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October 27, 2013

The Day After


  • Quarterback: Maty Mauk threw one interception, had two more dropped, and did not complete a pass for a positive gain after the 12-minute mark in the fourth quarter. Yeah, he made some plays, but he didn't make enough. GRADE: D+
  • Running Back: Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy combined to run for 132 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns (both by Murphy) on a night when Russell Hansbrough was limited to four carries, presumably by injury. That should have been good enough to win. This is perhaps the only position at which that could be said. GRADE: B+
  • Receivers: L'Damian Washington had a 96-yard touchdown that was set to be the signature play of Missouri's season. Marcus Lucas came up with big plays, totalling 89 yards on three catches. Other than that, the vaunted receiving corps was invisible, including one catch for six yards from Dorial Green-Beckham. GRADE: D+
  • Offensive Line: Missouri averaged better than four yards per carry and Mauk was not under extraordinary pressure. There were a couple of costly penalties and a couple of breakdowns at bad times, but that is a very good South Carolina front four and Missouri held up fine. GRADE: B
  • Defensive Line: The Tigers had two sacks, seven tackles for loss and two forced fumbles from the line. That they didn't get a ton of pressure had something to do with the South Carolina game plan, especially after the quarterback switch. At the same time, the Tiger line still failed to recognize a screen pass far too often. The Tigers held Mike Davis, the SEC's leading rusher, to just 51 yards on 19 carries. GRADE: B
  • Linebackers: The screen pass has to fall largely on them as does the fact that Davis had 99 yards on ten catches and the Gamecock tight ends combined to catch six passes for 86 yards and it could have been much more if not for multiple drops. GRADE: C-
  • Secondary: Without E.J. Gaines, Missouri held up decently for much of the night, getting an interception from John Gibson. But on perhaps the biggest play of the game, the Tigers allowed South Carolina to tie it in overtime on a fourth down pass from the 15-yard line. And the Gamecocks threw for 423 yards. That's not good anyway you slice it. GRADE: D
  • Special Teams: It isn't just one play. And it isn't just two plays. But Andrew Baggett missed two field goals, one of them just nine feet longer than an extra point. One would probably have won the game in regulation. The other would at least have allowed the Tigers to keep playing. GRADE: D-
  • Coaching: Gary Pinkel said the fourth-and-15 touchdown pass was just a "man coverage" play. How does that happen on fourth and 15? The ONLY thing that can keep the game going is a touchdown pass. Rush two and line the other nine up on the goal line to double cover everyone. I'm not going to nitpick too many calls, but that one is glaring. Other than that, as Pinkel said, there are plays and calls all over the place that could have changed the outcome. The coaches are partially, but hardly completely, responsible for that. GRADE: D

  • ***GAME AT A GLANCE***

  • Player of the Game: It has to be Marcus Murphy. He ran for 53 yards and two scores and nearly busted a kickoff return for a touchdown. His performance stood out for the Tigers.
  • Play of the Game: The missed field goal is the last one, but it has to share the honors with the 4th and 15 play that allowed the game to even get to a second overtime.
  • It was over when...: Baggett's kick clanked off the upright. Had it gone through, they might still be playing.
  • Reason to feel good: Missouri still leads the East. If they win out, the Tigers are going to Atlanta. If South Carolina stumbles somewhere, the Tigers can still win the division at 6-2. Saturday night hurts largely because of the way it happened, but Missouri is still the only team that controls its path to Atlanta without looking for help.
  • Cause for Concern: All season we expected a game to come down to a kick. And we wondered if Missouri could make it. We got the answer on Saturday and it wasn't the one anyone had hoped for.
  • Up Next: Missouri hosts Tennessee at either 5 or 6 p.m. next Saturday night. The game will be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2.


  • No quarterback controversy After a 10-for-25 night which looks statistically better than it was because of a 96-yard touchdown pass, the question is answered: When James Franklin comes back, he starts.
  • A bit of perspective Nobody had this Missouri team 8-and-0. In fact, nobody had it 7-and-1. The Tigers still lead the East and still can achieve just about everything except a national title. That's got to be mentioned in the wake of a devastating loss.
  • Michael Sam is still a star Sam made the play that I thought was going to win the game when he put South Carolina in third and goal from the 15. He had two TFL's and is just a sack-and-a-half short of the single-season school record.
  • We find out a lot next week Missouri is better than Tennessee. The Tigers should handle the Vols. They will unless they let Saturday night beat them twice. Pinkel and staff earn their salaries this week.
  • Earning respect It is difficult to ask 20-year-olds to show up for post-game press conferences after losses like that one. But with the glory and adulation also comes responsibility, even if you don't want it. Credit to Mauk, Markus Golden, Shane Ray, Kony Ealy, Braylon Webb and Justin Britt for coming out to face the questions. Those were the six I saw. If I missed anyone that should be on that list, I apologize.

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