-34||at Columbia|
|1994||W, 34-20||at Ames|
|1995||W, 45-31||at Columbia|
|First Year of Big 12 Conference|
|1996||L, 45-31||at Ames|
|1997||W, 45-21||at Columbia|
|1998||W, 35-19||at Ames|
|1999||L, 24-21||at Columbia|
|2000||L, 39-20||at Ames|
|2001||L, 20-14||at Columbia|
|2002||L, 42-35||at Ames|
|2003||W, 45-7||at Columbia|
|2004||W, 17-14 (OT)||at Ames|
|2005||W, 27-24 (OT)||at Columbia|
|2006||L, 21-16||at Ames|
|2007||W, 42-28||at Columbia|
|2008||W, 52-20||at Ames|
|at Columbia: MU leads, 28-16-7|
|at MU's Memorial Stadium: MU leads, 25-10-6|
|as part of Big 12 Conf.: MU leads, 7-6|
LAST YEAR REWIND: #12 MIZZOU 52, IOWA STATE 20
AMES, Iowa (AP) - Chase Daniel threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns and No. 12 Missouri clinched the Big 12 North and a spot in the conference title game by downing Iowa State 52-20.
Swirling winds and temperatures in the high 20s had little effect on Daniel and Missouri's high-flying offense. Daniel went 32-of-40 and completed his first 16 passes as the Tigers (9-2, 5-2 Big 12) jumped out to a 31-7 halftime lead.
Derrick Washington rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns and Jeremy Maclin caught eight passes for 103 yards and a score for Missouri, which has won four straight since a two-game losing streak that bounced the Tigers out of the national championship picture. Austen Arnaud threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns for Iowa State (2-9, 0-7), setting a school record with 36 completions. The loss was the Cyclones' ninth straight of the season.
ISU's Grant Mahoney hit field goals of 47 and 38 yards to made it 31-13, but Maclin answered by taking a Daniel pass 43 yards for a touchdown with 4:05 left in the third quarter to put the Tigers ahead 38-13.
Collin Franklin's 25-yard TD catch brought Iowa State back within 38-20. But Jimmy Jackson's 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter put the Tigers back ahead 45-20, and Carl Gettis picked off Arnaud at the goal line midway through the fourth quarter. Jackson added his second score, a 6-yard touchdown with 3:23 left to seal the scoring on the night.
Missouri was nearly perfect in the first half, scoring on five of six possessions to go ahead 31-7. And even when the Tigers slipped up, they rectified things in a hurry.
Allen Bell picked off Daniel at the Cyclones' 10 early in the second quarter, but William Moore returned the favor with an interception off of Arnaud three plays later, running it back for a 17-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
Iowa State responded with 5:02 left in the first half on a 1-yard TD pass from Arnaud to Patrick Neal. It took Missouri just 51 seconds to get those points back.
On a simple off-tackle run, Derrick Washington cut it back inside, slipped past a defender and ran 52 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Jeff Wolfert hit a 30-yard field as time expired in the first half.
|Scoring Summary||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||- Total|
|Iowa State||0||7||6||7||- 20|
MU - Tommy Saunders 3 pass from Chase Daniel (Jeff Wolfert PAT), 9:48 (1st)
MU - Derrick Washington 2 run (Wolfert PAT), 14:28 (2nd)
MU - William Moore 17 interception return (Wolfert PAT), 9:47 (2nd)
ISU - Patrick Neal 1 pass from Austen Arnaud (Grant Mahoney PAT), 5:02 (2nd)
MU - Washington 52 run (Wolfert PAT), 4:11 (2nd)
MU - Wolfert 30 FG, 0:00 (2nd)
ISU - Mahoney 47 FG, 10:34 (3rd)
ISU - Mahoney 38 FG, 6:08 (3rd)
MU - Jeremy Maclin 43 pass from Daniel (Wolfert PAT), 4:05 (3rd)
ISU - Collin Franklin 25 pass from Arnaud (Mahoney PAT), 14:51 (4th)
MU - Jimmy Jackson 2 run (Wolfert PAT), 13:03 (4th)
MU - Jackson 6 run (Wolfert PAT), 3:23 (4th)
|328||Net Passing Yards||326|
|479||Total Net Yards||444|
|8-10||3rd Down Conv.||6-14|
|1-1||4th Down Conv.||0-3|
|25:10||Time of Possession||34:50|
Rushing - (MU) Washington 11-128, 2 TDs (ISU) Robinson 11-59
Passing - (MU) Daniel 32-40-1, 328 Yds, 2 TDs (ISU) Arnaud 36-54-2, 326 Yds, 2 TDs
Receiving - (MU) Maclin 8-103, 1 TD (ISU) Darks 8-59
TIGERS ENJOY IMPROVED RED ZONE RESULTS AT K-STATE
Red Zone efficiency had been something of a struggle for Mizzou on both sides of the ball in conference play prior to last Saturday's game at Kansas State. But in Manhattan, the Tigers found some magic on both offense and defense, and the new-found efficiency was instrumental in Mizzou's big 38-12 win.
The Tigers reached the red zone 4 times at K-State and converted all 4 opportunities into points. But most importantly, Mizzou turned the opportunities into 7 points instead of settling for field goals, as they got TDs on 3 of those 4 situations.
The 3 red zone TDs were the most for Mizzou in 2009 against an FBS opponent (MU had 3 RZ TDs against Furman in September), and it was a much better efficiency than it had been operating with previously, as MU entered the game at just a 40.0% TD percentage rate in the red zone (14-of-35 prior to K-State). The TD percentage rate in Big 12 play was also at just 36.8% (7-of-19) coming into the KSU game.
Conversely the Wildcats had 5 red zone penetrations, but the Tiger defense was resolute, giving up only 3 scores, and all of them were field goals, as it kept an opponent out of the endzone for the first time in 2009, and for the first time in 17 games (since a shutout of Colorado in game #8 of the 2008 season).
It was a drastic one-game turnaround for the Tiger defense, which allowed Baylor the previous week to score on 6-of-6 red zone tries, including 4 TDs in what was a shocking 40-32 home loss to the Bears.
Kansas State had been fairly successful with its red zone efficiency coming into the game with Missouri, as it had converted 15-of-19 red zone tries in Big 12 Conference play (79.0%), including a solid TD percentage rate of 68.4% (13-of-19).
TIGER RUSH DEFENSE HAS HAD SUCCESS, WILL BE CHALLENGED BY CYCLONES
The key to defeating Kansas State last Saturday was Mizzou's defensive ability to contain the Wildcat ground, and that's exactly what happened, as the Tigers held KSU to just 112 net rushing yards, which was 78 yards below their per-game average of 190 yards per game coming into the contest.
K-State worked the run hard all game long, but it took 43 attempts to get their 112 yards, and the 2.6 average per rush was a season low for the Wildcats.
For the season, Mizzou ranks 17th nationally in defending the run, as it allows 103.10 yards per game on the ground. Opponents average just 2.95 yards per rush against Mizzou's defense, and that is the 10th-best figure in the country, as well, despite the fact that the Tigers have faced more rushing attempts than any defense in the top-10 of the average yards per rush against category (34.90 attempts per game by MU opponents).
The Tigers held K-State's Daniel Thomas to just 79 yards on 23 carries, for a per-rush average of 3.4 yards. Thomas had entered the game leading the Big 12 in rushing, with an average of 108.0 yards per game. Thomas had gained 185 yards the previous week in a K-State win over Kansas.
Last Saturday's result was the continuation of a season-long trend for the Tiger defense, which has been consistently good against the run in 2009.
In its last two games prior to K-State, MU held Colorado and Baylor to a combined net of 24 yards rushing, including a minus-14 yards on the ground for Colorado (the lowest single-game total for an MU opponent since 1972).
Mizzou will certainly be challenged by Iowa State's potent running attack which comes into Saturday's game in Columbia ranked 2nd in the Big 12 Conference, and 28th nationally, averaging 186.45 yards per game. Oklahoma State currently leads the Big 12 in rushing (200.70 avg.), and earlier this year the Tigers held the Cowboys to 124 yards on the ground, or 76 below their current Big 12-leading average. Here's a recap of Mizzou's rush defense log for the 2009 season. The numbers below show that only one opponent so far has exceeded their current per-game rushing average (through games of Nov. 14th) against Mizzou in 2009, and that includes holding the nation's top-rushing team, Nevada, to 135 yards below their current average...
Rushing Yardage Rushing Offense Margin
|Opponent||vs. MU||Season Avg.||vs. MU to Season Average|
|Illinois||110||190.50 (25)||- 80|
|Bowling Green||114||68.70||+ 46|
|at Nevada||218||353.10 (1)||- 135|
|at Oklahoma St.||124||200.70 (19)||- 76|
|at Colorado||(-14)||90.80||- 114|
|at Kansas State||112||183.55||- 71|
SPOON CONTINUING ALL-AMERICAN PLAY FOR TIGER DEFENSE
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.
Recently, he was one of 10 standouts named as a semifinalist for the 2009 Lombardi Award. He's coming off a 9-tackle performance in last Saturday's win at Kansas State, and that gives him a total of 43 stops in his last 4 games overall.
He was the central figure in Mizzou's standout defensive showing at North Division-leading K-State, as the Tigers held the Wildcats out of the endzone for the first time this season, making them settle for four field goals in MU's 38-12 win.
Spoon was the ringleader at Colorado, as he notched a game-high 12 tackles, including 1 TFL in Mizzou's 33-17 win at Colorado, where the Tiger defense allowed just 176 yards of offense, including minus-14 yards rushing overall. He was named the Lott Trophy national player of the week for his efforts at CU.
Through 10 games, Spoon ranks 2nd in the Big 12 (30th nationally) with his 9.30 tackles per game average (93 total). He's also 6th in the Big 12 (29th nationally) in tackles for loss, at 1.25 per game.
He also had a big night against #3 Texas, when he led the Tigers with 11 tackles, including 3.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 QB sack of UT's Colt McCoy. Spoon also grabbed a 3rd-quarter INT of McCoy to mark his first of 2009.
He now has 395 tackles for his career (he's only in his 3rd year as a starter on defense), which ranks him 3rd in Mizzou history. He needs 20 more tackles to reach #2 on the list (DeMontie Cross, 420), and he's 39 tackles away from the MU career record of 434 tackles, set by James Kinney from 2001-04.
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.
Weatherspoon 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.
Here's a quick game-by-game rundown of his production in 2009...
- - vs. Illinois - 9 tack., 1 TFL, 1 QB sack, 1 QBH o - at OSU - 7 tack., 1 TFL
- - vs. BGSU - 14 tack., 1 TFL, o - vs. Texas - 11 tack., 3 TFLs, 1 QB sack, 1 INT
- - vs. Furman - 6 tack., 1 forced fumble, 1 PBU o - at Colorado - 12 tack., 1 TFL
- - at Nevada - 9 tack., 1 TFL, 0.5 QB sacks o - vs. Baylor - 11 tack., 2 TFL, 1 QB sack
- - vs. Nebraska - 5 tack., 1 TFL o - at Kansas State - 9 tack., 1 TFL
ALEXANDER THE GREAT LEADS BIG 12 IN RECEIVING, 3RD IN NCAA
One of the great stories happening in Big 12 football right now is the outstanding play of senior WR Danario Alexander, who has overcome four surgeries during his last two years as a Tiger, only to emerge this season as one of the most productive receivers in the nation, and he should be in prime contention for All-Big 12 honors, as well as All-American honors, as well. Perhaps, he's also working his way into the conversation for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year?
The Marlin, Texas native enters Saturday's game against Iowa State with a team-best 81 receptions for 1,238 yards and 11 TDs. His previous season highs were back in 2007 when he had 417 yards on 37 catches in 10 games.
Alexander is coming off yet another All-American type day at Kansas State, where he grabbed 10 receptions for 200 yards an MU record-tying 3 TDs in helping lead Mizzou to its 38-12 win in Manhattan against the North Division-leading Wildcats. His TDs came from 54 yards, 16 yards and 80 yards, with the latter one coming with less than a minute remaining in the 3rd quarter that broke the game open. MU led 17-12 at the time, and K-State had all the momentum at the time, but Alexander took a 12-yard dig route around the 30-yardline, made a closing safety miss, and he burst to the left sideline to paydirt, outracing the entire KSU secondary to the endzone.
He was awarded Monday with the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week award, marking the 2nd time this season he's won that award (making him the first WR in Big 12 history to win the award twice in a season).
As noted previously, he is the only receiver in the NCAA in 2009 to have a pair of 200-yard receiving games, and they came in back-to-back fashion, as he lit up Baylor the week before, when he set career highs with 13 receptions and 214 yards (including a TD that he took a career-long 84 yards for a score). His yardage total was the 4th-highest in MU single-game history, and only 22 yards off the record of 236 set twice by Justin Gage.
Alexander now has 6 100-yard outings on the year. Alexander enters the Iowa State game ranked 1st in the Big 12 and 3rd in the NCAA in receiving yards per game (123.80 avg.), and he's also 2nd in the Big 12 and 5th nationally in receptions per game (8.10 avg.).
NCAA RECEIVING YARDAGE LEADERS (Thru Nov. 14th)
1. Greg Salas, Hawaii 136.00 ypg
2. Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green 128.50
3. Danario Alexander, Mizzou 123.80
4. Golden Tate, Notre Dame 117.20
5. Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas 110.44
NCAA RECEPTIONS LEADERS (Thru Nov. 14th)
1. Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green 11.70 rpg
2. Greg Salas, Hawaii 8.50
3. Kerry Meier, Kansas 8.30
4. James Cleveland, Houston 8.20
5. Danario Alexander, Mizzou 8.10
5. Jordan Shipley, Texas 8.10
Alexander's performance vs. K-State upped his totals to 159 career catches for 2,235 yards and 19 TDs. He currently ranks 4th on the MU career receiving yardage chart, 5th on the MU career receptions top-10, and his 19 career TDs stand as 3rd-most alltime at MU. His current season total of 1,238 yards is already 2nd-best in MU single-season history, and he stands just 22 yards shy of the record of 1,260 yards set just last year by All-American Jeremy Maclin.
His monster game against Baylor marked his 2nd-consecutive 100-yard outing. Previously at Colorado, he caught 8 passes for 123 yards and 2 TDs, including a scintillating 73-yard score that was a beautifully-executed catch-and-run number that he took the distance.
Four times this year, he's already established a new career best for receiving yardage. One of those was at Oklahoma State, where he caught 9 passes for 180 yards and 1 TD. The TD was a beautiful catch-and-run where he broke a couple of tackles and fought off a facemask penalty to will his way into the endzone from 48 yards out. He also had a 50-yard catch against the Cowboys, to go with another one for 34 yards. On Sept. 25th at Nevada, Alexander won the Big 12 co-Offensive Player of the Week for his 9-catch, 170-yard, 2-TD game in MU's 31-21 win in Reno. Alexander's scores came from 31 and 74 yards out, and he also had a huge 3rd-down conversion grab on 3rd-and-8 from the MU 5-yardline in the 4th quarter that helped spur what ended up a 97-yard TD drive that essentially iced the game for Mizzou.
Alexander became the first Tiger receiver to win conference offensive POW honors since Victor Bailey won the award in 1992 for his performance against Nebraska - back in the days of the old Big Eight Conference.
Against Furman, he caught 3 passes for 46 yards and he became the first Tiger to throw for a TD and catch a TD pass in the same game since the 2006 Brut Sun Bowl. On the TD pass, Alexander combined with fellow WR Jared Perry as Alexander took a lateral toss from QB Blaine Gabbert, and after selling a bubble screen, he pulled up and lofted a pass downfield to a wide-open Perry for a 40-yard TD that was MU's first score of the game. Later in the 2nd quarter, Alexander caught a pair of TD passes (13 yards and 17 yards), with the latter coming with just :11 seconds remaining in the half.
He had a 7-catch, 56-yard outing against Bowling Green, and his 22-yard catch-and-run late in the 4th-quarter that went down to the 1-yardline set up the game-winning TD that Derrick Washington scored with 5:38 to play.
Alexander opened his final season at MU in style, as he turned in career highs of 10 receptions for 132 yards against Illinois. Time and again he was QB Blaine Gabbert's go-to guy, as 6 of his 10 catches came on 3rd or 4th down, with 4 of them extending the chains. His performances have been good to see for such a great kid who has battled through various injuries over the past two seasons. It's easy to forget that Alexander beat out Jeremy Maclin for the starting job at one receiver spot prior to 2007 - a pretty good indicator of his talent. But Alexander broke his wrist in the 2007 season opener, and that kept him out of action for three games. He returned to catch a TD pass in game 5 against Nebraska, and closed the regular season with an 8-catch, 117-yard, 1-TD performance in 4th-ranked MU's historic 36-28 win over arch rival and 2nd-ranked Kansas that led to MU taking over the #1 ranking the next week in the A.P. and BCS polls. But Alexander saw his season come to an end the next week in the Big 12 Championship Game against Oklahoma as he tore knee ligaments while being tackled on an end around. He had surgery to repair the damage, and was making good progress until his ligament graft came undone during the spring of 2008, which forced him to undergo surgery again. He worked hard to return in 2008, and he did so admirably after missing only the first two games, but he clearly wasn't 100% for the season. His numbers dropped from 37 catches for 417 yards and 2 TDs in 2007 in 10 games to 26 catches for 329 yards in 12 games in 2008. He did up his TD total that year to 5, but he had a third surgery on his knee in the off-season to clean things up another time.
Alexander's perserverance to overcome his challenges was recognized in the off-season by his teammates, as they voted him one of four team captains for the 2009 season.
Here's a look at his game-by-game production:
Aldon Smith MAKING CASE FOR ALL-BIG 12, FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICAN
Perhaps Tiger coaches should just look for defensive linemen with the last name of Smith when they're out on the recruiting trails. After all, the top two QB sack masters in Mizzou history are Brian Smith (31.5 sacks from 2003-06) and Justin Smith (22.5 sacks from 1998-2000). Now, it's turn for the next Smith to take his turn, and redshirt freshman Aldon Smith (no relation to Brian or Justin) is turning some heads in his first season of play. Heading into the Iowa State contest, Smith ranks 6th in the NCAA in tackles for loss (1.70 avg.) and 8th in QB sacks (1.00 avg.). In the Big 12, he ranks 2nd in tackles for loss and is 4th in the Big 12 in QB sacks. He's got season totals of 17.0 tackles for loss and 10.0 QB sacks, and he's coming off a 6-tackle outing at Kansas State where he recorded a pair of TFLs (12 yards in losses) and one more QB sack.
He is fast approaching the single-season QB sack record for Mizzou of 11.0, set by All-American DE Justin Smith in 2000. Smith had a monster game on Halloween day at Colorado, where he racked up 3.0 QB sacks (27 yards) and 4.0 tackles for loss (35 yards), on his 5-tackle day that included a pass break up.
- Smith is the top freshman in the NCAA in QB sacks, with his per-game average of 1.00. The next-best freshman currently on the national sacks list is USC's Nick Perry, who ranks 31st in the NCAA overall, with a per-game average of 0.70. There's not another freshman in the top-60 nationally other than those two...
- Smith is by far the top freshman in the NCAA in TFLs, with his per-game average of 1.70 (17.0 TFLs in 10 games). The ONLY other freshman in the nation who ranks among the top-100 in this category, currently, is Luke Kuechly of Boston College, who ranks 71st at 1.00 per game (10 TFLs in 10 games)...
Prior to Colorado, Smith had a big game against #3 Texas, where he amassed a career-best 11 tackles (all of the solo variety). Included in that 11-tackle night were a pair of QB sacks against Texas' 2008 Heisman Trophy runner-up Colt McCoy. Smith turned in 4.0 tackles for loss in all on the night for 11 yards in total losses.
The Raytown, Mo. native enters the Kansas State game 4th on the team with 48 tackles, and he leads the Tigers with his TFL (15.0) and QB sack (9.0) totals, as well as having a team-best 5 pass break ups.
Smith had a big QB sack at Nevada that went for a loss of 13 yards on 3rd down that forced a Wolf Pack punt. He also was credited with forcing a fumble inside the MU 5-yardline early in the 4th quarter that was recovered by the Tigers, and that preceded a game-clinching 97-yard TD drive by the offense. Smith ended the night with 7 tackles in Reno.
Smith had a 5-tackle performance against Bowling Green that included one huge 4th-quarter sack of 18 yards that came with around 9 minutes left in the game, with MU trailing 20-13 at the time. His sack was on 3rd down, and forced a BGSU punt that MU took and drove for the game-tying TD.
Smith started against Bowling Green, after he was very impressive in his collegiate debut against Illinois, when he registered 6 tackles, including 3 tackles for loss and 1 QB sack of the Illini's Juice Williams.
GREGORY FINALIST FOR LOWE'S SENIOR AWARD; LEADS FAN VOTING
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. Last week, Gregory was named an ESPN The Magazine 1st-Team Academic All-District winner, and now is on the national ballot for contention to become a 1st-Team Academic All-American.
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!
In October, 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 is underway to determine the winner. Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS AwardTM 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. Fan balloting is available on the award's official Web site, http://www.seniorCLASSaward.com, as well as through text messaging. Fans can text F4 to 74567 to vote for Gregory.
As of Nov. 15th, Gregory stood 1st in the fan voting, which comprises 1/3rd of the voting total, with the remainder coming from Division I coaches and national media voters. Here's a look at the top-three in the voting, as of Sunday...
LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD FAN VOTING (As of Nov. 15th)
1. Kurtis Gregory, Mizzou 25.8%
2. Eric Decker, Minnesota 16.3%
3. Tim Tebow, Florida 15.6%
The pre-season Outland Trophy candidate is slated to make his 39th consecutive start at right guard this Saturday against Iowa State.
RESSEL IS GROZA SEMI-FINALIST; RANKS 2ND IN NCAA IN FG ACCURACY
Replacing the NCAA record holder for career accuracy could be seen as a daunting task for sophomore PK Grant Ressel, but the successor to former star Jeff Wolfert has shown that he's been more than up to the task, as he's a stellar 18-of-19 on field goals and 31-of-31 on extra points through 10 games. He's 6-of-7 from 40 yards or longer, including making three 46-yarders, with two of those coming recently against Baylor. One of his 46-yarders against the Bears was a crucial one with 2:55 to play that pulled MU to within 40-32. His only miss of the year came on a 43-yard attempt on Oct. 8th against Nebraska, in monsoon-like conditions, when the snap appeared to be a little high, which threw off the timing of the kick.
Ressel is approaching the MU single-season record for most FGs made. The current mark is 21, set in 2007 by Jeff Wolfert.
The Jackson, Mo. native, who didn't win the starting kicking job until late in training camp, currently ranks 1st in the Big 12 (4th in the NCAA) in field goals per game (1.80) and is 2nd in the Big 12 and 21st in the nation in scoring (8.50 ppg). Last week, he was named one of 20 semi-finalists for the 2009 Lou Groza Award., which is given annually to the nation's top kicker.
Prior to the Baylor game, Ressel had a perfect 6-of-6 day at Colorado that featured FGs of 29 yards and 33 yards, with the latter coming with 3:57 to play that iced the game by making it a three-score game, and accounting for the final 36-17 margin.
Entering the Iowa State game this weekend, Ressel is also 2nd in the NCAA lead in FG accuracy, among those with 10 or more attempts:
NCAA FIELD GOAL ACCURACY (Minimum 10 Attempts Thru Games of Nov. 14th)
|Rank Player (Year)||School||Pct. (Makes-Atts.)|
|1. Craig Ratanamorn (Sr.)||Marshall||100.0% (13-of-13)|
|2. Grant Ressel (So.)||Mizzou||94.7% (18-of-19)|
|3. Blair Walsh (So.)||Georgia||93.3% (14-of-15)|
|3. Wes Byrum (Jr.)||Auburn||93.3% (14-of-15)|
|5. Kai Forbath (Jr.)||UCLA||92.0% (23-of-25)|
Ressel, who walked on to the Tiger squad in 2007 was an unsung hero of Mizzou's 27-20 win over Bowling Green, as he accounted for the only points MU could muster through nearly 3 quarters. His 2nd-quarter FGs of 38 and 46 yards helped keep the Tigers afloat and within striking distance, until the offense could get untracked in the 2nd half. His 46-yarder (a career long) came with 51 seconds before halftime, and cut the score to 13-6 at the time.
On Sept. 25th at Nevada, he again kept things moving forward as he nailed two 1st-quarter FGs (22 & 31 yards) to get points after stalled drives to help Mizzou post a 12-7 halftime lead. He also had 2 more boots in the 2nd half (27 and 26 yards) that helped seal the deal in Mizzou's 31-21 win.
His first 5 field goal tries this year came in the first half, and all were kicked when the outcome of the game was still up in the air - none came in mop-up time when there's no pressure riding on the kick. Against Illinois, he was 3-for-3 on FG tries, connecting from 32, 44 and 41 yards in MU's 37-9 season-opening win.
It didn't take long for Ressel to get his first test vs. Illinois, as he was called on for a 32-yard attempt that he nailed to cap MU's season-opening possession to give MU a 3-0 lead at the 7:23 mark of the 1st quarter. After MU took a 10-0 lead and Illinois closed to 10-3, the Tiger defense got an interception in Illini territory. The drive stalled out, however, and Ressel was called on to try a 44-yard attempt, which again was true with 8:36 left in the half for a 13-3 lead. He tacked on a 41-yarder for good measure with just :06 seconds left in the half to give Mizzou a huge boost of momentum, as well as a 16-3 lead, into the lockerroom for halftime.
Ressel won the kicking job in fall training camp in a fierce competition with senior PK Tanner Mills. Ressel had no previous collegiate place kicks on his resume prior to this season, but he did punt once in 2008 in mop-up time, as he booted a 43-yard punt against Southeast Missouri State.
GABBERT SHOWS HIS METTLE WITH 2ND-HALF COMEBACK VS. BGSU
After winning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week in his first career start for his stellar performance in Mizzou's season opener against Illinois, sophomore QB Blaine Gabbert had a tough act to follow. Things didn't go so smoothly for the St. Louis native against Bowling Green, but perhaps what he did in the 2nd half of the game was even more impressive than his performance against Illinois, because of the pressure involved.
Gabbert keyed a 2nd-half comeback that saw the Tigers erase a 20-6 deficit late in the 3rd quarter, as they scored touchdowns on 3 consecutive possessions to grab a 27-20 win - and that stands as only the 3rd time in MU history that the Tigers have won after trailing by as many as 14 points at any time in the 2nd half of a game.
He had an outstanding performance in notching a win in his first-ever road start, as the Tigers pulled away for 31-21 win at Nevada on Sept. 25th. Gabbert threw for a career-best 414 yards, on 25-of-40 passing, with 3 TDs to raise his season total to 11 TDs with no interceptions entering the Nebraska game. He had 5 passes of 30 yards or more against the Wolf Pack, including TD strikes of 31 and 74 yards to WR Danario Alexander - for the season, Gabbert has 22 passes of 30 yards or more, with 11 of them going for scores.
Gabbert is coming off a stellar outing at Kansas State, where he helped lead Mizzou to an important 38-12 win that made MU bowl eligible. He established a career-best QB rating of 203.45 in the game, thanks to 20-of-27 passing for 298 yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions. His scores all went to WR Danario Alexander, and traveled 54 yards, 16 yards and 80 yards, respectively.
Gabbert was especially brilliant in a key 2-minute drill to end the first half, when, with MU holding to a slim 10-6 lead, he directed a drive that began with 2:57 left on his own 8-yardline. After completing a crucial 11-yard pass over the middle to WR Wes Kemp on 3rd down and 7 to get the initial first down, he calmly directed the Tigers all the way downfield for a score, as he connected with Alexander from 16 yards out with just :20 seconds prior to halftime for a 17-6 MU lead. On the drive, Gabbert was 6-of-7 for 75 yards in all.
Prior to K-State, Gabbert had a bittersweet outing against Baylor, where he completed 30-of-51 passes for 468 yards and 2 TDs (with the yardage total marking a career-best, as well as being the 2nd-highest single-game passing total in MU history). Obviously, Gabbert would trade the yardage for a Tiger win, but it didn't work out that way as the Bears rallied for a 40-32 win.
Gabbert had the first tough outing of his collegiate career against Nebraska and their stout defense, as he was held to 134 passing yards on 17-of-43 passing in MU's 27-12 defeat on Oct. 8th. It didn't help that the game was played in a virtual torrential downpour, nor did the fact that he suffered a severely sprained ankle in the first quarter when he was sacked by Ndamukong Suh. He also had his streak of consecutive passes without an interception broken at 177, when he was picked off by Suh for the first time in his career, in the 4th quarter. Despite being less than 100%, Gabbert hung in there and engineered a potential game-tying drive late in the 4th quarter after Nebraska had taken a 20-12 lead, as the drive reached the Husker 22 before stalling out thanks to a costly holding penalty. He also scored on a 1-yard keeper on the last play of the 1st half to give MU a 9-0 lead at the time.
Playing on the injured ankle, Gabbert had an outstanding 1st half at Oklahoma State on Oct. 17th, as he threw for 259 yards and 1 TD, before the OSU defense clamped down in the 2nd half to pull away for a 33-17 win in Stillwater. The next game brought another tough night, as #3 Texas and its top-notch defense held Gabbert to just 8-of-16 passing for 84 yards before knocking him out in the 3rd quarter with an aggravation of his sprained ankle. Before he left, he did lead the Tigers to an impressive 12-play, 81-yard TD drive in the 2nd quarter that ended with his 11-yard TD pass to WR Jared Perry that cut the deficit to 21-7 at the time.
Gabbert's ankle looked to be feeling a little better two weeks ago at Colorado, as he was more mobile in leading MU to a 36-17 road win. He completed 17-of-29 passes on the day for 192 yards and 2 TDs (73 and 2 yards, both to WR Danario Alexander), and he also ran 6 times for 26 yards (including a long of 16 yards), showing that his ankle is improving.
- His first half against BGSU was tough, as he stood 10-of-21 passing for just 44 yards, as the Tigers trailed 13-6 at halftime. Things got worse in the 2nd half before they got better, as Bowling Green took the opening possession of the 3rd quarter and drove for a TD to make it 20-6. The Tigers followed with a 3-and-out possession, but after the Tiger defense stiffened and forced a punt, Gabbert and company dug in and went to work on the next 3 possessions, scoring 3 straight TDs. The drives covered 87, 72 and 61 yards, respectively, and Gabbert was a combined 9-of-10 passing in those three crucial drives for 121 yards and 2 TDs. The first drive started at MU's 13-yardline with just 4:50 left in the 3rd quarter and MU trailing, 20-6. It ended with his 27-yard TD pass to WR Jared Perry, while the 2nd drive ended with his 33-yard TD pass to WR Wes Kemp...
Gabbert had Tiger nation - and much of the nation overall - abuzz with his first collegiate start, as he completed 25-of-33 passes for 319 yards and 3 TDs (49, 4 and 46 yards), and rushed for a 4th score in MU's 37-9 season-opening win over Illinois. He had 39 rushing yards in all, to give him 358 yards of total offense in his starting debut.
His QB rating of 186.96 was the best of any Big 12 signal caller on the opening week, and it was the 2nd-highest rating ever for a Tiger making his starting debut - trailing only the mark of 207.4 set by Chase Daniel in 2006 against Murray State (23-of-32 for 320 yards and 5 TDs).
Gabbert led the Tigers to a 52-12 win over Furman, thanks to a 17-of-25 passing performance that covered 256 yards and 3 more TDs, plus he added a 40-yard TD run to become the first Tiger since Brad Smith in 2002 (vs. Kansas) to throw and run for a TD of 40 yards or more in a game.
TIGERS HAVE BEEN CREAM OF THE BIG 12 NORTH CROP
Thanks to the research skills of resident MU football historian Tom Orf, we proudly pass along the following tidbits about Mizzou and the Big 12 Conference North Division...
Mizzou has won the most games among North Division teams, both overall, as well as in Big 12 play (tied with Nebraska), in the last 7 seasons (2003-09). The charts look like this (thru games of Nov. 14th):
|BIG 12 NORTH TEAM WINS||BIG 12 NORTH TEAM WINS|
|LAST 7 YRS., ALL GAMES||LAST 7 YRS., BIG 12 GAMES ONLY|
|Kansas St.||43-42||Kansas St.||23-32|
|Iowa St.||31-52||Iowa St.||14-41|
EBNER RETURNS TO FIELD JUST 12 DAYS AFTER KNEE SURGERY
Sophomore LB Will Ebner is fast becoming known as the hardest hitter on the team, as the Friendswood, Texas native has to lead the team in unoffical "oohs" from the stands with the constant stream of hard shots he dishes out.
He might also have earned the award for toughest guy on the team, as he returned to the field against Texas on Oct. 24th just 12 days after he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee to repair damaged meniscus that he suffered in MU's Oct. 8th game against Nebraska. Ebner had surgery on Oct. 12th and sat out the Tigers' Oct. 17th game at Oklahoma State, but was cleared to play the next week.
And play, he did, as he came off the bench to register 7 tackles, including 1.0 tackle for loss. He followed that by making 4 tackles at Colorado, including 1 QB sack where he forced a fumble that was recovered by Mizzou on the CU 6-yardline, before he notched 8 tackles against Baylor, including 1 TFL.
Ebner followed with a 6-tackle outing last Saturday at Kansas State, and he recovered a fumble in the 4th quarter by the Big 12's leading rusher, Daniel Thomas, that the Tiger offense converted into a game-clinching TD. He was a big part of Mizzou's defensive effort which kept the Wildcat offense out of the endzone for the first time all season.
Despite missing the OSU game, as well as the fact that he's only started four games so far this season, Ebner enters the Iowa State game ranked 3rd on the team with 56 tackles, and he's also 3rd in tackles for loss (7.5).
He made his first career start earlier this year in the place of injured Luke Lambert at Nevada, and turned in a career-high 9 tackles (8 solo), while adding 2.0 tackles for loss in MU's 31-21 road win. Lambert is also out for the remainder of the 2009, after having surgery to repair torn labrum in his shoulder that he suffered on the first series of the game against Texas on Oct. 24th.
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 138-82-3 (62.6%). 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 43-20 (68.3%) over the past 4+ seasons, and to bowl games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, has a 9-year record in Columbia of 65-45 (59.1%). Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has won 37 of his last 52 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 65. 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. Here's a quick look at the top winning coaches in MU history (through Nov. 14th)...
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||64||9 (2001-Present) 65-45 .591 5|
|Warren Powers||46||7 (1978-84)||46-33-3||.580||5|
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, meaning he'll patrol the Tiger sidelines through the 2015 season.
EXTRA-POINT STREAK UP TO 229 FOR TIGERS
What's the most assured way to break up a no-hitter in baseball? Talk about a no-hitter in the middle of it, of course. With that in mind, it's with a healthy respect for sports superstitions that we reluctantly bring up this impressive streak for Missouri - the Tigers have converted on 229 consecutive extra point attempts entering Saturday's game against Iowa State.
The last time Mizzou missed an extra point (not including 2-point attempts), was back in 2005 at Colorado. Mizzou missed a PAT on its only kick attempt in a 41-12 loss that year to Colorado, and hasn't missed since. After that, the streak has included:
Missouri is quite a way still from the NCAA record for consecutive PATs made by a school. The record is 262 by Syracuse, from 1978 to 1989 by 7 different kickers.
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