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December 1, 2013

The Day After


















***GAME DAY REPORT CARD***


  • Quarterback: For the first half, James Franklin was just about all Missouri had. 313 yards of offense, two touchdowns, no turnovers. And he outplayed the best quarterback in college football. Was it his best game? Maybe not. But it was most certainly his signature win. GRADE: A
  • Running Back: They were bottled up all night. The one run by Henry Josey is enough to pull this grade way, way up from where it would have been. Not perfect, and I'm not going straight A's across the board just because they won. GRADE: B
  • Receivers: Dorial Green-Beckham kept Missouri afloat for the first two-and-a-half quarters, finishing with 93 yards and a touchdown on seven catches. L'Damian Washington came up huge with six grabs for 97 yards and a score, mostly in the second half. And who had Eric Waters as the guy making the game-icing catch? GRADE: B
  • Offensive Line: It really wasn't very good most of the night. The A&M defense had given up points and yards to everyone and it beat the Tigers at the point of attack. But like every other position, when Missouri absolutely had to have it, the line came through. GRADE: C+
  • Defensive Line: Missouri contained Johnny Manziel giving up just 21 yards rushing and holding him to the lowest offensive output of his career. The sacks weren't gaudy, but the Tigers did have eight tackles for loss and frustrated Manziel all night. GRADE: A
  • Linebackers: Andrew Wilson seemed to be all over the place and Kentrell Brothers had tackles on each of A&M's first three plays. Those two made eight tackles apiece. The run game found some holes and the Tigers missed a few tackles, but again, this is one of the most explosive offenses in college football and it did not explode. GRADE: B+
  • Secondary: E.J. Gaines held Mike Evans to a career-low eight yards on four catches. Matt White made a couple of huge plays. The Tigers weren't perfect, but nobody is going to be perfect against the Aggies. GRADE: A-
  • Special Teams: Christian Brinser was one of this game's unsung heroes. Marcus Murphy had a huge return and the lone turnover came when Morgan Steward flew downfield to force a fumble on a punt return. GRADE: A
  • Coaching: There was one goal in this game: Win. Missouri did it. Through three quarters, the Tigers were punched a lot. They struggled offensively more than any other game this season. But they won. This game, this season, is a HUGE feather in Gary Pinkel's cap. GRADE: A

  • ***GAME AT A GLANCE***


  • Player of the Game: I'm giving it to Gaines for his efforts on Evans. What a performance against the best receiver in America. He can split it ten more ways with the rest of a defense that made Johnny Football look like Just Another Guy.
  • Play of the Game: Josey's touchdown run. Case closed. What a perfect ending.
  • It was over when...: Franklin hit Waters with an out-of-nowhere play action pass on second and ten. Missouri moved the sticks, ran one more play and kneeled on the ball twice to clinch an SEC Championship Game bid.
  • Reason to feel good: Seriously? Tell me you don't have to ask.
  • Cause for Concern: Michigan's two-point conversion failed so Missouri may still not control its own destiny in the race for the BCS National Championship game. When that's the only cause for concern, things are decent.
  • Up Next: Missouri faces Auburn in the SEC Championship Game next Saturday at 3 p.m. Central time in Atlanta. The game will be televised on CBS.

  • ***FIVE THOUGHTS ON THE TIGERS***


  • Are you kidding me? This season came from WHERE? I mean, nobody expected this. Maybe L'Damian Washington did when he was laughed at for calling for 11 wins in the preseason. Nobody else did.
  • Henry Josey deserved this If you did not think it was fantastic that Josey's run put Missouri in Atlanta, you have no heart.
  • No I in Team Markus Golden told us over and over, it's not about one guy. It's about this team. You can't find a more team victory. There are probably 45 guys without whom Missouri would not be in the position it is in. Just a complete and total team.
  • Pinkel one game from the top All along, I've said that Pinkel is one of the top three coaches in Mizzou history, but that he clearly is third. Win one more game and that changes. If he beats Auburn, whether the pollsters put him in the title game or not, he's the best that's ever done it here.
  • Ignore the standings For one more week, the standings don't matter. I expect Missouri to remain fifth behind Florida State, Ohio State, Auburn and Alabama in that order. If Missouri wins next week, it passes the last two without a doubt. I still think the Tigers need a Michigan State win in the Big Ten title game to get into the top two.

  • GAME DAY HEADLINES
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  • A perfect ending
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  • Final Analysis from Faurot
  • Eastbound and Down
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