Missouri Tigers battle South Carolina in SEC action on Saturday

From the University of Missouri


Missouri Tigers (2-1, 0-1) at #7/#8 South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0, 1-0)

Sept. 22, 2012 – Williams-Brice Stadium – Columbia, S.C.

KICKOFF: 2:30 p.m. (central time).

STADIUM: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250).  Natural grass surface.  South Carolina has won 6 straight there, and is 22-3 there in the last 25 games.

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.com (subscription only).  It will also air live on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio (Channel 91).

TV: CBS.  Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst), Tracy Wolfson (reporting).

RANKINGS (AP/USA): MU – RV (38th) / RV (35th);  SC – 7th / 8th.

SERIES: MU leads, 2-0, with both previous meetings coming in bowl games – 1979 Hall of Fame (MU, 14-3) & 2005 Independence Bowl (MU, 38-31).


Mizzou: Gary Pinkel (Kent, '75), 87-55 at MU (12th year) and 160-92-3 overall (22nd year).  Pinkel is 1-0 vs. SC and Steve Spurrier.

South Carolina: Steve Spurrier (Florida, '67), 58-35 at SC (8th year) and 200-75-2 overall (23rd year).  Spurrier is 0-1 vs. Mizzou and Gary Pinkel.

The Missouri Tigers (2-1 overall, 0-1 in SEC play), hit the road for the first time in 2012, as they head to Columbia, S.C., where they'll take on the No. 7/8 South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0, 1-0), at Williams-Brice Stadium.  Kickoff for the nationally-televised CBS broadcast will be at 2:30 p.m. central time.

Mizzou is coming off a three-game homestand, which saw them blow out FCS foe Southeastern Louisiana in the 2012 opener (W, 62-10), before splitting against Georgia (L, 41-20) and Arizona State (W, 24-20) in a pair of games which weren't decided until the 4th quarter.

South Carolina is coming off a convincing 49-6 home win over UAB last Saturday.  The game stood at 14-6 after a UAB field goal late in the second quarter, but Carolina put up 35 unanswered points the rest of the way to blow it open.

The Gamecocks opened their 2012 season on Aug. 30th by posting a hard-fought 17-13 win at Vanderbilt, before blasting East Carolina on Sept. 8th by a 48-10 count.  South Carolina is led by a stingy defense which ranks 6th in the NCAA against the run coming into Saturday, with an average of just 53.0 yards allowed per game.  This past Saturday, UAB gained only 27 net yards rushing on 42 attempts – a mere 0.6 yards per attempt.

The last time Mizzou played a road game at a ranked opponent, the Tigers came away with a 38-31 overtime win at #16 Texas A&M in 2011.


[NCAA Ranking in Brackets]


380.33 [78th] Total Offense 433.67 [48th]

163.00 [63rd] Rushing Offense 171.67 [60th]

6 TDs Rushing 6

217.33 [75th] Passing Offense 262.00 [43rd]

118.29 [97th] Passing Efficiency 162.73 [21st]

4 TDs Passing 8

35.33 [T-37th] Scoring Offense 38.00 [T-27th]

291.33 [20th] Total Defense 315.33 [29th]

94.67 [21st] Rushing Defense 53.00 [6th]

4 TDs Allowed Rushing 0

196.67 [40th] Passing Defense 262.33 [88th]

121.98 [56th] Pass Effic. Defense 117.51 [42nd]

5 TDs Allowed Passing 2

23.67 [T-64th] Scoring Defense 9.67 [7th]

+2.00 [5th] Turnover Margin +0.67 [38th]

5 / 2 Fumbles/Lost 4 / 3

2 Interceptions Thrown 2

4 Interceptions Gained 5

24.33 [31st] Kickoff Return Avg. 0.00 [120th]

23.18 [6th] Punt Return Avg. 14.57 [28th]

35.93 [77th] Net Punting Avg. 34.07 [96th]

3.00 [T-15th] Sacks By 4.00 [6th]

1.67 [T-52nd] Sacks Allowed 3.00 [T-104th]

29:20 [71st] Avg. Time of Poss. 28:02 [90th]

34.0% [97th] 3rd Down Conv. 43.6% [T-56th]

37.5% [T-81st] 4th Down Conv. 50.0% [T-53rd]

mizzou holds off late sun devil rally

Mizzou improved to 2-1 on the young season this past Saturday, thanks to a 24-20 win over previously unbeaten Arizona State.  The Tigers got some late heroics from its defense, who twice turned ASU away in the final four minutes in the MU endzone while clinging to a 24-20 lead – one on a 4th-&-goal pass that was batted away with 3:36 left, and next on an interception in the endzone with :36 seconds left to preserve the win.  Both of those game-savers were made by senior SS Kenronte Walker.

In a continuing show of enthusiasm by Tiger fans for Mizzou's move to the Southeastern Conference, Saturday's game was played before a second-straight sellout crowd of 71,004 – that marked the first sellout for a non-conference game at MU's Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field since 1984 (Notre Dame).

It appeared early on that Mizzou might enjoy a more comfortable win against the Sun Devils, as the Tigers scored twice in their first three possessions on the way to a quick 10-0 lead.  The edge grew to 17-0 late in the 2nd quarter before ASU got on the scoreboard with a TD just before half to cut into the Tiger lead.  Mizzou would go on to post a 24-7 lead, which held until the 4th quarter, when the Sun Devils mounted a rally.

The Tigers' win over ASU was even more impressive given the fact that they were playing without starting QB James Franklin, who was unable to play due to soreness in his right (throwing) shoulder.  Franklin sustained an inflamed bursa sac in his shoulder in the previous week's game against Georgia, and was a game-time decision against ASU.  After going through pre-game warmups, it was decided that he couldn't go, and that thrust redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser into his first collegiate start.

It was the first missed start for a Tiger QB since 2001 – Gary Pinkel's first year as Mizzou's head coach.

walker preserves win with late heroics - wins sec defensive award

Senior SS Kenronte Walker cemented his name in the hearts of Tiger fans late Saturday night, when he made two of the biggest defensive plays possible in MU's own endzone, on consecutive late-game possessions to preserve Mizzou's 24-20 win over previously unbeaten Arizona State.  His first big play came when he broke up a 4th-down pass in the endzone with 3:36 to play to deny the Sun Devils the lead after they drove to Tiger 1-yardline.  His deflection on 4th down in the endzone came on a 4th-and-goal from the MU 3-yardline.

Next, after Mizzou was forced to punt clinging to its 24-20 lead, the Sun Devils took over on the Tiger 21-yardline with just 1:58 to play.  On 3rd-and-9 from the MU 20-yardline, Walker broke to the right and snagged Taylor Kelly's pass in the MU endzone for his first career interception with :38 seconds left.  He returned the ball 49 yards before going out of bounds, and the Tigers ran out the clock on offense to lock up the victory.

Walker ended the night with 2 tackles, in addition to his endzone heroics, and on Monday morning, he was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.  He's got 10 tackles through 3 games this season, after he posted 44 tackles in 13 games (4 starts) a year ago in his first year on the field for the Tigers.

With a tip of the proverbial cap to resident MU historian Tom Orf, Walker's game-clinching INT was the 7th time in the Pinkel era a Tiger has intercepted a pass to effectively end a game in the 4th quarter with MU holding a 7-point lead or less.  One of those previous 6 instances came against this week's opponent – when CB Darnell Terrell intercepted SC's Blake Mitchell with 1:29 left in the 2005 Independence Bowl to preserve Mizzou's 38-31 comeback win.

berkstresser holds his own in first collegiate start

Redshirt freshman QB Corbin Berkstresser learned 30 minutes prior to kickoff that he'd be making his first collegiate start, and he helped lead Mizzou to a 24-20 win over a quality Arizona State team Saturday night.  Berkstresser filled in for ailing QB James Franklin (shoulder, scratched after pre-game warmups) and performed well, as he threw for 198 yards (on 21-of-41 passing with 1 interception), while also running for 1 TD and a net of 25 yards (18 carries).

Berkstresser helped the Tiger offense convert 10 3rd-downs (in 22 attempts) and directed the show for an offense which owned the ball for 34:51 of clock time in the game.  Berkstresser was at his best on 3rd down, as he completed 9-of-17 passes for 121 yards and no interceptions, with 8 of those going for first downs.

big shel among top d-tackle producers in the sec

Junior DT Sheldon Richardson was already playing at a high level this season, but he seemingly took his game to another level last Saturday against Arizona State.  Richardson was a big part of Mizzou's solid defensive effort, as he notched a career-high 9 tackles, with 1.5 tackles for loss and a half-QB sack thrown in the mix, to go with 1 QB hurry as well on a night when it seemed he was either in on, or influenced every play.

Mizzou's defense held Arizona State to 236 yards and 34 points below their average offensive output, as the Sun Devils entered the game averaging 532.0 yards and 54.0 points a contest.  Richardson's effort was a big reason why the Tigers held ASU to just 296 yards of total offense and 20 points.

With 17 tackles through 3 games, Richardson is amazingly Mizzou's 2nd-leading tackler, despite being a defensive tackle.  He also ranks 2nd in the SEC among defensive linemen, trailing only C.J. Johnson of Ole Miss (18 tackles).

asu wrapup notes

Some random news and notes to tie a bow on Mizzou's exciting 24-20 win over Arizona State last Saturday:

• – The Tiger defense forced 4 Sun Devil turnovers (and the offense had only one giveaway), and Mizzou now boasts a turnover margin ratio of +2.00 per game, which ranks them 1st in the SEC and 5th in the nation…

• – Senior WR T.J. Moe had his biggest output of the season, with an 8-catch, 88-yard performance.  He moved into 8th place on the MU career receiving yardage chart (1,861) and he already stands 6th alltime at MU with 165 career receptions.  Moe also returned the game's opening kickoff 42 yards to give first-time starting QB Corbin Berkstresser comfortable field position.  The Tigers drove for a field goal on that opening drive...

• – Mizzou continued its solid production in the punt return game, netting 72 yards on 3 returns (24.0 avg.).  Sophomore TB Marcus Murphy (who had punt return TDs of 70 and 76 yards in the opener vs. SE Louisiana) had 3 returns for 24 yards, including a long of 24 that he almost broke for a score.  He also took a return 4 yards before handing off on a reverse to E.J. Gaines, who scampered 44 yards to set up a 2nd-quarter TD which gave Mizzou a 17-0 lead...

• – Junior LB Andrew Wilson tied for the team lead with 9 tackles, including 8 of them of the solo variety.  He also forced a fumble which was recovered by the Tigers, and he's now forced a fumble in each of his last four games dating back to last season.  Wilson, who was MU's leading tackler in 2011 (98 tackles in 13 games), is leading Mizzou again so far in 2012, with a team-best 19 stops through 3 games...

• – Speaking of getting the ball out, junior LB Donovan Bonner has shown a nose for the ball lately, as he's forced 5 fumbles and grabbed an interception in his last 5 games, dating back to last season.  He's forced one fumble in each of Mizzou's 3 games so far in 2012, and before that, had 2 forced fumbles in game #12 of the 2011 season (didn't have any in the following bowl game)...

• – With 3 forced fumbles each this year, both Wilson and Bonner rank tied for 2nd in the NCAA through games of Sept. 15th, with their per-game average of 1.00...

the o-line isn't exactly who we thought they'd be

To borrow liberally from one of the great sports quotes/rants of alltime, the Tiger offensive line isn't exactly who we thought they'd be going into the season.  Never was that more evident than this past Saturday against Arizona State.  With senior co-captain LT Elvis Fisher out for several weeks due to a sprained right knee (sustained the week before against Georgia), that prompted some wholesale changes in the trenches.

In addition to missing starting QB James Franklin (the first time a Tiger starting QB has missed a game since 2001), the Tiger offensive line was a reshuffled unit, as only two starters took the field who were expected to be starters in the pre-season – and they were both at a positions they originally weren't slated to play!...

o MU's offensive line was supposed to look like this coming into the year:

• LT – Elvis Fisher – 6th-year senior, 40 career starts (OUT – knee)

• LG – Travis Ruth – 5th-year senior, 7 career starts (OUT – tricep)

• C – Mitch Morse – Redshirt soph., 0 career starts

• RG – Jack Meiners – 4th-year senior, 6 career starts (Injured – knee)

• RT – Justin Britt – 4th-year junior, 13 career starts

o The Tiger starting line looked like this last Saturday (starting numbers coming into the year):

• LT – Justin Britt – 4th-year junior, 13 career starts

• LG – Evan Boehm – True freshman, 0 career starts

• C – Brad McNulty – Redshirt freshman, 0 career starts

• RG – Max Copeland – Redshirt junior, former walk-on, 0 career starts

• RT – Mitch Morse – Redshirt soph., 0 career starts

Despite this group's relative inexperience, they acquitted themselves pretty well against an athletic Sun Devil defense.  The Tigers ran for 3 touchdowns on the night, and the O-line helped MU own a huge time of possession advantage of 34:51-to-25:09 over ASU.

starts and finishes

Mizzou has come out of the lockerroom ready to play each week, as their 38-0 1st-quarter scoring margin would attest to through 3 games.  The Tigers are one of 15 schools to not allow a 1st-quarter score to this point.  On the flip side, the Tigers are looking to turn around a trend that has seen them get outscored by a 37-14 margin in the 4th quarter so far this season.  The last two weeks had Georgia outscoring Mizzou 17-0 in the 4th quarter to turn what was a 24-20 UGA lead into a 41-20 Bulldog win (thanks to a pair of MU turnovers inside their own 5-yardline), followed by last Saturday, when Arizona State outscored MU 13-0 in the final stanza to cut Mizzou's 24-7 lead to 24-20.

The 4th-quarter issues is a stark contrast to the 2011 season, when Mizzou was one of the nation's top teams in the final 15 minutes – MU outscored 13 opponents by a 143-to-59 margin in 2011, and three times rallied from double-digit 4th-quarter deficits to win two games, while losing a third in overtime.  The 143 4th-quarter points was 3rd-most in the NCAA in 2011, trailing only Houstin (168 in 14 games) and Toledo (156 in 13 games).

This week's opponent South Carolina, has excelled in both starting and finishing games so far this season on the way to a 3-0 start and a #7 national ranking.  The Gamecocks have outscored opponents by a combined 62-10 in the 1st/4th quarters – including 28-3 in the 1st quarter, and 34-7 in the 4th.

mizzou-south carolina series history

Mizzou and South Carolina will meet for only the third time when they take the field this Saturday.  The Tigers have won both previous matchups, which both came in post-season bowl games – the 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. (Mizzou 24, South Carolina 14), and the 2005 Independence Bowl (Mizzou 38, South Carolina 31).

The last meeting was one for the Tiger history books, as Mizzou posted the largest comeback win in school history on the way to the I-Bowl trophy over the favored Gamecocks and Coach Steve Spurrier.  South Carolina jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead, and was driving for what might have been a kill shot and a 28-0 lead, but Mizzou CB Marcus King turned the game around as he intercepted SC's Blake Mitchell and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown to break the ice for the Tigers.  Carolina scored another time to retake a 21-point lead, but Tiger QB Brad Smith started to warm up, and he engineered a crucial TD drive right before half to pull MU to within 28-14 at intermission.

Mizzou's defense stiffened and Smith had a 31-yard TD keeper in the 3rd quarter, followed by a 4-yard ground score which tied the game at 28-apiece early in the 4th.  The teams traded field goals midway through the final period, but Smith broke loose for a 59-yard run with less than four minutes left, and that set up his third rushing TD of the night, a 1-yard keeper with 2:13 remaining to make it 38-31.  That's how the score would stay, as Tiger CB Darnell Terrell intercepted Mitchell at the Mizzou 37-yardline with 1:29 left to play to seal the improbable victory.

Smith ended his MVP performance, the final of his record-smashing Tiger career, with 432 yards of total offense, including 282 yards passing (on 21-of-37 passing with 1 TD and 1 INT), plus 150 yards rushing and the 3 scores.

The first-ever meeting between the two schools was back in 1979, when the Tigers also overcame a deficit – albeit a much smaller one than in 2005 – to post a 24-14 Hall of Fame Bowl win in Birmingham, Ala.

The Gamecocks, featuring future Heisman Trophy winning RB George Rogers, took a 6-0 1st-quarter lead, but Tiger QB great Phil Bradley threw for a 28-yard touchdown and ran for a 1-run score in the 2nd quarter as the Tigers took a 17-6 lead at half.  The Gamecocks pulled to within 17-14 in the third quarter, but the Tigers responded with a long TD drive of their own for a 24-14 lead.  That's how the score would stay after a scoreless final period.  Rogers ran for 133 yards for South Carolina, but the Tigers had the better day overall, as Mizzou outrushed SC by a 209-142 margin, thanks to strong performances by James Wilder (24 rushes, 95 yards) and Gerry Ellis (12 rushes, 81 yards, 1 TD).

tigers went toe-to-toe with #7 georgia; late mistakes prove costly

Sept. 8th was an historic occasion, as the Missouri Tigers played host to the 7th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in what was Mizzou's first-ever SEC conference game.  A frenzied sellout crowd of 71,004 at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field was on hand and provided an energy perhaps never seen in Columbia, and they were treated to a heck of a ballgame, despite the final score that read Georgia 41, Mizzou 20.

Don't let the score fool you, the outcome of the game was in doubt until a pair of MU turnovers in the final 7:33 of the game (both caused by UGA's star LB Jarvis Jones) gave Georgia the ball at the MU 1-yardline and the MU 5-yardline.  Those miscues turned into a pair of short TD runs for the 'Dawgs, and they stretched a tenuous 27-20 lead into the final margin.

Prior to that, the Tigers more than held their own, and appeared poised to make a big statement in their SEC debut.  Mizzou never trailed until the 0:51 mark of the third quarter, and had the ball three times in the 4th quarter while trailing by just one score.  After a scoreless opening period which saw both defenses clamp down, the Tigers drew first blood, converting a Donovan Bonner interception of Aaron Murray into a 38-yard Andrew Baggett field goal – his first career three-pointer – for a 3-0 lead at the 12:07 mark of the 2nd quarter.

Georgia wouldn't lead until only :51 seconds remained in the 3rd quarter, when Murray hit Marlon Brown for an 11-yard touchdown to make it 24-20 in favor of the 'Dawgs.

In between, the Tigers traded blows, landing two big ones by QB James Franklin.  The junior signal caller found WR Marcus Lucas over the middle for a 41-yard TD pass with 1:31 left in the 2nd quarter to put the Tigers up, 10-3.  Mizzou's defense, which held Georgia off repeatedly in the first half, finally buckled a bit, as the Bulldogs got a quick score right back.  Murray hit Marlon Brown on a 2-yard TD pass with just 0:30 seconds left in the 1st half to draw UGA to within 10-9.  That's the way the score stayed at half, however, as Bulldog kicker Marshall Morgan was wide right with the point after try (just five minutes after he drilled a 52-yard field goal).

Things got even better for the Tigers early in the 2nd half, as the defense forced a punt on Georgia's initial series, followed by another long strike by the offense.  Franklin floated a perfectly-placed ball down the left seam to lanky speedster WR L'Damian Washington, and Washington caught the ball in stride behind the defense and raced untouched 69 yards for a touchdown which gave Mizzou a 17-9 lead with 11:48 left in the 3rd.

With Memorial Stadium about to explode in excitement, the veteran Bulldogs responded once again, as they took their ensuing series for a 12-play, 75-yard drive which culminated in the 2nd of Murray's 3 passing touchdowns, this one a 7-yard strike to Tavarres King with 7:27 left in the 3rd.  A successful 2-point conversion tied the game.

Franklin led the Tigers right back downfield, reaching the Bulldog 7-yardline, before the drive stalled.  Baggett nailed a 25-yard field goal with 2:39 left in the 3rd quarter to give MU back the lead, at 20-17.  For the third time on the night, however, Georgia's offense answered a Tiger score, and this one – Murray-to-Brown for 11 yards – gave them their first lead, at 24-20.

Mizzou tried some trickery after its next series stalled, but P Trey Barrow was stopped for a 3-yard gain on a fake punt on a 4th-and-11 from the MU 35, and the Bulldogs converted that into a field goal and a 27-20 lead.

After the teams traded punts, the Tigers took over on their 12-yardline with 8:23 to play, just one more long strike away from tying the game.  But it wasn't to be, as Georgia's Jones picked off Franklin over the middle, returning the interception to the Tiger 1-yardline.  After Georgia punched it in for a score and a 34-20 lead, Jones sacked Franklin on MU's ensuing possession, jarring the ball loose, with the Bulldogs taking over on the Tiger 5-yardline.  Three plays later, another short Georgia TD run sealed the deal.

The Tiger mistakes late in the game overshadowed what was a gritty performance in their first-ever SEC contest.  After Mizzou took its last lead at 20-17 late in the third, Georgia rode its offense and defense to 24 unanswered points to leave Columbia with the victory.

tigers in quick-strike mode so far

Mizzou's #1 offense has turned in 11 scoring drives through 3 games in 2012.  Only three of those have taken longer than 2:02 of clock time, as the Tigers have been quick about their business offensively.  The first one, which was the season-opening possession in the first game against SE Louisiana, went 11 plays, 75 yards and took 3:52 of clock time (culminating in a James Franklin-to-T.J. Moe TD pass).  The next "long" scoring drive by MU was a 13-play, 63-yard drive against Georgia which took 4:41 of possession time, and ended in an Andrew Baggett field goal with 2:39 left in the 3rd quarter which gave MU a 20-17 lead at the time.  The last one was the game-opening drive last Saturday against Arizona State, which saw MU take 3:35 to move 29 yards for a 46-yard field goal by Baggett for a 3-0 lead.

The average time of the #1 offense's 11 scoring drives so far has been just 1:50, and they had a stretch where five straight scores against SE Louisiana and Georgia consumed a grand total of 189 seconds, or an average of :37 seconds per possession.  Here's a look at the #1 offense's scoring drives so far in 2012:

• vs. SELA – 11 plays, 75 yds, 3:52 TOP (Moe 2-yd TD reception)

• vs. SELA – 1 play, 76 yds, 0:14 TOP (Lawrence 76-yd TD run)

• vs. SELA – 3 plays, 25 yds, 0:39 TOP (Lawrence 1-yd TD run)

• vs. Georgia – 4 plays, 5 yds, 0:59 TOP (Baggett 38 FG)

• vs. Georgia – 3 plays, 63 yds, 0:31 TOP (Lucas 41-yd TD reception)

• vs. Georgia – 3 plays, 70 yds, 0:46 TOP (Washington 69-yd TD reception)

• vs. Georgia – 13 plays, 63 yds, 4:41 TOP (Baggett 25 FG)

• vs. ASU – 9 plays, 29 yds, 3:35 TOP (Baggett 46 FG)

• vs. ASU – 4 plays, 18 yds, 1:35 TOP (Berkstresser 6 TD run)

• vs. ASU – 4 plays, 18 yds, 1:25 TOP (Lawrence 7 TD run)

• vs. ASU – 6 plays, 33 yds, 2:02 TOP (Lawrence 1 TD run)

defense clamping down out of the lockerroom

Mizzou's defense, which enters Saturday's game against South Carolina ranked 20th in the NCAA in total defense (291.33 avg. yds. allowed), has been outstanding thru three games coming out of the lockerroom.  Not only have MU's three opponents not scored on their initial series of the 1st half and 2nd half, in those six initial series, MU foes have a grand total of just 3 1st downs, and a net total of 29 yards!  Here's a look:

• 1st Q vs. SELA – 2 plays, (-2 yds), 0:38 TOP (Ended w/MU interception)

• 3rd Q vs. SELA – 2 plays, 2 yds, 0:17 TOP (Ended w/MU fumble recovery)

• 1st Q vs. Georgia – 3 plays, (-12 yds), 2:17 TOP (Ended w/punt)

• NOTE - This UGA possession started on the MU 37-yardline

• 3rd Q vs. Georgia – 3 plays, (-7 yds), 2:24 TOP (Ended w/punt)

• 1st Q vs. ASU – 4 plays, 28 yds, 1:21 TOP (Ended w/punt)

• 3rd Q vs. ASU – 6 plays, 20 yds, 3:07 TOP (Ended w/punt)

tiger defense holding its own

Mizzou's defense has consistently played very well through three games in 2012, as it has held opponents well under their season averages in most every category.  Against FBS foes, the only category below which stands out is Georgia's point total – but keep in mind the Bulldogs had only 27 points until two MU turnovers late in the game gave UGA possession on the MU 1-yardline and the MU 5-yardline, leading to 14 points.

Here's a look at how Mizzou's defense has held up its end of the bargain so far, when compared to FBS opponents updated offensive averages thus far:


Current vs. Current vs. Current vs. Current vs.

Opponent Rush Avg. MU Pass Avg. MU Tot. Off. Avg. MU Pts. Avg. MU

Georgia 222.67 113 295.00 242 517.67 355 47.33 41

Arizona State 203.33 113 250.00 183 453.33 296 42.67 20

georgia wrapup notes

Despite the loss to Georgia on Sept. 8th, there were a lot of positives to take from the game.  Here's a recap of some of those noteable performances:

• – Senior LB Will Ebner, who was listed as questionable coming into the game (neck), led a spirited Tiger defensive effort by making a team-high 9 tackles, including 1.0 tackle for loss.

• – The 41 points on the scoreboard by Georgia was not indicative of Mizzou's defensive performance overall, as the Bulldogs managed only 355 yards of offense and punted 8 times.  Georgia averaged just 3.2 yards per rush, netting 113 yards on 35 carries, as the Tiger defense managed 8.0 tackles for loss (37 yards) and 2.0 QB sacks (15 yards).  Mizzou's defenders held Georgia to only 5-of-16 on 3rd-down tries on the night, as well...

• – Junior LB Donovan Bonner had an impactful night, as he was responsible for both turnovers that Georgia gave up.  The first came on a nice play over the middle, when he tipped a ball thrown by QB Aaron Murray to himself, and intercepted it (1st-career INT) at the Georgia 38-yardline.  He returned it 13 yards to the UGA 25-yardline, which set up a Tiger field goal for a 3-0 lead in the 2nd quarter.  That play was huge, as it came right away after the Tiger offense fumbled the ball away in the red zone.  Bonner's second play also gave MU the ball deep in 'Dawg territory, when he forced a fumble on punt coverage that teammate SS Kenronte Walker fell on at the Georgia 32-yardline in the 2nd quarter with the game tied at 3 apiece.  The Tiger offense couldn't convert the scoring opportunity, however, as a 43-yard field goal was no good...

• – Senior DE Brad Madison had both of MU's sacks of Georgia's QB Murray.  Both sacks came on 3rd down, and each ended Georgia's initial drive of each half, forcing a punt.  With the pair of sacks, Madison upped his career total to 15.0, which puts him just outside the MU career top-10.  Xzavie Jackson is currently 10th on the list, with 16.5 sacks from 2003-06...

• – Junior WR Marcus Lucas had a career night, as his 6 catches for 88 yards both represented career high totals.  The signature play of his night was a 41-yard catch-and-run TD pass from QB James Franklin which gave the Tigers a 10-3 lead in the 2nd quarter.  It was the 6th career TD catch for Lucas, and his last two have covered 53 yards (2011 vs. Kansas) and 41 yards.  His first 4 career TDs covered 10, 11, 24 and 7 yards, respectively...

• – As is often the case, turnovers – especially the ability to capitalize on them – was the difference in a close ballgame.  Georgia won the turnover battle, 3-2, and they converted those 3 turnovers into 14 points (all in a 2:17 span in the 4th quarter to break open a 27-20 game), while Mizzou managed only 3 points total on its pair of turnovers gained (both in the 2nd quarter)...


The Mizzou offensive line has undergone a big transformation from the pre-season, due to a proliferation of injuries that has sidelined four players who figured to be among the top-10 contributors going into the season.  With the knee injury of senior LT Elvis Fisher two games ago against Georgia (he left the game in the 2nd quarter with an injury to his right knee, and he'll be out an indefinite period of time), that total increased to five.

Every team has injuries during the course of a season, but it does seem like the Tiger offensive line has had more than its share.  When Fisher went down versus Georgia, that prompted changes at three positions on the line – junior RT Justin Britt moved to LT (where he started all 13 games in 2011) to replace Fisher, while starting C Mitch Morse went to RT (where he had little to no game experience previously) to replace Britt, and redshirt freshman Brad McNulty (with just 1 game of collegiate experience) came in at center.  Only LG Evan Boehm (a true freshman making just his 2nd collegiate appearance) and RG Max Copeland (a former walk-on who was awarded a scholarship this past August) remained at their pre-appointed position.

When Fisher went out, that meant the offensive line was out there missing three veterans who were expected to be starters in 2012 – Fisher at LT (where he had 42 career starts), senior RG Jack Meiners (6 career starts, and he holds the school record in the bench press, at 505 pounds) and senior LG Travis Ruth (8 career starts).

That patchwork outfit was asked to battle in the trenches with a fierce Georgia front seven that is considered one of the most stout in the nation.  While the Tiger line made some mistakes certainly, they really held up well overall, and helped stake MU to leads of 10-3, 17-9 and 20-17.

To put it another way, when Fisher went out against Georgia (coupled with Jack Meiners missing the UGA game with his knee sprain suffered in training camp), Mizzou had gone from an offensive line which had 4 veterans with a total of 67 career starts entering the 2012 season into a unit which was facing UGA with only 1 player who had ever started a game going into the season (Britt w/13).

Meiners was able to see the field for the first time this season last Saturday against Arizona State, as he came off the bench to play right guard.  He wasn't 100%, but it was good news to have him out there, and he plans to see even more snaps possibly this week at South Carolina.

mizzou watch-listers in 2012

A quintet of Tigers find themselves on pre-season watch lists for various national awards.  Here's a quick look at what Tigers are drawing attention:

• – Elvis Fisher, OL (Sr.) – Senior Bowl

• – James Franklin, QB (Jr.) – Maxwell / Manning / Walter Camp / Davey O'Brien

• – Zaviar Gooden, LB (Sr.) – Butkus / Senior Bowl

• – Brad Madison, DE (Sr.) – Hendricks / Senior Bowl

• – T.J. Moe, WR (Sr.) – Biletnikoff / Hornung / Senior Bowl

mizzou has 10th-most wins in the nation since 2007

There's no question that Head Coach Gary Pinkel and his Mizzou Football program has elevated itself to among the nation's elite.  With its 10-win season in 2010, MU won its 40th game since 2007, good for an average of 10 per year during the four-year stretch.

Including a 2-1 start to the 2012 season, MU's 50 wins since 2007 ranks as 10th-most in the nation (among BCS automatic qualifying conferences).  Here's a look at the win totals among the nation's best during that time frame (through games of Sept. 15th):


School  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total

1. Alabama  7 12 14 10 12   3 58

2. LSU  12  8  9 11 13   3 56

Oregon  9 10 10 12 12   3 56

4. Oklahoma 11 12  8 12 10   2 55

Virginia Tech 11 10 10 11 11   2 55

6. Florida  9 13 13  8  7   3 53

Ohio State 11 10 11 12  6   3 53

8. USC 11 12  9  8 10   2 52

9. Texas 10 12 13  5  8   3 51

10.Missouri 12 10  8 10  8   2 50

Oklahoma St.  7  9  9 11 12   2 50

Wisconsin  9  7 10 11 11   2 50

West Virginia 11  9  9  9 10   2 50

Non BCS-AQ League Schools:

Boise St. 10 12 14 12 12   1 61

TCU   8 11 12 13 11   2 57

Utah   9 13 10 10  8   2 52

BYU  11 10 11  7 10   2 51

NOTE – Utah & TCU are not listed among BCS Conferences, due to being in a non-BCS AQ league prior to 2012.

murphy ranks 12th nationally in punt returns; mu is 6th in ncaa

Sophomore Marcus Murphy had quite a 2012 season debut Sept. 1st, as he made history by returning a pair of punts for touchdowns in helping Mizzou to a 62-10 win over Southeastern Louisiana.  Two days later, Murphy was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts.  Here's a recap of his big night:

• – Murphy became the first Tiger in history to have two kick returns for scores in a game.  His scores were from 70 yards in the 3rd quarter (4:41 mark), and he followed with a 72-yarder early in the 4th quarter (9:45 mark)…

• – Murphy ended the game with 180 punt return yards on 5 attempts (36.0 avg.), and his yardage broke the long-standing MU single-game record of 156 previously held by NFL Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli, set Oct. 21, 1967…

• – The only other time Mizzou has had two kick returns for scores in the same game was back in 1965, when Johnny Roland had a 65-yard punt return for a TD and Ray Thorpe had a 79-yard kickoff return for a score in a 14-14 tie against UCLA…

• – His 72-yarder was the longest by a Tiger since former All-American Jeremy Maclin had a 75-yard punt return touchdown in the 2008 Alamo Bowl against Northwestern.  It is also the first time since the 2007 season that a Tiger has had multiple punt return scores in the same year, and just the 5th time in school history that's happened.  Other Tigers with two punt return scores in the same season prior to Murphy include Maclin (2 in 2007), Leo Lewis (2 in 1975), John Moseley (2 in 1973) and Don Smith (2 in 1960)…

• – Murphy, who missed the entire 2011 season with a shoulder injury, also carried the ball five times on offense, and gained 32 yards, for an average of 6.4 yards per attempt…

After 3 games, Murphy ranks 12th in the NCAA with his punt return average of 19.18 yards.  He was also Mizzou's leading rusher against the stout Bulldog defense, as he gained 43 yards on 6 attempts (7.2 avg.).

As a team, the Tigers rank 6th nationally (1st in the SEC) in punt returns, averaging 23.18 per attempt.

gary pinkel is 9th-winningest active fbs coach with 160 wins

Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel stands ranked as the 9th-winningest active coach in the NCAA FBS ranks, with his 160 career wins (159-92-3 overall).  Pinkel, in his 12th season at Mizzou, stands 87-55 overall at MU, while he went 73-37-3 in 10 seasons at Toledo (1991-2000).  Here's a rundown of the winningest active coaches, based on win totals (through games of Sept. 15th)...


Coach, School   Yrs. W L              T Pct.

1. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech  31 253 121 4 .675

2. Mack Brown, Texas  29 230 113 1 .670

3. Chris Ault, Nevada  27 227 104 1 .685

4. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina 23 200 75 2 .726

5. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame  22 190 67 2 .738

6. Mike Price, UTEP   31 175 176 0 .499

7. Larry Blakeney, Troy  22 165 92 1 .642

8. Bill Snyder, Kansas State  21 161 83 1 .659

9. Gary Pinkel, Mizzou  22 160 92 3 .633

10.Paul Pasqualoni, UCONN  21 148 83 1 .640

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 160-92-3 (63.3%).

Pinkel, who has led MU to a combined record of 65-30 (68.4%) 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 87-55 (61.3%).  Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has gone 59-25 in his last 84 games overall (70.2%).  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 87.  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.

Here's a quick look at the top winning coaches in MU history...


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 87 12 (2001-Present) 87-55 .613 8

Warren Powers 46 7 (1978-84) 46-33-3 .580 5

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.

gimme some moe

Senior WR T.J. Moe figures to be a major contributor in 2012 in a number of ways.  Most people know him as one of the top returning wide receiver play makers in the nation.  He caught a combined 146 passes over the 2010-2011 seasons for 1,694 yards and 10 touchdowns.  He's also rushed for 142 career yards and a TD, and the former star high school quarterback has also a TD pass on his resume – a beauty of a 40-yarder that got Mizzou jump-started in last year's Independence Bowl win over North Carolina.

As if that weren't enough, look for Moe to be Mizzou's primary kickoff return man in 2012.  He handled those duties in 2011, and his average of 23.35 yards per return was good for 7th-best in the Big 12 and 63rd nationally.  His 49-yarder in the 2nd half against UNC countered a Tar Heel score, and led to a Tiger scoring drive which essentially iced the game.

Moe will add one more duty to his gameday checklist in 2012: holder for place kicks.  The sure handed receiver, who after a 3-catch, 26-yard, 1-TD receiving performance in the opener, followed by a 6-catch, 45-yard outing against Georgia and an 8-catch, 88-yard performance last time out against Arizona State, stands 6th on the Mizzou career receptions list (165), and who is now 8th on the school career top-10 in receiving yards (1,861) will be MU's primary holder for the first time in his career.

Moe added a 42-yard kickoff return last Saturday against Arizona State to open the game.  That return sparked the Tigers to a nice drive to open the game which ended with a field goal and a quick 3-0 lead.  Three of Moe's 8 receptions on the night against ASU came on 3rd down, with all three gaining the distance needed to move the chains.


The Mizzou defense has the luxury of returning three of four players who were starters by the end of the 2011 season.  Leading the charge in 2012 is junior CB E.J. Gaines, who enjoyed a break-out year as a first-time starter a year ago.  Playing in the pass-happy Big 12 Conference, Gaines and his running mates got plenty of opportunities to make plays, and the Independence, Mo. native did that early and often, as he finished the season ranked 3rd nationally with 18 passes defended, including an MU single-season record 16 passes broken up.  He won 1st-Team All-Big 12 honors for his efforts, and he's had a strong start to the 2012 season, as he's got 4 pass break ups.  Gaines also ranks 2nd on the team with 3.0 TFLs and has the 5th-most tackles on the team, with 11 through 3 games.

Senior CB Kip Edwards is also back to line up opposite Gaines.  Edwards made 11 starts in 2011 and ended with 3 passes broken up, 2 forced fumbles and 1 interception to go with 55 tackles.  Edwards sustained a bruised knee during August training camp, and missed alot of time, but hasn't missed game action, and he responded by making 5 tackles and recovering a fumble in the season opener against SE Louisiana.  Edwards had an impactful game last time out against Arizona State, as he nabbed his first interception of the season and he also fell on a fumble to account for two of Mizzou's 4 turnovers gained on the night.

Mizzou's primary nickel/dime corner is junior CB Randy Ponder.  A former walk-on who was awarded a scholarship last season, Ponder made three starts a year ago when the Tigers used nickel/dime packages and he tied for 2nd on the squad with 4 break ups.  Ponder also grabbed an interception at Texas A&M early in the 4th quarter and returned it 45 yards to set up a Tiger touchdown which kick-started them to a come-from-behind victory.  He made his first start of the season against ASU last Saturday, and responded with 5 tackles, including 1 TFL.  Through 3 games, Ponder ranks 5th on the team with his 11 tackles.

Senior SS Kenronte Walker started the final four games of 2011, and he came on strong late in the year, as exactly half of his 44 tackles on the season came in those last four games, including a career-high 10 stops against Texas Tech, in another game in which Mizzou rallied late to win.  His exploits last time against Arizona State were documented earlier in these notes, but he was the big hero in crunch time, as he broke up a 4th-down pass in the endzone and also grabbed an interception in the endzone in the final four minutes to help Mizzou hold on for its 24-20 win.

Sophomore Braylon Webb, who earned Big 12 All-Freshman Team status a year ago, has started all 3 games so far in 2012, and he's got 11 tackles and a fumble recovery to his ledger.  Webb wasn't sure whether he could go in the season opener against SE Louisiana, as he got his knee scoped late in camp, but he did see the field, making the start and ending with 1 tackle against SELA.  He had 6 tackles against Georgia and followed with 4 stops and a fumble recovery last time out against Arizona State.

franklin back for the attack

Junior QB James Franklin is back under center to lead the Missouri spread offensive attack, and if his second year as a starter is even just a slight improvement on his first year, big things will be in store for the Tigers.  In his first year as a starter, Franklin helped lead the Tigers to an 8-5 season in 2011, and he did it dynamically, establishing himself as one of the nation's top dual-threat QBs.  Franklin finished his initial year as a starter ranked 15th in the NCAA in total offense with just under 4,000 yards (3,846 for an average of 295.85 per game).  He accounted for 36 touchdowns (21 passing / 15 rushing), which ranked as the 3rd-best season in MU history.  He just missed out on the rare 3,000/1,000 achievement in 2011, as he threw for 2,865 yards and ran for 981 more.  Despite a shoulder injury in the spring (labrum tear) which required surgery, Franklin showed no ill effects once fall camp rolled around this August, as he was 18-of-22 passing for 228 yards in the first major fall scrimmage.

Franklin had a solid, if unspectacular, 2012 debut, as he helped lead the Tigers to a 62-10 win over Southeastern Louisiana.  His numbers weren't eye-popping, but he still took care of business in the process, as he accounted for 170 yards of total offense (131 passing / 39 rushing) on the night.  Franklin ended 13-of-21 passing with 1 TD and no turnovers.

Against Georgia, MU saw 294 yards of total offense in production by Franklin in the 41-20 loss to Georgia that was deceptive in the final margin.  Franklin threw for 269 yards, on 25-of-41 passing, and had two long TD passes, of 41 yards to WR Marcus Lucas, and another covering 69 yards to WR L'Damian Washington, the latter of which gave MU a 17-9 lead in the 4th quarter.

According to resident MU historian Tom Orf, the pair of 40-yard TD passes marked only the 12th time in MU history that a Tiger QB has achieved such a feat.  The last time was in 2009 (Blaine Gabbert at Iowa State).  Gabbert has the most of any Tiger QB, with 3 games of 2 TD passes of 40 yards or more.  Chase Daniel and Paul Christman both did the feat twice in their illustrious careers.

Franklin was unable to play last Saturday in MU's 24-20 win over Arizona State, due to an inflamed bursa sac in his right shoulder, something which happened in the Georgia contest.  He had hoped to play versus the Sun Devils, and went through pre-game warm ups, but determined the shoulder was too painful to play.  His status for Saturday's game at South Carolina was unknown as of Monday.


After winning 10 games 3 times in 4 seasons from 2007-10, expectations coming into the 2011 season were understandably very high for the Missouri Tigers, despite an offense which featured a 1st-year starting quarterback in true sophomore James Franklin.  While each of MU's previous 3 starting quarterbacks are now playing in the NFL, it is interesting to take a look at comparisons of Franklin's 1st year to the likes of Brad Smith, Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert.  The numbers show that he stacked up very well, indeed.

Here's the rundown:


Tiger Record C-A-Int. Pct. Yds. TD Effic. Rush-Yds. (TDs)

Brad Smith (2002) 5-7 196-366-6 53.6 2,333 15 117.34 193-1,029 (7)

Chase Daniel (2006) 8-5 287-452-10 63.5 3,527 28 145.06 147-379 (4)

Blaine Gabbert (2009) 8-5 262-445-9 58.9 3,593 24 140.45 103-204 (3)

James Franklin (2011) 8-5 238-376-11 63.3 2,865 21 139.88 217-981 (15)

Franklin was responsible for 36 TDs, which was the most of the group.  He's also the only one of the group to guide the Tigers to a win over a ranked team (winning each of his last 2 against ranked foes) in his first year as a starter.  Were it not for a missed field goal at the end of regulation at Arizona State, Franklin would have been 3-3 against ranked opponents last year.

Moving forward, Tiger coaches and fans are hoping that Franklin can emulate a career arc that his predecessors achieved – an improved win total in his 2nd year as a starter.

Here's that look:

Wins in 1st Two Years as a Starter at Mizzou:

Tiger  1st Year 2nd Year

Brad Smith  5-7 8-5

Chase Daniel 8-5 12-2

Blaine Gabbert 8-5 10-3

James Franklin 8-5 1-1

offense was as balanced as they came a year ago

Since going to the spread offensive attack prior to the 2005 season, the Tigers built a reputation for having one of the more potent passing games in the country – thanks to the passing abilities of former star QBs Chase Daniel (now with the NFL's New Orleans Saints) and Blaine Gabbert (the starter for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars).

Mizzou's offense maintained its productivity in 2011, but did things a little differently.  James Franklin's run-pass dual threat, coupled with a breakout season from TB Henry Josey, helped give Mizzou one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the country.  In 13 games in 2011 the Tigers totaled 3,172 yards rushing and 3,010 yards passing.

Here's a look at the yardage total for Mizzou each season since going to the spread (w/per game average and NCAA ranking in parentheses):

Year Rushing Passing Total Off.

2005 2,463 (205.3 - 17th) 2,694 (224.5 - 53rd) 5,157 (429.8 - 24th)

2006 1,943 (149.5 - 46th) 3,590 (276.2 - 10th) 5,533 (425.7 - 8th)

2007 2,467 (176.2 - 38th) 4,397 (314.1 - 9th) 6,864 (490.3 - 5th)

2008 2,153 (153.8 - 52nd) 4,625 (330.4 - 4th) 6,778 (484.2 - 8th)

2009 1,651 (127.0 - 85th) 3,711 (285.5 - 14th) 5,362 (412.5 - 32nd)

2010 2,033 (162.9 - 48th) 3,292 (238.2 - 43rd) 5,325 (401.1 - 45th)

2011 3,172 (244.0 - 9th) 3,010 (231.5 - 64th) 6,182 (475.5 - 12th)

2012    489 (163.0 - 63rd)    652 (217.3 - 75th) 1,141 (380.3 - 78th)

mizzou is ncaa's alltime overtime king

If it seems like Mizzou has been involved in a lot of overtime games, well, you're not crazy, because the Tigers have played in more OT games than any school since the rule was put in place for the 1995 bowl season.

The Tigers played 2 overtime affairs in 2011, and after its thrilling comeback 38-31 OT win at #16 Texas A&M, Mizzou went 1-1 on the year in overtime games.  Coupled with Mizzou's OT game at Arizona State (won by the Sun Devils, 37-30), Mizzou has now played 14 overtime games, which is most in NCAA history, through games of Sept. 15th.  Schools next on the list with 13 overtime games include LSU (8-5), Fresno State (5-8), North Carolina State (8-5), Texas A&M (7-6), Pittsburgh (6-7), SMU (3-10) and Syracuse (7-6).

More importantly, when Mizzou goes to overtime, more often than not it comes out on the winning side.  Mizzou owns 10 OT wins alltime, which is the most in FBS history entering this weekend (tied with Tennessee, who is 10-2 alltime).  The Tigers had won five straight OT games until last year's OT defeat at Arizona State.

Here's a quick glance at MU's overtime history:

Year Opponent (Rank) Result #OTs

1996 Oklahoma State W, 35-28 OT

1996 at Baylor W, 49-42 3-OT

1997 at Oklahoma State (12) W, 51-50 2-OT

1997 Nebraska (1) L, 45-38 OT

1999 at Colorado L, 46-39 OT

2001 at Oklahoma State W, 41-38 3-OT

2002 Colorado (18) L, 42-35 OT

2002 at Texas A&M W, 33-27 2-OT

2003 Middle Tennessee State W, 41-40 OT

2004 at Iowa State W, 17-14 OT

2005 Iowa State W, 27-24 OT

2008 Northwestern (22) W, 30-23 OT

2011 Arizona State (23) L, 37-30 OT

2011 at Texas A&M (16) W, 38-31 OT

Interestingly, MU Head Coach Gary Pinkel is credited with winning the very first overtime game ever played in Division I history, when his Toledo Rockets beat Nevada, 40-37, in the 1995 Las Vegas Bowl.  The overtime rule was put into effect for that bowl season, and has been in use ever since.

Pinkel is now 9-2 alltime in his career in overtime games, including 7-2 at Mizzou.


Thru Games of 9/15/12

Games Schools Record

14 Mizzou 10-4

13 LSU 8-5

13 North Carolina St. 8-5

13 Syracuse 7-6

13 Texas A&M 7-6

13 Pittsburgh 6-7

13 Fresno State 5-8

13 SMU 3-10

12 Tennessee 10-2

12 Arkansas 9-3

12 Oregon 8-4

12 Auburn 7-5

12 Utah 7-5

12 Mississippi 6-6

12 East Carolina 6-6

12 TCU 5-7

12 Alabama 4-8

12 Washington St. 4-8

tiger linebackers are a veteran, experienced group

Mizzou expects big things from a talented and experienced front line of linebackers in 2012.  The trio of senior Zaviar Gooden, senior Will Ebner and junior Andrew Wilson combine to give the Tigers what has to be one of the most seasoned trios in the nation.  Oddly enough, these three might be the three quietest people on the football team, but they are likely the three hardest hitters.

Take a look at the combined career stats for the Gooden/Ebner/Wilson trio:

Games/Starts: 110-62

Tackles:  531

Tackles for Loss: 44.5

Sacks:  9.0

Gooden is arguably pound-for-pound the best pure athlete on the team, and he had an 80-tackle season in 2011 (2nd-best on the team), a year after he registered a team-high 85 tackles in 2010.  Gooden, who earned his undergraduate degree in business administration this past May, had a string of 28 consecutive starts broken this past Saturday when he missed the Arizona State game due to a hamstring injury sustained the previous week against Georgia.  His status for the South Carolina game isn't known yet.  Gooden has 209 career tackles (the most of any current Tiger) with 5 career interceptions.  He had 6 tackles in the 2012 opener vs. SELA, including 2.0 TFLs, plus he grabbed a 1st-quarter interception and returned it 20 yards for the first score of his career.  He followed with an 8-tackle outing Saturday against Georgia, before leaving the game late with a hamstring injury.

Wilson, who has the unofficial title of hardest hitter on the team, is coming off an outstanding sophomore season that saw him lead Mizzou with 98 tackles – more than double from his freshman total of 42 in 2010.  Wilson, the son of former Tiger linebacker standout Jay Wilson (1980-83, he left holding MU's career tackles record at the time, with 323), was 2nd on the team with 9.5 tackles for loss a year ago, despite making just 9 starts in all.  He tied Gooden for the team lead with 6 tackles against SE Louisiana, and he forced a fumble which led to an eventual Tiger score on offense.  Wilson was credited with only 3 tackles against Georgia, but he was still impactful, as he forced a fumble, broke up a pass and added a QB hurry to his ledger.  He followed with a big game last week against Arizona State, when he tied for the team lead with 9 tackles, including 8 solo stops, while forcing a fumble as well.

Ebner is getting a second chance at a senior season, thanks to being awarded a 5th year by the NCAA, after he missed all but the first game of 2011 due to injuries (concussion, hamstring).  In 2009, Ebner won honorable-mention All-Big 12 status when he racked up 78 tackles (3rd on the team) as a sophomore, before fighting through an injury-plagued 2010 season that saw him limited to just 9 games.  He's made 19 career starts and has 40 games of experience under his belt, to go with 164 career tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss.  He had off one of his top overall games at Mizzou, as he led a spirited Tiger defensive effort against Georgia as he contributed a team-high 9 tackles, with 1.0 tackle for loss.  He followed with a 4-tackle outing last Saturday against Arizona State, including 1.5 TFLs and a half-QB sack.

week one recap: mizzou 62, se la. 10

The much-anticipated 2012 season got underway with a bang Sept. 1st, as the Missouri Tigers cruised to a season-opening 62-10 victory over Southeastern Louisiana of the Football Championship Subdivision.  Mizzou, playing on a brand-new FieldTurf surface, and with brand-new Nike-designed uniforms and a new-look helmet, wasted no time in putting the Lions away.

The Tigers took the opening kick and marched 75 yards on 11 plays (converting one 4th down along the way) and closed with a James Franklin-to-T.J. Moe touchdown pass of 2 yards for a 7-0 lead at the 11:08 mark.  Less than 4 minutes later, the lead ballooned to 28-0.  Here's how it happened:

• – On SELA's ensuing possession, the 2nd play was an interception by Tiger LB Zaviar Gooden.  He returned it 20 yards for a pick six touchdown and a 14-0 lead at the 10:26 mark...

• – After forcing a punt on SELA's next series, the Tiger offense went into instant score mode, as TB Kendial Lawrence burst around the right edge on the first play and scampered 76 yards untouched for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 7:35 left in the quarter...

• – On SELA's very n, ext snap, MU's Kony Ealy walloped Lions QB Nathan Stanley on a sack, jarring the ball loose.  Fellow Tiger DE Michael Sam scooped the ball up at the 7-yardline and danced into the endzone for a TD and a 28-0 lead with 7:19 to play...

• – All told, that series of events took just 3:49 of clock time, and Mizzou scored those 28 points on just 12 snaps of the ball total for both sides combined...

Remnants of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac then dumped a good amount of rain on the proceedings, which seemed to stall the Tiger attack for the rest of the 1st half, but the MU special teams units took over after halftime.  On the opening kick of the 3rd quarter, LB Donovan Bonner forced a fumble on the return, with MU recovering on the SELA 25-yardline.  Three plays later, Lawrence powered in from 1-yard out to give MU a 34-0 lead (the PAT failed).

Sophomore TB/PR Marcus Murphy stole the rest of the show, as he returned a pair of punts for touchdowns, including a 70-yarder in the 3rd quarter and a 72-yarder in the 4th quarter, to become the first Tiger in history with two punt returns for scores in the same game.

Sandwiched around those returns were a pair of TDs that backup QB Corbin Berkstresser accounted for.  The first was a 10-yard strike to WR Jimmie Hunt with 0:13 seconds left in the 3rd quarter.  Berkstresser later scored himself on a 1-yard keeper with 11:38 left in the game to extend MU's lead to 55-3 at the time.  Berkstresser had an outstanding collegiate debut, as he ended the night a perfect 5-of-5 passing for 60 yards, 1 TD and the 1 rushing score.

wrap-up notes from season opener

Here were some random musings from the 2012 season opener:

• – Mizzou enjoyed a balanced scoring attack like never before against SE Louisiana.  The Tigers scored five offensive touchdowns, and tacked on four non-offensive scores, including two punt return TDs (both by Marcus Murphy) and two defensive scores (INT return by Zaviar Gooden and fumble return by Michael Sam).  It was the first time since 2006 that Mizzou had multiple defensive scores in a game (at Texas Tech, 2006), and just the 6th time overall in school history…

• – The four non-offensive touchdowns also established a school record, breaking the previous best of two, achieved seven times previously, with five of those being two defensive scores, and the other two occasions being a pair of kick-return scores…

• – Six Tigers made their first career starts in the game, including five on offense and one on defense.  The first-time offensive starters included junior TE Eric Waters, junior RG Max Copeland, junior WR L'Damian Washington, sophomore C Mitch Morse and true freshman LG Evan Boehm.  Boehm became the first-ever true freshman offensive lineman to start for Head Coach Gary Pinkel.  The sole first-time starter on defense was sophomore NG Matt Hoch…

•– Mizzou outrushed SELA by a 261-to-58 margin, on the way to a total offense advantage of 452-to-223, despite the Lions holding a big edge in time of possession (34:27-to-25:33).  Four return scores will tend to do that…